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Massachusetts Police Stage Helicopter Raid On Elderly Woman Over One Lousy Pot Plant

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An 81-year-old woman named Margaret Holcomb was shocked after returning home a few weeks ago to find the cops had raided her Amherst, Massachusetts, residence. The contraband seized: A single marijuana plant she’d been growing behind her raspberry patch, separated by a fence from neighbors.

According to The Daily Hampshire Gazette, the Massachusetts National Guard and State Police staged a joint raid in which they used a helicopter and fancy thermal imaging technology to “weed” out anyone growing the plant illegally. Holcomb wasn’t there at the time, but her son Tim Holcomb was, and described it as a “pretty shocking” turn of events.

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From The Gazette:

Holcomb said he was at his mother’s home eating a late lunch with his sister when they heard whirring blades and looked up to see 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.

Within 10 minutes of the helicopter departing, several vehicles arrived at the home, including a pickup truck with a bed filled with marijuana plants seized at other locations, and several State Police troopers, including one who flashed his badge.

The police told Holcomb as long as he didn’t “escalate the situation” by asking for a warrant to enter his mom’s property, nobody would get in trouble, so he let them in. Then, the cops found the evil plant, ripped it out of the ground, and, satisfied they’d protected the good people of Massachusetts from a grandmother with health problems, drove off. Their haul for the day: 44 plants and countless taxpayer dollars. (Those military-grade helicopters are real gas guzzlers.) The police justified the seizures on the shaky grounds that the plants were in “plain view.”

Margaret Holcomb, who says she uses the ganja to ease her arthritis, glaucoma, and insomnia, told the paper she’s “not a huge social activist,” but is nevertheless miffed. Like most old people, she dreads the hassle of getting a permit for medical marijuana, and says if she can’t get the stuff any other way, she’ll probably just 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.”

This raid is a particularly absurd example of law enforcement’s hostile response to normalization of marijuana brought on by changing drug laws. Fortunately, it might not be going on for much longer, as Massachusetts is one of five states that may vote to legalize recreational marijuana on November 8.

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