Tourists: Don’t Keep the Giant Marijuana Bundles Washing Up on Florida Beaches
There are a lot of wisdom-filled pieces of advice thrown around during ones' childhood, but there’s one that stands out among the rest: Always assume you’re going to get caught. And this is the perfect phrase to live by if you’re ever faced with the question of “Should I keep this bundle of marijuana I just found washed up on the beach?”
Visitors along Florida’s beaches — specifically Daytona Beach — have spotted some interesting objects along the shores, due to the recent ocean upheaval caused by Hurricane Florence. Among these objects are individually wrapped five-kilo bricks of marijuana, according to The Washington Post, which have popped up across three counties in Florida over the past week.
As with any illegal substance that quite literally falls into your lap, there’s a little part of your brain that’s probably asking “If I take this anonymous gift from the ocean, what could go wrong?” The answer: Everything.
As you can imagine, there were quite a few beachgoers who decided to try their luck. As the Washington Post reports: “This moral quandary was best demonstrated in a 911 call to the Volusia County sheriff last Thursday morning, when a woman reported, ‘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.’ How many people? the call-taker inquired, according to a recording of the exchange. ‘There’s like seven or eight people out here,” the caller replied, ‘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.”
But what can actually happen if you do take it? Norml — a group aimed at providing information around marijuana laws — shares that if you’re caught with 20 grams or less of marijuana in Florida, you could face up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. But five kilos is much, much more than 20 grams. In fact, five kilos, or about 11 pounds, can result in five years in prison and a $5,000 maximum fine. Grab three of the beached marijuana packages, and you could be sentenced with 3-15 years in prison with fines reaching $25,000. An impromptu prison sentence might just be the worst way to end a vacation.
Local law enforcement is not kidding around: One witness who the Washington Post identifies as 61-year-old Robert Kelley took one of the bricks to his car and was arrested for possession and jailed. Another thing to note: Medical marijuana is completely legal in Florida, but recreational use is strictly forbidden.
So far, officials share that they’ve gathered close to 100 pounds of washed-up marijuana in the span of two days. They are also currently looking for woman wearing a yellow bikini who was photographed stealing one of the bundles before fleeing the scene.
The thought is that these bundles came from the same shipment, given that most of the marijuana has washed up along the St. Johns coast. There’s no official word on how long these packages may have been floating and whether or not they came from a capsized boat or an airplane drop.
If you do find one of these bundles, the best thing to do is contact local law enforcement and stay on the scene until they arrive. Local news station 13 WTHR also reports that anyone with any information around the marijuana bundles can also reach out to email@example.com.