Recently, the quiet neck of the woods where I reside was the scene of a homicide. As things like this are relatively rare, our neighborhood’s Facebook page buzzed and people gossiped about how and why this could have happened. A few days later, we got a partial answer. It was revealed that the owner of the home is also the operator of the medical marijuana dispensary in the center of Fairwood, called the The Solution. And the victim, a 27-year-old named Ryan Prince, was shot as he confronted several burglars. Prince was not the owner of the dispensary or the house, but he was a resident.
The Solution is located in the center of Fairwood, in the same building that used be a law office until the attorney who owned it went crazy and defaced it. The new ownership has kept up the property nicely and I never noticed any strange behavior there (the building is in front of the main bus stop in Fairwood, so I see it quite often). One morning, I noticed a window was shattered. It was fixed very quickly. Otherwise, I don’t know the owner personally and have never been inside the dispensary.
Over the weekend, police announced the arrest of a 34-year-old man in Tacoma in connection with the murder. They’re still looking for more people and a purple PT Cruiser in connection with the murder.
At this point, we still don’t know what the alleged burglars stole – or were hoping to steal. There were no plants being grown in the residence, but did the burglars know that? Were they just after cash? It’s not hard to see that businesses that are forced to be cash-only open themselves up to these types of situations. It’s why it’s so vital to fix the banking issue with marijuana businesses.
The future was already bleak for dispensaries like The Solution. These types of businesses were never fully made legal by the state, and are now in the process of being completely shut down by the legislature. There were smarter middle-of-the-road solutions to cater to those who use marijuana medicinally and might not be served as well by a recreational market, but that battle appears to be lost for now as the ACLU is even throwing its weight behind the effort to remove the idea of collective gardens from the law.
The hope is that once the licensed stores under I-502 open, both recreational and medical users will find what they need. Many are skeptical that it will be so easy, at least at first. But moving towards a properly regulated marketplace is essential for reducing the kinds of tragedies that took the like of Ryan Prince, and continue to take the lives of many in places where all of this commerce is done in the dark.