The reasons for the sudden and hemp products. And yet the cops did a real number: bullet-proof vests, a helicopter overhead with search lights, fifteen cops busting into each location in business hours, the whole dick-swinging nine yards. My neighborhood needs good policing – of criminals, not legal entrepreneurs. But the DC cops seem to believe that actually reducing murder on our streets is less of a priority than this absurd busting of businesses that have been around, in two of the cases, for a very long time, and in the case of Capitol Hemp, only a while.
18th Street has several hookah bars where people openly smoke flavored tobacco from pipes indistinguishable from those on sale at the stores. One of them has had these pipes in its front fricking window for as long as I can remember. As for Capitol Hemp, it's been meticulous in my experience in maintaining that its pipes, bongs, vaporizers are not for marijuana, in signs in the store, and in general conversation. The store has a firm policy of no pot on the premise, and it appears the police found none in the Adams Morgan location:
The three employees arrested face possession with intent to distribute, and a customer faces a charge of possession of marijuana.
The cops claim there were tiny amounts of pot in the possession of three employees at a Chinatown store (against store policy) – but that hardly seems reason for such a raid. It is also true that DC has a medical marijuana law. Presumably those legally permitted to smoke marijuana are also legally permitted to buy ways to smoke or inhale it, except for a vague provision in DC law barring such sales if they can be proven to be intended for illegal drugs. To add to the murky origins of the raids, Adam Eidinger, a co-owner of Capitol Hemp, and a statehood activist, claims the raid was prompted by his campaign against a luxury hotel proposed for a nearby street, with a $46 million tax subsidy from DC residents. He had threatened to launch Occupy Adams Morgan after a meeting this week:
"I've been told if I speak out against this hotel I might lose my business," says Eidinger, who notes that the developer stands to receive a $46 million tax abatement. "I guess yesterday was an attempt top shut me down. "Our business paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes last year to local government. We're not getting tax breaks," he adds. "Why is Marriott getting a break? We're sick of this."
I have no idea if this is true, but I do know that Adams Morgan residents deserve an answer from their police force about the reason for these outrageous raids of legal businesses. They are currently refusing to comment or explain. Those of us who live here need to make sure they hear what the citizens of Adams Morgan feel about this police intimidation of stoners.
(Photo by Justin Grimes)