Metropolitan Police Department officers armed with assault rifles and a battering ram executed a search warrant at the CBD pop-up shop Mr. Nice Guys D.C. at 1660 33rd St. NW at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 30, according to a public incident report.
The most recent raid was the second in three months. Mr. Nice Guys D.C. was temporarily shut down after MPD executed a raid Dec. 3 due to allegations that the business was selling marijuana. CBD products are federally legal to sell as long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, according to PBS.
In addition to CBD, Mr. Nice Guys D.C. purportedly sells marijuana through the gifting loophole provided for in Initiative 71, according to The Georgetowner. The loophole allows customers to purchase a separate product at a higher-than-normal price and receive up to one ounce of marijuana as a “gift.”
The only cannabis-derived products in stock are CBD, according to co-owner Damion West.
“Every time they raid us, they take all of our CBD products, and CBD is legal, federally. And I don’t understand how they don’t know this,” West said in an interview with The Hoya. “If we were a lab and we tested everything that came through our door, then we could differentiate between products that have high THC levels.”
West argued this could cause MPD lab tests to return false positives for marijuana. However, Mr. Nice Guys D.C. identifies itself as an Initiative 71-compliant business on its website; the website also implies Mr. Nice Guys D.C. makes use of the gifting loophole.
The shop owners were not charged with distribution of marijuana, according to West.
“If we would’ve sold marijuana, don’t you think they would have charged us with distribution of marijuana?” West said. “They’re playing this little cat and mouse game with us. They’re bullying us.”
The interests of Georgetown’s residents should be weighed alongside business interests, according to Advisory Neighborhood 2E02 Commissioner Joe Gibbons.
“Georgetown is a mixed-use zone for business and residential, so even in the best of circumstances when something goes well, it’s being mindful of how this impacts the neighborhood,” Gibbons said in an interview with The Hoya. “We just don’t want illegal narcotic activity as so determined by the police.”
Gibbons said he is not against CBD but argued that Mr. Nice Guys D.C. caused problems for the neighborhood.
“The people who were coming there were parking the wrong way down 33rd, going down the one-way, congregating, and were using some of the product outside, which of course is not legal in D.C.,” Gibbons said.
Increased discussion and understanding between Mr. Nice Guys D.C. and its critics is key to a resolution, according to Gibbons.
“I think there has to be more communication,” Gibbons said. “We need to understand their goals, have to understand what they want out of being there, and they have to understand what we want. They’re sinking their hard-earned money, their dreams into this business, but this is where people come home after a hard day’s work and want to have dinner with their kids and go to sleep and raise a family.”
Gibbons said he invited the two owners of Mr. Nice Guys D.C. as well as the owner of Used Books, who leased the space to the pop-up shop, to speak at the most recent Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting Monday. However, the owners could not make it, he said.
Used Books owner Hamid Savojbolaghi has sold secondhand books out of the property’s basement for over 20 years and used to live above his shop, according to The Washington Post. The renters told Savojbolaghi they planned to sell cigarettes, hats and T-shirts when he originally leased the space above his shop to them in November 2019.
Savojbolaghi has now been forced to retain a lawyer in an effort to terminate Mr. Nice Guys D.C.’s lease, he said in an interview with The Washington Post.
“I’ve been here all these years without a problem,” Savojbolaghi said to The Washington Post. “I don’t want anything to do with that type of business.”