Yesterday, we talked about a CVS in Washington, DC, that is being looted on a daily basis. Along with the looting, street vendors are selling half-priced merchandise across the road that looks like it was stolen from the CVS. This has become a major news story in the local DC Media.
If police simply chased away the street vendors, looting would probably decrease substantially. So why aren’t the police doing anything?
It turns out that Washington DC City just decriminalized illegal street vending!
It is called the Street Vendor Advancement Amendment Act of 2023, which went into effect on July 1st, 2023.
The act decriminalized illegal street vending. It granted an amnesty for unpaid fines and unpaid sales tax. It banned background checks for people seeking permits and licenses. The act also created the “Columbia Heights-Mount Pleasant Sidewalk Vending Zone.”
The street vendors who appear to be selling merchandise stolen from the CVS are operating in this newly created “Columbia Heights-Mount Pleasant Sidewalk Vending Zone.”
The zone is managed by a non-profit rather than the police. No vending license or vending site permit is even required. No one seems to know who this non-profit is. The text of the bill does not name the non-profit. It only says that it must be an organization with its headquarters in DC.
Anyone can set up at a table from 5:00 AM until midnight. On Friday and Saturday, this is extended until 1:00 AM.