Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray bulled through his city's Petworth neighborhood last week, confiscating wrapping papers from stores and at least one alleged marijuana grinder sporting a likeness of Bob Marley.
But Mayor Gray overlooked a few items during his clean-up-the-streets tour, which was chronicled by the Washington City Paper. Here are some dual-use items Vincent Gray missed.
1. Aluminum foil: If a store cannot sell wrapping papers without collecting 25 percent of its revenue from loose tobacco, as Gray informed shops he visited, what business does it have selling stoner's duct tape without 25 percent of its revenue coming from uncooked food?
2. Soda cans: Individual cigars and cigarettes - the sale of which Gray attempted to snuff out during a similar 2012 tour - can be modified into blunts and joints, but individual soda cans, too, can be converted into marijuana-smoking devices.
3. Coffee grinders and circular garlic presses: Mayor Gray might want to visit the neighborhood Williams-Sonoma, where he can clear out racks of kitchenware drug fiends may turn to in lieu of Bob Marley-themed tools.
4. Mortars and pestles: These dust-collectors can also be misused. For every seed and spice enthusiast grinding up a culinary delight there's a delinquent mashing a pill.
5. Whipped cream cans, Dust-Off and Robitussin: Mayor Gray made restaurants, a dry cleaner and a nail salon promise not to sell synthetic marijuana, but forgot to extract written assurances that these temptations also be kept off the shelves.
Gray hasn't said if he will seek re-election in 2014. His quixotic bid to rid the city of possible marijuana paraphernalia, however, could cost him. Whispers has learned that a prominent pro-marijuana reform advocate is hosting a fundraiser for Councilman Tommy Wells' mayoral campaign next month. Wells introduced legislation July 10 that would reduce marijuana possession penalties to a $100 fine, down from $1,000 and six months in jail.
According to data published in June by the American Civil Liberties Union, 846 of every 100,000 Washington, D.C. residents were arrested for simple marijuana possession in 2010. That's a higher rate than in any of the 50 states, of which New York had the highest arrest rate at 535 per 100,000.