DC Police Chief Says Marijuana Is ‘Undoubtedly’ Connected To Rise In Violent Crime

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Washington, D.C., police Chief Robert Contee said during a Friday press conference that marijuana is “undoubtedly” connected to rising crime in the city.

Contee held the press conference after two people were shot near a popular area of D.C. Thursday night. A shooting at Nationals stadium Saturday also shocked the city.

The police chief said that many people believe that marijuana is “not really a big issue,” but in reality, the drug “undoubtedly is connected to violent crimes that we are seeing in our communities.” (RELATED: ‘Half-In, Half-Out’: Clarence Thomas Calls Out Marijuana Laws, Suggests They Might Not Be Constitutional)

“When you have something where people get high reward – they can make a lot of money by selling illegal marijuana – and … the risk for accountability is very low, that creates a very, very, very bad situation because those individuals get robbed,” he explained. “Those individuals get shot at. Those individuals get involved in disputes all across our city.”

Contee said that he has seen marijuana-related crimes rise across D.C., including a murder tied to an illegal marijuana distributor. He called illegal marijuana sales a “recipe for disaster.”

And again, think about it. People – what is the risk for people? Is there a prosecution that is going to happen?” he asked. “Really, is there a prosecution of a guy with marijuana? I’ve heard some community members saying these guys are keeping scales on them where they’re measuring out their marijuana so that the police are not able to lock them up. That’s something we have to look at as a community.”