Eric B. Walker/Flickr

Drug epidemics are a well known part of the urban American narrative, and more recently so is the reach of drugs into rural and suburban areas. Efforts have been made nationally to legalize and tax a non-lethal recreational drugs like marijuana. Potentially lethal ones, like alcohol, have long been legal to consume.

Our fair city of Washington D.C. is no different in this regard. Mayor Muriel Bowser became a symbol of marijuana legalization in the District. She and Congress had different legislative stances on the District of Columbia’s referendum that voted in the new local statute that “legalized it.” However, both sides have been virtually mute on the insidious drug epidemic ravaging the area in front and on the sides of The Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV) shelter at 2nd and D Street NW.

That’s right, just two blocks away from our nation’s capitol building exists an open air drug market serving thousands of dollars worth of the ambiguous drug “K2.” It’s better known as “Bizarro” and “Scooby,” notable for the childlike cartoon packaging.

I was once an addict. I paid the various drug dealing pioneers who set up shop with impunity everyday at least $300/week. Imagine the profit made from hundreds of people like me. For years—at least while I was there until 2012—drug dealers have come down to the shelter to line their pockets based on the misery of homeless vagrants.

What is more astonishing than seeing the increasingly damaged people that purchase these drugs is perhaps the innovation with which the dealers operate. For example, a community store clandestinely sells the dealer a single 10 gram package for just $15. The dealer then buys a cache of cheap cigars and rolls up 30 “blunts” from this package. Each blunt sells for around $4 apiece at high volume, essentially sub-retailing the drug for windfall profits.

I know this because I pioneered it. Now it has begotten street violence in the corridor. It must be stopped. This is egregiously happening with open acceptance and apathy from police. Congress is oblivious to its neighboring drug strip behind the tax court. And our mayor…well, she should take a look into it, wouldn’t you think?