Local law enforcement labeled it a botched robbery when Travis Mason was murdered while guarding a dispensary called 'The Heart' in Aurora, Colorado. The death of the 24 year-old former Marine spooked an industry already on edge about the security of their businesses - businesses whose value lies in inventory the black market so desperately craves.
This concern for safeguarding cannabis businesses has led to a boom in the security industry in Colorado, and New York Times carried an interesting report that many former veterans are finding employment on patrol at dispensaries and marijuana grows.
In the suburb of Aurora, where the tragic death of Mason occurred, 18 dispensaries have reported 19 burglaries, but officials in Colorado suspect the actual number of incidents may be even higher. Owners of cannabis businesses worry that reporting security breeches will make them even more of a target, and they fear zealous cannabis inspectors almost as much as the criminals.
In response, agencies like Iron Protection Group have formed to recruit, train, and employ guards at cannabis businesses. An unlikely kinship has formed between the nascent industry and veterans returning from overseas duty. Some of the veterans see security work in the industry as a step on a career ladder to police work, where Travis Mason hoped to one day be employed, while others are just happy to be back doing work they see as familiar to the patrols assigned to them in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Read the full story from the NY Times here.