An unusual form of debris has been washing up along Florida’s beaches after Hurricane Florence: bricks of Marijuana.
Over the last few days, numerous twelve-kilogram (26 lbs.) packages of the drug have washed ashore in Daytona Beach and the surrounding area, the Washington Post reports. While their appearance is likely do to the ocean being churned up by the storm, which made landfall September 14, it’s unclear where exactly they came from.
The bundles have unsurprisingly created major issues for local law enforcement, as tourists try to scoop them up. Not only is possession of marijuana, even in small amounts, illegal in the state, but its presence has led to physical fights among beachgoers.
According to a release from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office shared on Thursday, “packages of marijuana have been washing up on the beaches in St. Johns, Flagler and Volusia counties” in the past two days.
One man was arrested after he “was seen attempting to open the packaging and take packages of marijuana. Others were attempting to do the same thing,” according to the release.
The Post shared what transpired on the 911 call that seemingly resulted in the arrest. “We’re at Jungle Hut (Park) and a huge bundle of drugs or something just washed up on the beach and there are people like fighting over it,” the caller says. “There’s like seven or eight people out here, and they’re all like huddling up against it, and my dad’s trying to take it so that you guys can have it all.”
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While medical marijuana is legal in Florida, laws around recreational use and possession are very strict. Possession of 20 grams or less of the drug is a misdemeanor and can lead to a $1,000 fine and up to 1 year in jail. Having 26 lbs. (the weight of one of the packages) is a felony that carries a minimum jail sentence of 3 years and up to 15, and fines up to $25,000.
Hurricane Florence made landfall in the Carolinas last Friday morning as a category 1 storm, causing enormous amounts of damage, as well as flooding and power outages that are still being felt. The death toll attributed to the storm has risen to 37 in recent days.