Pokémon Go Players Invade Pot Shops in Search of ‘Smokéymon’
BAKERSFIELD—Players of the location-based, augmented-reality mobile game “Pokémon Go” got a surprise last night when it was discovered the website had been hacked, sending hordes of game enthusiasts to various medical marijuana dispensaries across the U.S. in search of a fictional character called “Smokéymon.” The humor was short lived, however, after arrests were made and several people were sent to the hospital for pepper spray injuries.
In Bakersfield at the Green Thumb, a medical marijuana dispensary off Truxton Avenue, 33-year-old mother of four, Amber Turpin, was reportedly hell bent on capturing an animated character that she thought looked like Smokey the Bear. “He was right inside the door and I needed that character so I did what I had to do,” explains Turpin. That apparently meant pepper spraying doorman and security guard, Angel Martinez.
“This lady comes to the door and says she wants to come in and catch some cartoon character on her phone or something,” Martinez allegedly told the Bakersfield PD. “I had no idea what she was talking about, but I told her she couldn’t enter without a valid medical marijuana card. So she leaves and the next thing I know I’m getting pepper sprayed in the face!”
According to onlookers, Turpin “bum rushed” the door, spraying everyone within a 12-foot radius with the toxic substance.
“At first I thought it was Isis!” cashier Meghan Monahan recalls excitedly. “Then I realized it was just some crazy housewife playing that video game everybody on Facebook is talking about. By the way,” she adds, “I thought this was a game for kids – that lady was all alone!”
This isn’t the first trouble for the Green Thumb. According to proprietor Amar Sayed, “We have had our share of criminal activity over the years,” he admits with a shrug. “It goes with the business. But usually people are going for my product… the OG Kush, the Azure Apocalypse, even our edibles have been snatched on occasion. But this is the first time anyone has ever tried to steal some Pokémon… I don’t even carry that! I do not understand any of this….”
Similar instances of rabid players attempting to illegally enter medical marijuana dispensaries were reported in Seattle, Albuquerque, and Portland.
Update, August 12, 2017 at 11:15am MT: Further investigation has revealed the Smokéymon hacker to be 13-year-old Kyle Turner, a seventh grader from Duluth, Minnesota, whose father is a programmer for mobile game maker DishPop.