NYPD’s ‘200 Pounds of Marijuana’ Tweet Inspires Critical Backlash

Published on May 12, 2016 · Last updated July 28, 2020

Police departments around the country have discovered the PR value of Twitter. A lot of cops are fond of posting trophy pics, especially when it comes to cannabis. 

So it wasn’t too surprising when the New York Police Department’s 62nd Precinct, based in Brooklyn’s Bensonhurst neighborhood, put up a shot of the booty from a weed bust yesterday. 

“Ever wonder what 200 lbs of marijuana looks like? Nice arrests & recovery today by narcotics unit today in the 62,” posted @NYPD62Pct. 

The photo showed a table piled high with dozens of gallon-size zip-loc baggies filled with cannabis. 

Hah-hah, nice one, NYPD62Pct. 

Except here’s the thing. Two hundred pounds of cannabis translates into 3,200 ounces, or 89,600 grams. So at current market prices, that “recovery” represents around $1.1 million in legal, state-licensed product in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. 

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Here’s what that would support in those legal states:

  • A full time farming operation (200 pounds will fetch $250,000 to $350,000 wholesale in a legal market), which supports the farmer and his or her family, farm staff, trimmers, curing staff, packagers, administrators, and local supply stores. 
  • One month of operations at a fully staffed, state-licensed retail store. That includes store owner, manager, budtenders, compliance officials and security staff. 
  • Roughly $407,000 in state taxes in Washington State, or $308,000 in Colorado. That money goes to build new schools, hire police officers, staff drug-education programs. Tax revenue has also paid for new sidewalks in Pueblo County and helped fund a new recreation center in Denver.  

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The point was not missed by followers of @NYPD62Pct. If the 62 thought its tweet would inspire attaboys from the locals, it was sorely mistaken. Among the replies: 

  • “Medicinal cannabis oil cured my brain cancer so this really must stop” 
  • “Cannabis is safe in Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, DC…NY must have scary dangerous ‘reefer’” 
  • “Disgraceful. These resources should be directed toward meth/heroin enforcement, not harassing cannabis users.” 
  • “I’d add this is absolutely not freedom. Shameful, and shameful you would gloat about this arrest on Twitter.” 
  • “What a waste of taxpayer money.” 
  • “200 pounds of pain relief for #ChronicPain sufferers.” 

Word to Capt. Anthony V. Sanseverino, commanding officer of the 62: Your citizens believe their tax dollars could be put to much better use. 

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Bruce Barcott
Bruce Barcott
Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.
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