Classification of Crimes.
Crimes are classified as misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, or class A, B, or C felonies. While there are exceptions, the classification of a crime generally determines the maximum term of confinement and fine for an offense. For each classification, the maximum terms of confinement and maximum fines are as follows:
|Classification||Maximum Confinement||Maximum Fine|
|Gross Misdemeanor||364 days||$5,000|
|Class C Felony||5 years||$10,000|
|Class B Felony||10 years||$20,000|
|Class A Felony||Life||$50,000|
For most felony offenses, the Sentencing Reform Act determines a specific sentence range within the statutory maximum according to a sentencing grid. The sentencing grid provides a standard sentence range based on both the severity, or "seriousness level," of the offense and the convicted person's "offender score," which is based on the person's criminal history. Additional sentencing policies, such as sentencing enhancements, may affect a person's standard sentence range. For example, in a criminal case where a person is convicted of Robbery in the first or second degree and there is a special allegation pleaded and proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the person committed a robbery of a pharmacy, the person's standard sentence range must be increased by 12 months.
Criminal Penalties Related to Robbery.
Robbery in the First Degree. A person is guilty of Robbery in the first degree if he or she:
Robbery in the first degree is a class A felony.
Robbery in the Second Degree. A person is guilty of Robbery in the second degree if he or she commits a robbery in a manner that does not constitute Robbery in the first degree. Robbery in the second degree is a class B felony.
Cannabis Retail Outlets.
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) licenses and regulates state marijuana producers, processors, and retailers. Retail outlets are locations licensed by the LCB for the retail sale of marijuana concentrates, useable marijuana, and marijuana-infused products.
A special allegation and sentencing enhancement are established for Robbery in the first or second degree where the perpetrator commits a robbery of a licensed cannabis retail outlet in concert with another individual or individuals. The sentencing enhancement increases the standard sentence range for such crimes by 12 months.
Each licensed cannabis retail outlet is required to report any attempt or incident of Robbery in the first or second degree at the retail outlet to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) within 10 days of the attempt or incident. The LCB's chief enforcement officer is required to regularly consult with the Washington State Patrol to provide details of such attempts or incidents and to discuss any evidence that indicates a pattern of, or coordinated effort by, a criminal enterprise.
The amended bill provides that a special allegation and sentencing enhancement apply to convictions for Robbery in the first or second degree where the defendant commits a robbery of a cannabis retail outlet in concert with another individual or individuals, rather than where the defendant commits a robbery of a cannabis retail outlet as a premeditated act in concert with another individual or individuals.
(In support) There has been a dramatic rise in armed robberies of cannabis retail stores. These robberies are often violent, causing physical and emotional trauma to both employees and customers. Cannabis retail stores often have more cash on their premises than banks do. Transactions at these stores are conducted almost entirely through cash due to federal banking regulations. There is no imminent indication of federal banking reform, which leaves these businesses uniquely vulnerable. There are parallels between these crimes and the increase in pharmacy robberies from previous years. Increasing the penalties for robbing cannabis retail stores to align with the penalties for robbing pharmacies makes sense. This same approach made a difference in combating pharmacy robberies. A possible task force on this issue could provide further support, especially if it facilitated communications between different law enforcement agencies. Cannabis retail stores are not currently required to report robberies to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB). This bill would help the LCB gather relevant data.