Real talk: Busting people for drug possession at a Phish show is the law-enforcement equivalent of shooting actual fish in a very small barrel with a high-powered assault rifle. The State Bureau of Investigation’s Alcohol Law Enforcement (acronym: ALE, which makes us chuckle) division did just that Friday night, but then weirdlydecided to vigorously pat themselves on the back for their hard work keeping our streets safe.
On Saturday morning, ALE sent out a press release trumpeting the fact that it had arrested 65 people on drug and alcohol charges at the jam-band’s Walnut Creek Amphitheater show.
Most of the charges read like typical pre-concert parking lot shenanigans: selling alcohol without a permit, underage drinking, lots of weed. ALE made sure to note that 25 of the 115 charges filed were feloniesmostly to do with possession of psychedelics like mushrooms, LSD and MDMA. There were a few more eyebrow-raising busts: a Californian was charged with possession with intent to sell and distribute bath salts, and another interloper from South Carolina was charged with maintaining a vehicle for the purpose of possessing cocaine, whatever that means.
ALE released its full list of the names, hometowns, ages and charges for everyone who was arrested. WRAL and WNCN then reposted all of that to their respective websites, because it is very important to ruin people’s future job prospects over the devil’s grass. WNCN went the extra dirtbag mile, pairing this information with a rogues’ gallery of 18 mug shots. Look at all these dirty hippies! Behold them with your scandal-craving eyes! Shame on them and their mostly recreational drug use and noticeably absent charges of violence. (Not a single brawl, stabbing or sexual assault in the lot. You’d think they almost weren’t actually bothering anybody at all.)
ALE’s press release said it had received “numerous complaints” about drugs and alcohol at the venue, but it didn’t say from whom these complaints had come. Neighbors? Probably notthe sprawling 20,0000-capacity venue is pretty much out in the middle of nowhere. Other attendees? Um, what kind of wet blanket goes to a Phish show and complains about dope?
We’re calling bullshit.
At the same time, let’s all shed a single tear for the white folks (and yes, most if not all of them were of the Caucasian persuasion) whose party vibes were extinguished. Sure, drug laws are plenty fucked, but these folks were reveling in large groups in an open, public space. If you’re at all outraged about people getting arrested in situations in which they’re gleefully flouting the law, maybe think about that a little harder. News flash: We live in a world where people of color are routinely profiled and generally treated like subhuman garbage by cops all the time. Sweet hippies, your problems are nothing.
So great work all around, everybody. Your parents must be very proud.
This article appeared in print with the headline “Cops find drugs at a Phish show, very proud of selves”