A Florida beach was the site of some mysterious, lost treasure over the weekend.
Police in Neptune Beach, a town in the northeastern corner of the state near Jacksonville, said on Saturday that officers “responded to a large amount of marijuana which washed ashore” earlier that morning.
“It appears a large quantity likely broke open at sea and separated before coming ashore,” the Neptune Beach Police Department said in a Facebook post. “Officers are on scene working with Public Works to clean the marijuana off the beach.”
The Facebook post included three photos, each showing a long trail of cannabis buds along the beach.
“Before anyone starts thinking about coming out and turning this discovery into your own treasure hunt, we would advise against it,” the police department said in the post.
The weed was apparently quite dank––and not in a good way.
“After floating in the ocean for some time, the marijuana has quickly begun to degrade and rot,” the cops said in the post.
Local news outlet Action News Jax reported late Saturday morning that officers “were on the scene working with Public Works to clean the marijuana off the beach,” and that the “scene is now clear.”
“There was a couple of cop cars down here parked on the street, just parked down there I guess picking up nugs of weed that washed up from the water,” an eyewitness told the station.
We’ve seen this movie before.
In 2018, law enforcement in St. John’s County, Florida reported that a number of packages of cannabis had been washing up on their shores, including one package that weighed 30 pounds.
“Most of those kinds of exchanges go on in the middle of the night,” Chuck Mulligan, the St. John’s County public information officer, said at the time. “There’s no telling where in the ocean this could have possibly occurred. It could have been off the coast of St. Johns County or it could have been somewhere in south Florida that drifted for days.”
“Being so close in proximity to Central and South America, we are many times a gateway to get [product] into the U.S.,” he added. “So it’s not uncommon for us to see this every once in a while, maybe once or twice a year in St. Johns County.”
Recreational cannabis is still against the law in the Sunshine State. Advocates are trying to change that, but have run into stiff opposition from some Florida officials.
Last month, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a lawsuit with the state Supreme Court challenging a proposed 2024 ballot initiative to legalize recreational cannabis.
In her brief, Moody asserts that the initiative would allow “adults 21 years or older to possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and marijuana accessories” for recreational purposes.
Because cannabis remains illegal under federal law, Moody contends that makes the initiative “incorrect and misleading.”
The advocacy group pushing to get the initiative on next year’s ballot, Smart & Safe Florida, responded this month with its own brief filed to the Supreme Court.
“In the past several years, this Court has established a ‘roadmap’ for sponsors of marijuana-related ballot initiatives. In drafting the Initiative, SSF followed that clear roadmap. But the Attorney General and other opponents now argue that this court should abruptly redraw the map,” the group’s brief said. “The Attorney General’s lead argument is that this court should discard three of its recent precedents—precedents that it expressly encouraged ballot sponsors to use as blueprints for drafting future initiatives.”