D.C. Police Bragged About Busting an 'Illegal Narcotics Pop-Up Operation.' Or As You Might Call It, Some People Selling Weed.

"Must've taken some real investigative prowess to pull this off."


The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is "#HeretoHelp" by busting an "illegal narcotics pop-up operation." Sounds ominous, until you realize it just means they kept some weed off the streets of D.C., where pot is legal for recreational use anyway.

The story starts with a December 18 post from the department's Twitter page. I missed it at the time, or else I would have included it in my roundup of the worst overreactions to weed in 2018. As you can see from their photos of what they confiscated, their big haul consisted of various marijuana-related items, including bags of weed, edibles (like cupcakes and lollipops), and paraphernalia:

I could write at length about how pointless it is spending time and resources to bust some weed dealers and then boast about it on social media. But plenty of Twitter users picked up on the problem without my help:

Some users claimed the people running the "narcotics operation" actually give back to the community by providing food and Christmas trees to homeless veterans and needy families, respectively:

Reason was unable to independently identify who runs the operation and what sort of charitable activities they engage in. Either way, the police's actions are ridiculous.

Thanks to Initiative 71, passed in 2014, people over the age of 21 in D.C. can legally possess, consume, share, and grow limited amounts of marijuana. They just can't sell it, as the district has no retail recreational pot system. Weed entrepeneurs get around this by selling everyday items for much more than they're worth and adding the weed as a "gift." There are other loopholes as well: Sellers can offer pot for free while highlighting the suggested donation, or consumers can pay for admission to pop-up events featuring (you guessed it) weed.

This is all legal in theory. But the law is significantly vague to the point where different parties interpret it the way they want. As a result, people running marijuana operations can never really know when law enforcement is going to crack down.

At the heart of the issue is the fact that D.C. voters decided a long time ago they have no problem with legal weed. The authorities should respect that. If they don't want there to be a grey market for marijuana, then they should let the legal alternatives flow.