A task force comprised of state police and National Guard troops reportedly seized a single marijuana plant from an 81-year-old woman’s home in Western Massachusetts.
The Amherst homeowner, grandmother Margaret Holcomb, reportedly uses pot to minimize the effects of arthritis, glaucoma, and insomnia. She wasn’t home when a military helicopter followed by several law enforcement vehicles arrived on her property in the raid that occurred on September 21, the news of which is just emerging in the media.
The solitary plant in question was apparently growing in a fenced-in raspberry patch.
Although it may seem difficult to believe, the Daily Hampshire Gazette described what happened that afternoon.
“In a joint raid, the Massachusetts National Guard and State Police entered her yard and cut down the solitary plant in what her son, Tim Holcomb, said was a ‘pretty shocking’ action — one that he argues constitutes unlawful surveillance and illegal search and seizure…Holcomb said he was told that as long as he did not demand that a warrant be provided to enter the property or otherwise escalate the situation, authorities would file no criminal charges.”
A state police spokesman confirmed that the September 21 raid was part of an enforcement action throughout the Amherst/Northampton area in which authorities seized 44 weed plants in plain view on various properties. State police will destroy the contraband in a controlled burn in a facility at its headquarters.
On Election Day, Massachusetts voters will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana, currently only permitted for medical reasons.
“Margaret Holcomb does not have a medical card authorizing her to grow or possess marijuana,” the Daily Hampshire Gazette added. “[She] said she is ‘not a huge social activist’ but she is ready to stand up in this case, in which she feels like her civil rights were violated. If she’s unable to get medical marijuana by other means, she said, she may grow another plant. ‘I’m prepared to take actions if I need to,’ Margaret Holcomb said. ‘I don’t picture them out here and putting an 81-year-old woman in jail.'”
Commenting on the raid at the elderly woman’s home, Vox asserted that “Given those facts, it’s safe to say the raid did absolutely nothing for public safety. Stopping an elderly woman from taking a relatively harmless drug for medical purposes does no one any good whatsoever. As Holcomb put it, the raid won’t even stop her from getting marijuana; she said she’ll likely just grow another plant.”
Reacting to the raid on her raspberry garden in the back corner of her property, Margaret Holcomb told the Boston Globe that “I had been nursing this baby through a drought, and I was pretty pissed to tell you the truth…This is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, I am a citizen of the United States of America. You have overstepped and I am not going to step aside.”
“For now, though, Margaret Holcomb may have to turn to getting a medical marijuana card. She worries about the challenges in getting a doctor to sign off on her need, and the costs of obtaining medicine” from the one dispensary in the area,” the Daily Hampshire Gazette noted.
The Amherst aid was funded by a DEA Cannabis Eradication Program,”which gives state authorities money to uproot pot plants,” and from which Massachusetts supposedly received $60,000 this year, the Baltimore Sun reported.
The local police said he had no knowledge about the September 21 operation in the area, however.
Putting aside whether or not you support medical marijuana and/or recreational marijuana, do you think it’s a good use of law enforcement funds to raid the homes of persons allegedly growing pot plants?
[Featured Image by Marina Riker/AP Images]