Charges filed in West Seattle medical marijuana dispensary robbery

One adult, two teens charged in March 19 armed robbery of G.A.M.E. Collective on California Ave

The following press release was issued this morning by King County Prosecutors:

A man and two teenagers have been charged with Robbery First Degree, Burglary First Degree and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm Second Degree for allegedly robbing a medical-marijuana dispensary in West Seattle on March 19. Donshae D. Sims, 24, faces a sentence range of 15 to 17 years in prison, and Malik D. Heckard, 16, who is charged as an adult, faces a range of 14 to 16 years. The third defendant, who is 15, is charged in Juvenile Court. He could be incarcerated for 3½ to 4½ years at a juvenile facility. The ranges include firearm enhancements on the robbery and burglary charges.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said that the rise in the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in our county and state make them potential targets for violence.

"Medical cannabis dispensaries have evolved to fill a gap in the law that does not provide a method for legitimate patients to obtain their medicine. They operate in a legal grey area and are largely unregulated as to time, place and manner of operation. They are also an obvious target for robbery because of the presence of cash and drugs."

"We are very lucky that this armed takeover robbery did not result in death or injury, but it highlights the urgent need for legislative policy makers to establish clear guidelines for the medical use of cannabis," Satterberg said. "In my view, if cannabis dispensaries are to be permitted, they should operate with strict requirements of security to protect their customers, and outside of residential areas to protect our neighborhoods. The present proliferation of dispensaries throughout the community will continue to invite criminal violence," he added.

Sims and Heckard will be arraigned on April 4 at 9 a.m. at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center, courtroom GA. The juvenile defendant will have a decline hearing in two weeks where a judge will decide whether the youth should be tried as an adult. An adult conviction carries a sentence similar to that of Sims and Heckard. All three defendants remain in custody.

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