WATERVILLE — Daniel Hall went to his medical marijuana store last week and walked into what he described as a nightmare.

A back window had been shattered with a rock and jars of marijuana and medical marijuana products – about $10,000 worth – were missing.

“I was doing my thing and I was like, ‘Why is everything messed up?’ ” said Hall, the owner of Green Thumb Organics on Armory Road. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ”

Waterville police are investigating the break-in in late September, which Hall caught on camera, but he said the incident also points to a larger security issue facing Maine’s growing marijuana industry.

“Everything is so broken,” said Hall, 30. “They’re allowing us to do this, but they’re not allowing us to protect ourselves.”

Maine is creating rules to govern the recreational marijuana market, since voters opted to legalize pot in 2016. In many communities, local ordinances and moratoriums have been implemented.

Green Thumb Organics shop owner Dan Hall looks over a display case filled with edible medical marijuana products on Thursday. Staff photo by David Leaming

But security for the industry remains largely unregulated.

For the most part, caregivers haven’t seen widespread break-ins or thefts, but the industry does face unique security challenges, said Catherine Lewis, chairwoman of the board of the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine Trade Association.

“That we’re supplying a federally illegal product I suppose would make (theft) attractive to some people, but I think the biggest thing is the banks not taking the cash,” Lewis said. “I can’t imagine people are leaving huge sums of cash around their stores, but you do have to take extra precautions.”

Even in states where marijuana is legal, federal law prohibits marijuana users and caregivers from owning firearms, which some say leaves caregivers unable to defend themselves.

Likewise, the federal regulations largely prevent marijuana businesses from access to traditional banking.

Some caregivers, particularly those who grow crops outside, have been targeted for thefts – a problem Lewis said appears to be getting worse even though people now will be allowed to grow their own marijuana legally under state law.

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She also said the state’s opioid crisis has fueled break-ins because marijuana can be sold for money to buy other drugs.

At Green Thumb Organics, Hall has installed cameras and created a “safe room” for storing pot with keypad entry.

He also doesn’t keep money in the store overnight.

Rachel Ohm can be contacted at 612-2368 or at:

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Twitter: @rachel_ohm