On Saturday night, Philadelphia police conducted a raid of a “smokeasy” party in a warehouse in the city’s East Frankfort neighborhood. The police action netted 22 arrests, 50 pounds of marijuana, about 100 pounds of cannabis-infused edibles, $50,000 in cash and four handguns.
Police also said 175 people attending the event were released without charges.
On Monday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney suggested a way to avoid this type of raid in the future:
“The real solution to this is legalizing it in the state of Pennsylvania as they did in Colorado. We won’t have to use police resources in these kinds of activities and actions.”
Kenney was not excusing the illegality of the large “Philly Smoke Session” — nor was he happy about the copious amount of cannabis found during the raid.
“It’s clearly illegal to sell in those quantities.” But, he added, there must be “another way” to go about resolving the matter, “as opposed to the amount of resources that were put into this, especially considering our ongoing relationship with that community.”
The massive party had been planned for months and the organizers were not keeping it a secret. City officials and law enforcement agencies were aware that the event would be happening.
“I don’t micromanage the police department and they didn’t tell us they were doing it. Apparently they spent two months of planning. So, I don’t know whether that could’ve been used for a better effort but still, how [the party organizers] set up in a very dangerous building, with the large amount [of marijuana] they had ,called for attention, I guess. And that’s what happened,” Kenney said. “I just think the amount of resources that were put into it may have been a little overkill.”