No, Boston is not in the grips of a mad scientist with anthrax. Nor is it under siege from a series of terrorist briefcase bombs.

It was pot, marijuana, Mary Jane, grass, weed and a whole lot of it that tied up half the emergency services in the city Thursday afternoon.

Mailroom workers at One Financial Center found a “white powdery substance” on a package around noontime and called 911. Fire fighters quarantined the four exposed workers and ran through decontamination protocols to clear them, said Steve MacDonald, a spokesman for the Boston Fire Department.

Fire officials eventually called out a Level 3 Hazardous Materials Incident, requiring anyone entering the building to don specialized Hazmat suits for safety.

Tests determined that the white powder was in fact laundry detergent.

But when they took a closer look at the package, fire fighters found a briefcase beneath the detergent. So they called in the Boston Police Bomb Squad to investigate. They x-rayed the briefcase and determined it was not bomb.

Then U.S. Postal Police were called in to take custody of the package and another suspicious package with the same address and handwriting.

Postal Police found 45 pounds of marijuana in the two packages. The detergent may have been an attempt to mask the marijuana, but it drew far more attention to it than anyone could have imagined.

No one was injured, sickened, or given the munchies as a result of the powder, briefcase or pot.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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