Employees at a K-Mart in Washington got a 10-pound surprise after a package containing that amount of marijuana arrived at the store.
Police in Seattle are currently investigating how the pot found its way to the discount retailer, but initial reports indicate that the plant material was first shipped out of Los Angeles with a destination address in Philadelphia.
The package was unable to be delivered and was sent to the return address, which listed the K-Mart in Seattle.
It is currently legal, under California state law, to cultivate marijuana in certain circumstances, but marijuana cultivation or possession it is not legal in any circumstance in Philadelphia, which is why this situation is leaving investigators puzzled.
"Delivery information on the package indicates it was originally shipped from Los Angeles to a Philadelphia address, but never made it to its intended destination in Philly … Whoever sent the package listed the address of the Seattle Kmart on the return label, for some reason," Police spokesman Jonah Spagenthal-Lee read in a statement.
Back in November, residents in Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana after both ballot initiatives received the majority vote. This has left some wondering how the new developments would interfere with federal law, which still lists marijuana as illegal.
The Controlled Substances Act, a federal law, prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana, going so far as to classify it as a Schedule 1 drug, placing it alongside cocaine, LSD and heroin.
Legal scholars and law enforcement officials are conflicted by these new laws. Some say marijuana laws do not deter young adults and teens from using the drug, but prosecution can have damaging and long-lasting effects on a person's life.
"A kid can be tossed out of school or lose a college loan or scholarship," said William Martin of the Baker Institute Drug Policy Program. "A parent can lose custody of a child or be barred from subsidized housing. And conviction for a drug offense, even a misdemeanor, can make it extremely difficult to land a job – forever."