Nothing gives cops a worse reputation than the braggadocios way they sometimes celebrate the enforcement of controversial laws—but nothing redeems a dissenting public like this hilarious gaffe one police department faced this week.
It all began with a simple Facebook post (which has now been deleted) showing members of Missouri’s Jasper Police Department celebrating a massive “bust” of marijuana—which they estimated had a street value of over $100,000.
According to the Riverfront Times, which nabbed screenshots of the post before deletion, the caption accompanying the photo read:
“What a great team effort today. It was hot and humid and not easy getting these plants. We ALL got in the thick of things and got it done.”
The post also included Jasper PD’s elaborate math which brought them to the $100,000 estimate:
“The average plant is said to yield about 100-250 grams of marijuana. So on the low side, about 28,800 grams of marijuana, or about 63 pounds of weed. About $100,000 street value once harvested and prepared for the street.”
Here’s the celebratory photo they took:
But here’s the punchline to this unintended joke: it turns out—according to numerous experts and lay observers—that those heaping piles of “psychoactive marijuana” are nothing more than….hemp.
That’s right, hemp: you know, that incredibly versatile commodity that’s derived from marijuana plants but isn’t used for any psychedelic purposes.
Indeed, many commenters were quick to point it out, saying things like, “That’s hemp,” though other responses remain unknown after the post’s deletion.
The Riverfront Times contacted numerous marijuana/hemp experts for their opinions.
According to Mitch Meyers of Missouri’s BeLeaf hemp-growing company, it “sure looks like hemp to me.”
Separately, John Payne, Executive Director of Show-Me Cannabis, said, “These look to me like wild hemp plants, because they are tall and without buds…That probably means that no one was actively cultivating them. If that’s the case, the street value of those plants is next to nothing.”
As dissenting comments began to rack up, it wasn’t long before the Jasper Police Department quickly deleted the Facebook post by Wednesday morning.
The Police Chief Chad Karr has since defended the bust and even the post itself, “the goal was never to brag about a bunch of pot plants, but rather to serve notice to a suspected meth dealer operating in the area.”
Admitting he’s not an expert in determining the street value of marijuana based on the outward appearance of stalks collected, Karr added that there were trails leading to the crops, suggesting they’d been actively cultivated.
“I think the misconception is we go to work to bust pot heads,” he added, “I personally do not. I know what the problem is — it’s opiates and methamphetamine.”
Whether it’s cannabis, hemp, or something in between, what remains absolutely clear is that Jasper PD’s epic gaffe this week is almost as big a joke as the government’s war on marijuana.