Medical marijuana dispensary robbed during S.F. Gay Pride Parade

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Thieves apparently took advantage of Sunday’s 36th Annual San Francisco Gay Pride Parade and Celebration to commit this year’s second robbery of a medical marijuana dispensary.

According to police and the club’s proprietor, two men entered Emmalyn's California Cannabis Clinic at 1597 Howard St. about 1:30 p.m. Sunday. They held up the clerk and stole cash and inventory while most of the staff was handing out fliers at the Gay Pride Parade.

Sunday’s holdup marked The City’s second pot club robbery of the year. The Purple Heart dispensary at 1326 Grove St. was robbed Feb. 3, San Francisco Police Lt. John Loftus said. There were four such robberies in 2005, Loftus said.

Loftus said clubs are attractive to thieves because “it’s a big cash business, and marijuana is expensive.” He said that so far, none of the victims with whom the department has worked has been able to recover their inventory.

Emmalyn’s proprietor John Baumgartner said he and his staff felt safe in their trade until Sunday.

“We never felt threatened,” he said in an interview Monday. “We usually have two people on duty. Because of the gay pride day, I happened to be out with other staff passing out fliers and left one person in the store. We left ourselves open.”

The two men whorobbed the dispensary had been in about an hour prior to the crime and bought some marijuana. When they returned, Baumgartner said, “they put a gun to my

clerk’s head, had him lie down on the floor, then they robbed him and the store. They took everything in the place. They emptied out the cash registers and the counters.”

Baumgartner said the club will remain closed for the near future while he upgrades security.

“They took all the inventory I had,” he said, but he said the crime was captured on security cameras, whose tapes will be reviewed in the investigation.

amartin@examiner.com

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