In D.C., A Basic T-Shirt Costs $45, But The Marijuana Is Free

A perfect law is like a leprechaun or a unicorn or comfortable stilettos: You can look all you want but you will never find one. A perfect marijuana law would be akin to a leprechaun wearing comfortable stilettos while riding a unicorn. Good luck with that.

To demonstrate just how absurd marijuana regulations can be, just take a look at what is going on in our nation’s capital. In 2014, Washington D.C. residents voted overwhelmingly to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana. But, in what can be described as a 420 Catch 22, it is illegal to buy or sell it. This could only happen in a city filled with politicians.

But some creative cannabis entrepreneurs have found a loophole in the law. Here is how the Associated Press described the solution in recent report:

It’s hard to justify $45 for an ordinary black cotton T-shirt, but the customer at a store in Washington D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood does so without question. The clerk grabs a clear plastic box containing about one gram of marijuana and drops it into the bag, reciting a practiced line: “Thank you and here’s a gift for you to have as a souvenir.”

It’s another satisfied customer in the so-called District of Cannabis, the unique legal and commercial space spawned by the District of Columbia’s unusual approach to marijuana legalization.

That’s right: The retailer is not selling marijuana. The customer is not buying marijuana. It’s FREE WEED! All you need to do is buy a drastically overpriced undershirt. Locals are calling it the “gift economy” and it has everyone buzzing.

“It’s definitely unique. The DC city council and the city government don’t want to be busting people for weed. They want this to work and work smoothly,” Morgan Fox of the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project told AP.

One resourceful retailer, Gregory Moorer, is using the loophole to make a buck. “Seven days a week, you can find [a cannabis-friendly] event going on,” Moorer, told the AP. His company, Laid Back Lords, gives away weed at these venues if the customer forks over $50 for a ball caps or $80 for a sweatshirt.

But some politicians refuse to acknowledge how crazy this law is. Republican Maryland Congressman Andy Harris is the lawmaker who authored the regulation banning the District of Columbia government from spending resources to develop a reasonable retail policy.

“I think the District of Columbia made a bad decision [in legalizing cannabis],” Harris, an avid drug warrior, told the AP. “I would hope the District comes to its senses and realizes the dangers.”

Police tell AP that the ridiculous legal loophole isn’t fooling anyone. “In our estimation, that’s still illegal,” said Lt. Andrew Struhar of the Narcotics and Special Operations division of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department. But Struhar also made it clear that local law enforcement officers will look the other way as long as neighbors don’t complain and those involved remain low-key.

The last word goes to City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who told the AP: “I don’t think it’s sustainable. We have legal marijuana but we can’t regulate it. It’s stupid, it’s just stupid.”

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