Florida Police Hunting Suspects Who Ransacked Medical Marijuana Dispensary at 4:20 A.M.

Police in Clearwater, Florida are searching for burglars who robbed a medical marijuana dispensary at 4:20 a.m. Friday morning.

Surveillance video shows a black Chevrolet Camaro pulling up to the Trulieve dispensary at exactly 4:20 a.m., before two masked figures emerge and smash their way into the building. Police believe a third suspect stayed behind as a getaway driver, according to WKMG.

Footage from inside the dispensary shows the burglars helping themselves to a large amount of cannabis products on shelves. When they have as much as they can carry, they make their way outside and drive away while leaving a trail of dropped product and debris behind. The entire incident lasted roughly five minutes.

Another break-in happened less than an hour earlier at a different branch of the same dispensary business. It is not clear whether the two burglaries are related.

Newsweek reached out to Clearwater Police for further details but did not receive a response in time for publication.

As medical and recreational marijuana have become legal in many states, dispensaries have become increasingly targeted for robberies and burglaries.

In addition to thieves looking to steal marijuana products, the businesses are targeted because they often work exclusively with cash due to many payment processors being unwilling to work with the industry.

However, staff at dispensaries that are robbed during business hours sometimes fight back. The manager of a dispensary in Everett, Washington was captured on video fending off three armed robbers with bear spray on February 15.

Some marijuana thefts have been far more ambitious. A California man was sentenced to 14 years in prison on February 10 after working with a corrupt Los Angeles police officer to steal $2 million worth of marijuana from a distribution center in 2018.

The specific timing of the Clearwater burglary is curious, as the number "420" has been long associated with cannabis consumption.

The association began in 1971, when five high school students in San Rafael, California calling themselves "The Waldos" began meeting up at 4:20 p.m. to search for a rumored abandoned stash of the drug. While their search was ultimately fruitless, the group continued to meet at that time to smoke marijuana. Eventually 420 became code for gathering to use the drug at any time.

A rock band named "The Grateful Dead," which was based around the same area, is believed to have had a connection to some of the parents of the students and are thought to have helped popularize the use of the number, which is now associated with the drug in a more general sense.

Medical marijuana was legalized in Florida in 2016, but cannabis remains illegal in the state for recreational purposes.

marijuana dispensary
Medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are often targeted by thieves hoping steal cannabis and cash. Getty