Capitol Hemp in D.C. Closes, After Police Raid in October Seized Smoking Devices

Adam Eidinger stands next to the wall and gives it a good, solid knock. “Hemp board,” he says. “First retail store to be built out of it. It’s held up remarkably well.”

Eidinger and business partner Alan Amsterdam imported 2,000 pounds of the stuff from China while building Capitol Hemp in an Adams Morgan basement four years ago. Since then, hemp-board shelves have held products also made of non-psychoactive strains of industrial cannabis — soap, paper, shoes, coats, hats. Dog beds and wood stain, even.

But no longer. Friday was Capitol Hemp’s last day of business.

The reason lies in the back of the store, behind a closed door. There, more hemp shelves held dozens of delicate glass pipes and other intricate smoking devices.

In October, D.C. police raided the shop and a Capitol Hemp location in Chinatown, now closed. They arrested six employees and seized $350,000 worth of glassware, alleging that its sale violated the city’s drug paraphernalia laws. To get their merchandise back and avoid criminal prosecution, Eidinger and Amsterdam agreed in April to close their D.C. shops.

On Friday, a steady crowd filed in for one last time to check out shirts and hats, many sporting images of cannabis leaves. Some inspected discount pieces of artisan glassware — don’t use the B-word — that retail for hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars.

Its owners, meanwhile, stood in the shop commiserating with customers and soon-to-be-laid-off employees about doing business in a city where residents and elected officials have long supported medical marijuana and liberal politics, but police and prosecutors have taken a hard line on enforcing drug laws.

“We’ve been legal. We’ve paid our taxes. We’ve gotten all our permits,” Amsterdam said. “When you do everything by the book, you expect a little bit more.”

– Read the entire article at The Washington Post.