Drug War

Colorado Medical Marijuana Users Got the Full SWAT Treatment Because of Their Legal Plants


It's legal medicine under state law — and it's on the potential full-legalization track for 2012  — but Colorado has had some issues with federal raids of their medical marijuana dispensaries in the last few years especially. However, a raid on the home of legal two medical marijuana users has made the residents fighting-mad. Chuck Ball says police used excessive force on him and his roommate on February 10. According to KRDO News Channel 13:

"They acted like they were coming for a big terrorist," said Ball…. "They came in here, drug me across the kitchen floor and handcuffed me," said. "They kept telling me to shut up." 

The raid required "at least 13" SWAT officers (which you can see on the home's surveillance video here). Once there they allegedly handcuffed Ball and his roommates, including fellow medical marijuana patient Lynda Glandorf (who doesn't seem to have arrived until later). Residents say police broke some items in the house, singed one of the dog's fur with a flash-bang grenade and scorched the floor, and kept Ball and a neighbor handcuffed for 25 or so minutes. Ball also says they "ripped off [his] shirt" and generally screamed at him as he tried to explain that he was disabled and that he and Glandorf had permission to grow their plants. 

And after that, no arrests were made or charges were filed, because the patients were not growing more than Colorado state law permitted after all. Supposedly a handgun was found,  but Glandorf denies this.

In this video, Ball and Glandorf describe the raid in their own words. It's a long one, though. One of the key parts is around 15 minutes in where they show off what they describe as the top of the flash-bang grenade, as well as another twisted chunk of metal from the weapon.

Further details from KRDO reveal that when the police came to the home previously (at around 10 p.m. on Christmas 2011), Ball and Glandorf showed their medical marijuana cards, but refused to let officers in because they didn't have a warrant. This, says Colorado Springs police spokesperson Barbara Miller, is kind of dubious:

"If you have nothing to hide, most people would open the door and say, 'Yes, please come in and and let's dispel any information you have because it's false." 

Miller, however, told Reason that she understood that the reaction to a so-called "knock and talk" on Christmas was understandable, and she might have done the same thing. And also that she "really appreciate[s] everybody's constitution rights" and "everybody should use them." However, according to KRDO:

Miller said officers smelled a very strong presence of marijuana in the home, and continued their investigation. Miller said police found out that someone living in the house had a prior felony weapons charge, and also noted that the electric bill was very high for the property."That's really important when you're talking narcotics because that's a tell-tale sign that they're doing a grow there," said Miller. Miller said that SWAT officers did knock on the door and gave enough time for someone to answer before going in [during the February 10 raid]."If you look at the video, it does look like maybe it's a large police presence," said Miller. "But if you put yourself in a police officer's shoes, they've been to many of these where you never know how it's going to play out, if weapons are involved, if someone's going to use it."

Colorado Springs Indyblog tells the story of the raid from the viewpoint of the other roommate, Glandorf. After the Christmas would-be search that Glandorf and Ball declined to accept:

Glandorf says she heard nothing further from the police until Feb. 10, when she found herself pulled over by a detective who had been following her for some way. The officer told her the department's Tactical Enforcement Unit was minutes away from raiding her household, partially based on another tip (that came from someone with a personal ax to grind, according to Glandorf). And he wanted to ask a few questions about its contents.

Ball and Glandorf say that "shrapnel" from the flash-bang hurt their dog. Miller is quoted as saying that's not possible because flash-bangs don't produce shrapnel. (She stressed to Reason that she didn't have the technical knowledge to talk further, and she wasn't there, however. She also said that she didn't want to describe the unnamed roommate's previous weapons charge as "a violation." So things are a bit vague at the moment, but Miller's official statement, including on the weapons allegation, can be found here.)

Regardless of all the details, flash-bangs are explosive and dangerous (and occasionally deadly) to human beings, so it doesn't seem impossible that something-which-is-not-technically-shrapnel but was caused by the weapon injured the dog. At 26 minutes into the video above, Ball demonstrates what he says is the welt that the grenade gave his dog. Another one supposedly had a chunk of something impeded under its skin and fur which caused swelling.

In other ill-advised Colorado Springs police actions, a 2009 SWAT raid lead to an October 2011 lawsuit by a 71-year-old woman who suffered a heart attack after police used a flash-bang while she was bed-ridden. So maybe using them on two dogs and a man who has multiple screws in his back is indeed overkill, especially when nobody here seems to have even violated state law. 

Mostly Jacob Sullum on Colorado's troubles with the feds on medical marijuana law. And Radley Balko on the dangers of flash-bang grenades.

NEXT: For Fewer Crushed Children, Feds Mandate Rear-View Cameras For All Cars by 2014

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  1. Ball and Glandorf say that “shrapnel” from the flash-bang hurt their dog. Miller is quoted as saying that’s not possible because flash-bangs don’t produce shrapnel.

    The grenade itself may not produce shrapnel. But the explosion can break something else, like a glass or a vase and that will produce shrapnel you silly fucking cow.

    1. This. Also it generates a lot of heat.

    2. Lets test the power of a flash grenade by throwing it in the face of one of the police thugs.

      1. These devices have been known to start fires when they land on combustible materials. They have also been known to cause impact trauma and temporary (may be permanent) loss of hearing.

        Funny you should mention that; one did go off in an FBI office in WNY; the office occupants did not consider it “safe”.

    3. thank you john i have parts of it here is the trigger number 1100771

  2. Supposedly a handgun was found

    and a couch, a lamp, and a toaster.

    1. and a couch, a lamp, and a toaster.

      So many potential blunt-trauma weapons….we shoulda brought shotguns.

      1. Col. Mustard, in the library, with a lead pipe…

  3. >flash grenades don’t produce shrapnel

    I’m not entirely sure how true this is. The “flash” and “bang” are produced by a substance within a metal tube exploding, correct? I’m sure they don’t produce shrapnel in the way a grenade does, but I’m sort of wondering how “flying bits of metal” don’t factor into the equation at all here.


    1. I mean, it’s not intentional shrapnel in the way that lethal explosives have, but yeah…I’m afraid I don’t know the physics of it.

    2. A stun grenade’s tube is strong enough to contain the exploding material, only allowing the light, heat, and sound out.

      Unlike a fragmenting grenade, which is purposely built with a weak container.

      1. I see from a picture of the M84 Stun Grenade (which is probably what they used) that it has a thick metal tube with holes that surrounds a thin metal tube that holds the propellant. Does no metal from the thin metal tube (which must obviously break to let out the light and sound) get out? I’m sure some of it has to, otherwise I don’t see how it can work.

        1. The aluminum tube on the inside of the grenade is combusted in the explosion. What likely happened is the concussion caused something in the room to break creating said shrapnel.

          Guess that’s still on these dastardly criminals, the should have made sure that the home was flash-bang safe.

          1. *they should have

  4. A raid like this? Happening during a Democrat-led administration?


    1. The Snark is strong in this one.

  5. One of these days the playing-soldiers crew is going to hit a crazy tin-foiler’s house and find all his little xenophobic traps and surprises.

    1. Can you write a bunch more lyrics and make that into a creepy folk song? Please?

      1. Didn’t Bad Company already write “Shooting Star”?

      2. Waving his phallic gun went Corporal Clown until his last stupid step brought the guillotine down.

        1. That sounds a bit more like beat poetry than creepy folk.

          (although Lucy, most folk music is unintentionally creepy)

      3. Coven’s got you covered.

      4. We gotta use minor chords for this as well.

  6. Sounds like the pigs got pissed when refused entry without a warrant on Xmas and decided these folks needed to learn to respect their authoritah. They made the raid on the flimsiest of pretexts and made no arrests.

    It was intended to scare them, and teach them a lesson. Remember, the biggest gang in this country is the one wearing blue.

    1. You will respect mah AUTHORITAH!

  7. singed one of the dog’s fur with a flash-bang grenade

    THAT’S gonna get someone some disciplinary time off….

    Superior: You wounded a dog?

    Ocifer: Yessir

    Superior: And what kind of raid was this?

    Ocifer: A SWAT raid, sir?

    Superior: A WHAT, Ocifer?

    Ocifer: A SWAT RAID, SIR!


    Ocifer: Yes sir

    Superior: ARE! WE! CLEAR?!

    Ocifer: YESSIR!!

    1. I am unwilling to classify any police official as Superior.

      1. For purposes of chain of command it is necessary – until mistakes are made which only happen due to rogue or poorly trained underlings.

  8. Ball and Glandorf describe the raid in their own words. It’s a long one, though.

    Duh. STONERS!

  9. OT, but holy shit are they gunning for freedom with a full metal hard-on spewing a two buckets in volume stream of jizm smack in America’s eye:

    House Passes Bill That Will Make Protesting Illegal at Secret Service Covered Events


    1. That is just appalling.

      1. Don’t worry.

        I’m sure the President will veto anything like that.

        1. Are you? Are you really? The same president that continues to fan the flames of these drug warriors by refusing to admit that the federal government is, and has been for LOOOOOOOOONNG time, wrong about cannabis. He is as responsible for these innocent people’s horrible experience as the SWAT team itself.

    2. Justin Amash maintains his small-l libertarian cred. He was 1 of 3 (!) to vote no.


    3. It will be overturned roughly immediately.

  10. Colorada should buy some real estate on Blueseed.

  11. So the mouth of sauron essentially said that if you’ve nothing to hide… Fuck the police.

    1. I read about the “increasing rates of disrespect” for LEO’s all the time on policeone.com. My question is “Why isn’t it increasing faster?” I mean, you’d think it’d at least be proportional to the increasing rate of quashed personal freedoms.

      1. Amen! This country is becoming a police state, and half of the reason they are is because of the “if you’ve nothing to hide” attitude that LEO has been forcing down our throats… Just because they have a badge does not make them a citizen with more rights than us!

        “Why’d you run?” “Because you have a gun and are chasing me!! Do I really need a better reason?”

      2. Yah but here’s the good news. There are only a few, relatively speaking, of these bullies. The people could kill off enough of them (through asymmetric warfare…think sniping, sabotage, IEDs, etc) so that the rest will quit their gang life and get a real job.

  12. The NFL rescheduled the opening game of the season so that it wouldn’t conflict with Obama’s speech at the DNC. Seriously, fuck you NFL.

    1. I am sure Obama’s DOJ could make things a bit hard on them. Nice league they have there. I am sure Obama would hate to have something bad happen to it.

      1. Like a SWAT raid? Imagine all the pain-killers in the med-staff storage!

        1. A good anti trust law suit.

      2. This has me legitimately pissed off at the league. It’s got me angrier than the kid gloves they’ve been treating QBs with.

        Look how ridiculous this is: It will be the first game on a Wednesday since 1948. The Giants (and whoever they play) will get 10 days off before their second game.

        They’re doing this for a fucking speech he’s giving at a private club in which he’s running unopposed.

      3. It would be terrible if it . . . Caught on Fire!

  13. Techdirt, a well-read news website made a rather surprising discovery recently. It turns out, both Techdirt and TorrentFreak were both the target of a DMCA takedown of their articles discussing, ironically enough, bogus takedown notices.


    1. The reason for the takedown isn’t entirely clear, but apparently, the alleged original work originated from TeamSkeet.


  14. “they’re doing a grow there”

    Nifty jargon.

  15. Good to hear the Gestapo is hard at work protecting us from plants.

  16. I don’t grow or smoke weed, but it makes me nervous that cops do this kind of stuff. I sleep with a loaded gun about 18 inches from my head, so I know my instinct from hearing my door break down would get me killed.

    1. Well now I’m sure your aim isn’t that bad.

    2. As long as you take one of them out on the way out! JK… It would be self-defense, and yet they would be able to kill us under the name of the “Law Enforcement” if we were to defend ourselves against someone taking out a weapon because they were doing a raid. No-knock raids should be reserved for the most notorious of offenders, yet the peaceable distribution of a plant is apparently a notorious event, oh wait they weren’t distributing…

  17. Congratulations Barbara Miller. You have proven that you’re not only a complete asshat, but that you can play one on TV. I have no idea how you can look yourself in the mirror every day.

  18. It’s not legal. State law does not trump federal law. States can pass all the law they want, but unless federal law changes it won’t really matter.

    1. State police. I’m sure the people of Colorado would be none too pleased to see their state taxes going to enforce laws they never voted for.

    2. The constitution trumps federal law.

      Also, the president claims to have instituted executive branch policies that would have precluded this.

    3. And how did prohibition (of the original alcohol type) get repealed? It started by localities disagreeing with what is plainly federal overreach. Its happening again! GO COLORADO, GO WASHINGTON… STOP THIS ATROCITY! VOTE YES TO ENDING PROHIBITION Jr.

  19. The war on drugs has been nothing but an Epic Fail.

  20. so its really going to be the government vs half the country plus most of two other countries. if all this turns into a war based on freedom being shattered i would not want to be on their side.

  21. yeah not allowing them in is dubious. don’t think of it as cops invading privacy for no reason think of it as having an unwanted house guessed that goes through all your stuff.

  22. If the TSA’s job is to protect us from terrorists, why the hell aren’t they taking down these DEA thugs?


  23. Wow, the game has changed with the announcement that Adobe is no longer supporting development for FLASH for mobile devices or TV?it is focusing on youtube html5 player and Adobe AIR apps instead?.the news got around the game development community quickly. I think the market penetration of mobile devices like the iPad, iPhone, and iTouch from Apple being a merket leader who doesn’t support FLASH made a true impression on developers whose clients pages were losing views by this audience. Comsider Apple’s leadership history introducing CD ROM’s fiirst in computers, dropping the beige look of computers, introucing the iMAc, iTunes, Quicktime, and Jobs support of Blu Ray at Disney helped set standards in many industries?

  24. lol “ensure comment has at most 900 characters (it has 2228)” hmm well not a whole lot of editing room there….. maybe i’ll keep my comment to myself for that very reason. man that was a good comment tho. it had charisma, good ideas, good articulation. well i guess, sh!t. that’s all i can say. if I have to edit it thats my comment. peace, and hopefully one day we will raid everybody who takes advil as well. that should take us deep into the next century as far as filling the prisons and stuff. tylenol…ehhh thats ok stuff, it causes liver problems. so we should pick on advil users next.

    1. DRINK!!!

  25. Here’s a news flash. The worst people are inclined towards careers where they have power and authority over others. Both politics and law enforcement are like magnets for sociopaths. The fact that there are decent politicians and LEOs doesn’t change that.

    1. Its a Clockwork Orange world!

  26. Lucy ably fills the Balko role.

    [doubles over in pain clutching groin]

  27. Please call all get your state to legalize and then we can attack the federal government on there lies and prohibition game

  28. you have 2ed amen that protect you , along with fences locks many doors if your going to grow you have to understand the police agency DEA act on the law the law is wrong however we all need to get the law over turn and the police and government being the same love prohibition the design is to cause employment . There attack is a type of culture attack they hate Marijuana J users , they love this war and can not stand freedom

  29. Dirty terrorists, I hope they all get aids or at least swine flu… pigs.

  30. Very good article welcome to my website
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  31. Armed people who break into the homes of citizens should be shot. If they survive they should be hung, stabbed, burned, and generally made into a pathetic example, hung from a lamppost, with a sign beneath their corpse identifying their crimes. “Here hangs a trespasser who entered a private home with the intention of violence”. Et cetera. If citizens ensured that agents of the government bore full personal responsibility for their actions, these kinds of crimes would stop immediately.
    The goal should be to kill and maim enough of the oppressors so that the rest lose their appetite for mayhem and instead go find honest real work providing a service or product that
    consumers want and are willing to voluntarily pay for.

  32. big terrorist,” said Ball…. “They came in here, drug me across the kitchen floor and handcu

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