Drug Policy

Adventures in Drug War Incompetence


Last week, police in Ottawa raided a man's house after mistaking a skunk's stench for a marijuana grow. That might have been my favorite mistaken-for-pot raid yet, had it not been for a raid this week in the U.K., in which cops mistook two Guinea pigs for a major marijuana operation.

A partial list of living organisms that have triggered mistaken drug raids here the U.S. of A: tomatoes, sunflowers, fish, tomatoes again, elderberry bushes, kenaf plants, tomatoes again, hibiscus, ragweed, and . . . tomatoes again.

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  1. My wife had a big hibiscus plant in a pot in the back yard, and I was wondering how long it would be before the neighbors called the cops to report the marijuana plant in our back yard.

    1. That’s actually a good litmus test for the neighborhood. I wouldn’t live anywhere that I couldn’t grow hibiscus.

      Just out of curiosity, how long did it take for your neighbors to call it in? Did you get multiple calls on you or just one?

      1. Never got any calls, comments, complaints or anything.

        We’ve also got a 10 x 12, 9 foot-tall greenhouse in the back yard, and in the very early spring, she starts seeds in it, so there are grow lights on late into the night.

        Never had a peep about any of it.

  2. Holy crap! It was only just after 8:00, they knocked on his door, and presented a warrant! In this country, they would have busted in his door at 3:00 am and shot his dogs, and possibly him, too. What is he complaining about?

  3. A partial list of living organisms that have triggered mistaken drug raids here the U.S. of A: tomatoes, sunflowers, fish, tomatoes again, elderberry bushes, kenaf plants, tomatoes again, hibiscus, ragweed, and . . . tomatoes again.

    Hey, you’re being unfair. You cannot expect police officers to be horticulturalists – they can barely write their names as it is, let alone recognize the difference between a tomato plant and a cannabis shrub. Cut them some slack…

    1. Don’t forget Japanese maples, grown by that poor bastard who perforated the cop trying to break into his house.

      1. When I was growing up we had one of those in our front yard. Luckily, it was so large and the leaves were so deep red that I think even a cop wouldn’t be dumb enough to mistake it for an MJ plant.

      2. “”Don’t forget Japanese maples,””

        Who would that be? I recall one claim to Japanese maples but that ended up to being false and he was in fact growing pot.

      3. JM, MJ, what’s the difference? Shoot the dogs.

  4. So, if I set up a couple of 1500 watt work lights in my attic, can I sue the cops when they break in thinking it’s a grow op? Because that sure seems easier than working for a living.

    1. No. No you can’t. That’s part of the problem.

    2. Entrapment is only legal for gubmint agents.

  5. Now that would be some serious skunk weed.

    1. Ever since I started smoking weed, the smell of dead skunk is actually quite invigorating when I drive past it on the road. I always imagine that just over the hedge there’s like 20 people blazin it up.

  6. Last week, police in Ottawa raided a man’s house after mistaking a skunk’s stench for a marijuana grow.

    Maybe because the stench of a skunk is an extremely rare occurrence in Ottawa… and marijuana stench is more prevalent… Hmmm…

    Could Ottawa be the hidden marijuana Mecca of Canada??

    1. The cops don’t even have that excuse: there’s tons of skunks here.

  7. And your father smelt of elderberries.

    1. …so I shot them both.

      1. if u had an extended mag, u coulda cleaned out the whole elderberry/skunk nest instead of only 2.

        1. I’m sure cops will still have access to extended mags no matter what happens (or for that matter, how they abuse it). Gun control is for little people.

    2. I was thinking that maybe the Guinea Pig/elderberry thing was some kind of meta-joke. Hamsters would have been too “on the nose”.

  8. This is why skunks need to be regulated. Our kids are out there getting “skunked” right now.

  9. What idiotic stories like this tell you is how eager the cops are to make drug arrests and do raids. If they weren’t, they’d treat reports like this the way they treat reports of your TV being stolen: they would ignore it.

    1. Well, down here it’s asset forfeiture. They can’t confiscate your stuff when you call about a break in.

      1. Asset forfeiture is definitely a big part of the eagerness, but if it were just that, they could get a warrant and break in while the person was gone, find the drugs, and seize. Shooting dogs is fun, don’t you know.

      2. They can if they find evidence of drugs after responding to the call.

    2. “Police later told his wife Paula there wasn’t enough snow on the steep roof of the 150-year-old home, so officers thought that was also a sign of a grow-op.”


      1. Do you really expect a cop to know heat rises, they are not scientists you know.

      2. As in the roof must be warm because of heat generated by a growing operation in the attic.

      3. It’s an old house with an uninsulated attic and a steep roof. I lived in one of those for several years. You had to watch out, because the ice and snow sliding off that bitch would take your head off.

  10. Speaking of asset forfeiture and a thread jack. (no clue why this connected in my melon) Do not steal the desktop computer from an MIT computer science member, the outcome may be bad. Little slow, but hang in there, the geek revenge is strong.


  11. I didn’t know plants could grow in Canada.

  12. Per the link, it wasn’t actually in Ottawa, but in Gatineau, Quebec.

    Fucking retarded no matter where it happens, though. 20 cop cars surrounding the property? Sheeeeiiit. In my hometown in rural BC, there were actual criminals* with obvious grow houses that never got raided, to my knowledge.

    *Not just drug stuff: violence, gangs, etc.

  13. Judging by the Veggie Tales tomato, I can see why the NARCs would be investigating the veggie fruit.

  14. You might add Okra to the list, an 80 year old cousin had her Okra patch burned by helicopter borne police a few years back (they did apologize for the mistake).

  15. “…a marijuana grow.”

    Grow is now a noun? I missed that memo.

    1. Gubmint slang. If your agents are reported as raiding Farms, shooting the Farmers dogs, terrorizing the Farmers Wife and kids.

      The stories would read just a wee bit more horrific.

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