Perhaps the best way to avoid another large marijuana-party raid such as the one that took place in Philadelphia on Saturday is to legalize marijuana altogether at the state level, Mayor Kenney said Monday.
“The real solution to this is legalizing it in the state of Pennsylvania as they did in Colorado," Kenney said Monday. "We won’t have to use police resources in these kinds of activities and actions.”
Kenney was responding to questions about Saturday's raid of the "smokeasy" marijuana party in a warehouse in the city's Frankford section. Police said 19 men and three women were taken into custody following an investigation of "large-scale marijuana sales."
Among them was pot activist N.A. Poe, whose real name is Rich Tamaccio, 37. Poe, who worked with Kenney when he was a councilman to pass legislation that decriminalized small amounts of marijuana for personal use, was identified as the organizer of Saturday's event.
About 175 people were released without charges, police said.
Police confiscated 50 pounds of marijuana, $50,000 in cash, four handguns, and about 100 pounds of THC-infused edibles. Partygoers said those edibles included THC-laced gummy bears.
On Monday, Kenney said “It’s clearly illegal to sell in those quantities." But he quickly added that there may have been "another way" to go about the situation, "as opposed to the amount of resources that were put into this, especially considering our ongoing relationship with that community,” he said.
Kenney said he was not aware that the police were planning that raid.
“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,” he said.
Kenney said given the location and amount of marijuana, he understood the need for police to investigate.
"I just think the amount of resources that were put into it may have been a little overkill,” he said.