Marijuana

81-Year-Old Woman's Single Marijuana Plant Seized in Raid by National Guard and State Police

Authorities want to play "War on Pot"-with helicopters and militarized raids-while they still can.

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Coming for the plant
Nachoman-au/Wikimedia Commons

The full legalization of recreational use of marijuana in Massachusetts could very well become a reality—if current polling holds up—when voters go to the polls next month. Medical marijuana is already legal in the Bay State, provided you've got one of those officially sanctioned cards from the state government.

But for the time being, personal cultivation of even a single marijuana plant without state permission is illegal, and Massachusetts state law enforcement put on a display of force last week to make sure nobody, not even an 81-year-old woman with glaucoma and arthritis, forgets it.

According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, on September 21, octogenarian grandma Margaret Holcomb found herself the subject of a joint raid by the National Guard and Massachusetts State Police. It started when her son Tim saw "a military-style helicopter circling the property, with two men crouching in an open door and holding a device that he suspects was a thermal imager to detect marijuana plants." A few minutes later, a number of law enforcement vehicles arrived and a state trooper demanded the "illegal contraband," warning that no charges would be filed if they gave up Ms. Holcomb's single marijuana plant peacefully and without demanding a search warrant.

Holcomb does not have a medical marijuana card, and told the Gazette if she is unable to procure one, she'll likely grow another plant.

The raid was one of at least six that took place on September 21, all without the knowledge or cooperation of local police authorities.

Attorney Michael Cutler, who works with clients who need legal counsel regarding medical marijuana, suspects the raids are partially motivated by authorities wanting to experience a few more moments of "action" in a specific theatre of the war on drugs that may soon be coming to a close. From the Gazette:

Cutler said it's likely that authorities are using budgeted funds, prior to the end of the federal fiscal year Saturday, to gas up helicopters and do flyovers.

"We're seeing the last throes of police hostility to the changing laws," Cutler said. "They're taking the position that if it's in plain view, it's somehow illegal."

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65 responses to “81-Year-Old Woman's Single Marijuana Plant Seized in Raid by National Guard and State Police

  1. Worth every penny spent.

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  3. “We’re seeing the last throes of police hostility to the changing laws,” Cutler said.

    Those laws are too useful of tools for police in enforcing the law for them to be given up without a fight!

  4. a thermal imager to detect marijuana plants.

    A what?

    1. “Sniffer” according to Scalia.

    2. Where are we going to get cool new tech like this when drugs are legal?

      1. A lot of hidden opposition to legalization comes from companies who provide services to LE organizations, like those thermal imagers. They still have the Phillipines, though.

    3. An ultraviolet light detector?

    4. Apparently those plants have a very distinctive color and there is specialized cop equipment that can detect even a single mj plant surrounded by other foliage. I’m somewhat skeptical about that since cops routinely lie about shit, and have a history of buying into bogus technologies.

      1. Sounds like hyperspectral imaging. It can tell the difference between lots of things that look the same to our 3-color vision. I’m not sure about marijuana, though.

    5. Thermal imagers are used to find indoor grow operations. They wouldn’t show an outdoor grow (like she had). They were probably running a thermal imager, but how they spotted a single pot plant, I have no idea.

      Not sure they needed a warrant, under our current pitiful state of due process jurisprudence.

      And, of course, the use of military resources to conduct police operations is illegal in this country (although I vaguely recall some leniency for the National Guard on this issue). Not that anyone cares any more when the government breaks the law.

      1. Color, RC, at least according to the literature I’ve read. And not just the National Guards, but Civil Air Patrol, which is a USAF auxiliary.

        1. And remember that it doesn’t count as conducting police operations if you’re just flying around taking pictures (or whatever).

      2. We are talking almost 30 years now that the US military has been used to attack a plant.

        You have to remember it is a war on “drugs” not “citizens” however like all terrorists “drugs” hide among citizens. And like the citizens of Iraq our citizen will also be collateral damage

        go look up “Operation Green Sweep” federal Judge allows the US Army to use all the weapons of war to conduct a search and seizure for marijuana that encompassed all of Humbolt county. The Army was not operating under the command of any law enforcement agency they were being directed by the Bureau of Land Management.

        The BLM was conducting war operations against a plant on US soil where regular citizens just happened to be collateral damage. But what we need is more Government agencies with bigger budgets and loads of guns because after all the spirit is that every agency by virtue og being the Government are law enforcement and as such must have the power to use leathal force if poeple do not comply.

    6. Unfortunately tomato plants and other plans look the same to thermal imagers, but that never stopped anyone

    7. It is on the shelf, right next to the phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range.

  5. Sounds like the old bitch had it coming and I hope all the brave officers were unharmed. We can’t have people growing plants without government approval you know.

    1. They even offered not to tase her on the spot. All she had to do was agree to forego a constitutional right.

  6. I have a friend in Mass. who does some work for a nice old lady with sheep and chickens and a few pot plants.

    For a second I was expecting to see her name in this story.

    1. Don’t worry, she’ll be getting a visit soon now that you’ve spilled the beans. I imagine that Mass po-po are furiously cross-referencing databases for old women with sheep and chickens.

  7. Nooooooooo! Not my Gam Gam! That plant was her xmas present to me. *has sad

  8. A few minutes later, a number of law enforcement vehicles arrived and a state trooper demanded the “illegal contraband,” warning that no charges would be filed if they gave up Ms. Holcomb’s single marijuana plant peacefully and without demanding a search warrant.

    That’s an abortion of a sentence, Fisher. The demand for the contraband in exchange for no charges is more of a promise (though not a believable one) or an offer rather than a warning. Would read better as “a state trooper promised that no charges would be filed if the Holcombs surrendered the contraband.” It took me a couple of re-reads to figure out that the “without demanding a search warrant” was one of the conditions of the offer, not a statement that nobody demanded a warrant.

    1. The original looks fine to me, but I went to public school.

      1. It’s a lot of information for a single sentence and the search warrant business was really confusing until about the third read.

        1. Made sense to me, but then I’m used to parsing inter-toobz comments.

      2. “Warning” was a poor word choice. Otherwise, it’s fine. But might have been better as 2 sentences.

  9. “They’re taking the position that if it’s in plain view, it’s somehow illegal.”

    They circled with helicopters and thermal imaging, so I’m guessing it wasn’t even in plain view.

    1. “Plain view” = detectable in any way by the latest DARPA tech or to Superman.

      The only place you have an expectation of privacy is in your lead-lined walk-in freezer in your cellar.

      1. “Citizen, why do you have a space that our cop technology can’t penetrate? The innocent have nothing to hide.”

  10. Heroes.

    I hope the chopper was blasting “Ride of the Valkyries” as the troopers descended on the house.

    1. “I love the smell of tazed old ladies in the morning. Smells like… victory.”

  11. “”We’re seeing the last throes of police hostility to the changing laws,” Cutler said. “They’re taking the position that if it’s in plain view, it’s somehow illegal.”

    I don’t follow. If not in plain view it is legal? It is legal but you cant let people see it? What is the law currently?

    I cant wait for the stories about cops busting people for MJ even after it is legal, a la the sheriff in Gonzales, La: “I don’t care what the law says, I’m not gonna have people walking around my town with guns.”

  12. They didn’t shoot her? I’m impressed.

      1. Even more impressed!

        /that was my sarc point but I can see how it could be taken literally.

  13. Two things:

    1. Good! She’s old and who gives a fuck about old people.
    2. Good! She’s from Amherst and fuck those people.

  14. That’s an abortion of a sentence, Fisher.

    He borrowed Doherty’s stylebook.

    1. Have you read Radicals for Capitalism? Almost 600 pages, 8 sentences.

  15. It started when her son Tim saw “a military-style helicopter circling the property, with two men crouching in an open door and holding a device that he suspects was a thermal imager to detect marijuana plants.”
    Help me out here; I did not see a few things in the story.
    How old is good ol’ Tim? How high was the copter? How high was Tim? How would he know a thermal imager if he saw one? Would he know an M60 if he saw one? (Good thing granny didn’t have time to get to her stinger)

  16. Nothing to cut

  17. Revolution now!
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  18. I, for one, am glad that they arrested this assault plant before it could force itself into an innocent person’s mouth and set itself on fire.

    1. Yep, that’s good cause, if someone smokes a drug they commit other crimes like murder, rape, and questioning authority. The plant needs to be illegal so people don’t break other laws.

  19. There is something incredibly disturbing about the National Guard being used for State and Federal policing. WTF/

  20. The tragedy of the war on drugs falls on the democrat socialists and their twisted interpretation of the US Constitution.

    No democrat socialists, I will NOT hold my nose and waste my vote on Hillary Clinton, who is a bigger war monger than Dick Cheney, whose hero is Henry Kissinger, and in addition, supports the racist and un Constitutional war on drugs.

    No democrat socialists, I will NOT hold my nose and waste my vote on the racist war monger and foe of individual liberty, Hillary Clinton!!!

    1. condemning a democratic socialist war monger by comparing her to republican conservative war monger…

      are you going to hold your nose and vote for Trump?

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  23. i love the, “if you make us do paperwork and/or our jobs, we’ll have to arrest you”…as if they went thru all that trouble and weren’t going to arrest them anyway.

  24. The Massachusetts State Police dress like they’re going to invade Poland.

    You can’t wear a uniform like that and not want to kick down some doors.

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  27. The local talk radio on Cape Cod just did about a half hour on this. Even the oh-so-conservative host sounded pretty ticked off about situation, almost made me think he was a closet libertarian.

  28. Oh for Christ sake…

  29. are military style helicopters like military guns? Using a helicopter for one plant is overkill but unless it was an actual gun ship from a Rambo movie I see no need for the comparison

  30. Was it a nosey rat bastard neighbor, meter reader or some other cocksucker who felt compelled to make a call to the Staties. Nice reminder that anyone coming on your property may turn on you. See Something, Say Something has no bounds. I have evolved and determined it is time to spare mice from experimentation and use human lab rats instead. Is it possible to get utility companies to sign non-disclosure agreements?

    No Tresspassing, mother fucker. Put your utility meter as close to the road as you can to keep scumbags away unless of course you have nothing to hide. I better hear crickets on that one.

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