Last Tuesday, police responded to a domestic disturbance in St. Louis Park.
Officers were handling the call until they “observed a large amount of suspected marijuana,” and they decided to get the sheriff’s office in on this. After the Southwest Hennepin Drug Task Force arrived, with a search warrant in hand, officers seized what turned out to be a trove.
There were 6,600 doses’ worth of edibles, nearly 4,000 grams of cannabis, over 500 THC vape cartridges, over 2,400 grams of THC wax concentrate, nearly 1,700 grams of liquid THC, and about $35,000 in cash. The estimated street value was nearly a quarter million dollars.
“Drug busts of this size are typically associated with large, sophisticated drug dealing operations, which are often linked to more violent crimes,” a Facebook post from the sheriff’s office describing the raid said. “This is a great example of how our office in general and our task force in particular supports local law enforcement in Hennepin County.”
Here’s the post in its entirety.
Our Southwest Hennepin Drug Task Force (SWHDTF) seized nearly a quarter of a million dollars in marijuana and more than...Posted by Hennepin County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, August 25, 2020
The sheriff’s department didn’t respond to interview requests, and the local police department deferred to their county counterparts, so it’s hard to say what kind of reaction, exactly, was expected from the public.
But it probably wasn’t this one.
“What halfwit PR numbskull thought this would help law enforcement look *good*?” a Reddit user who saw the post on Nextdoor said. “Every. Single. Person. (Including Republicans) I know in the Twin Cities area supports legalization. Glad our sheriff’s department is putting our tax dollars to quality use.”
Facebook wasn’t very complimentary either, based on a quick cruise through the nearly 700 comments.
“[Marijuana]’ll be legal by this time next year,” one said. “Way to ruin more lives!”
“Screw you guys in a MAJOR way.”
"Go find the real drugs!" one commenter commanded. "You cops are good for nothing!"
Minnesota has been orbiting the topic of legalized recreational cannabis for years while other states have been enjoying a windfall of legalization revenue and positive public opinion. A poll by the Star Tribune and MPR earlier this year found that about 51 percent of Minnesota voters thought the state should legalize it, and another 37 percent opposed. The rest weren’t sure.
It’s still a highly partisan issue. About 60 percent of Democrats favored legalization, as opposed to about 42 percent of Republicans. Before the pandemic hit, one of the biggest obstacles to getting legal cannabis on the ballot appeared to be a bloc of stalwart Senate Republicans. Last year’s bill died at the hands of a Senate committee, and Majority Leader Paul Gazelka vowed his chamber wouldn’t consider it this year.
A bill introduced by House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler fizzled away without a vote after the coronavirus derailed the 2020 legislative session.
But the perception of weed has changed by necessity. It’s legal for adults in about a dozen U.S. states, plus that mild-mannered umbrella we call Canada. The swiss cheese legal morass caused by piecemeal legalization has even exacerbated drug trafficking issues in some cases, setting up incentives for smuggling rings to grow cannabis in a legal state and sell it in an illegal one, where demand (and price) is higher, and quality control is nonexistent.
As several Facebook commenters pointed out, it is hard to respect a drug bust that would not happened if it had taken place in, say, Michigan.
“This feels like the human equivalent of a cat bringing you the dead mouse they just killed. ‘Look what I did for you?’ Blows my mind that you actually thought you should post this.”