A transit cop in New York clocked out, only later to allegedly don a bulletproof vest and ski mask and stage an armed robbery at a Bronx man’s house with an accomplice. The two held their victim at gunpoint, and ultimately made off with his watch and a duffel bag full of his cannabis. 

Michael Latimer and another man were arrested by NYPD officers in their car after the alleged incident. A neighbor tipped off law enforcement, claiming to have seen the two pulling on their ski masks before they entered an apartment building at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday in Bronx’s Allerton neighborhood, on Mace and Holland Avenues. 

The suspect works at New York’s Transit District 12, which is close to where the alleged crime took place. 

New York finds itself at a crucial moment in cannabis legalization in 2020. Governor Mario Cuomo has once again pledged to regulate recreational marijuana this year. Last year, the governor’s plan to do so foundered on complex regulatory debate and lack of political will. It is largely believed the state will be able to come to an agreement on cannabis legalization this year, however. 

Last year lawmakers did manage to pass a decriminalization plan, which largely axed policing of small scale cannabis possession cases. The bill’s passage meant that 600,000 state residents became eligible for expungement of past cannabis-related convictions. 

Law Enforcement and Sticky Fingers

As policy makers ponder outright marijuana legalization, the state has found itself in hot water regarding at least one case of its officers overstepping their bounds when it comes to cannabis policing. A November seizure of 106 pounds of hemp that law enforcement claimed was illegal marijuana resulted in a large loss of revenue for two brothers in the CBD business, who have subsequently filed notice of claims against the state, initiating legal action. 

And should you think that Latimer is alone in his alleged intended cannabis thievery among his peers, know that his case is not even the first of the year involving a cop and marijuana-related robbery. The lure of the cannabis industry’s cash and product in particular has proven to be too tempting for some crooked law enforcement officials to pass up. 

In Los Angeles, a cop was charged with stealing cannabis out of an unlicensed dispensary employee’s backpack. The alleged theft took place when Officer Louis Mota participated in an LAPD raid of the establishment, one of many that have taken place in LA recently during the city’s crackdown on unlicensed cannabis outlets in collaboration with the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs and Bureau of Cannabis Control. 

An LA County sheriff’s deputy faced a minimum of 12 years in prison even after agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors regarding his participation in a major 2018 robbery of a cannabis dispensary last year. Marc Antrim and his co-conspirator, a former employee of the business, imprisoned security personnel in a cage installed in a Ford Explorer while they took two hours to rob the dispensary of 1,200 pounds of marijuana and two large commercial safes with upwards of $600,000 in cash.

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