81-year-old Margaret Holcomb’s home and land was raided by the Massachusetts National Guard and State Police, according the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
The crime? Growing a single marijuana plant. That’s right…1 plant.
The series of events that took place on September 21 left Holcomb without charges, but feelings that her constitutional rights had been violated.
“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,” Holcomb said in an article by The Boston Globe.
Holcomb’s plant grew in the back corner of her yard and says the plant was hidden by fence. “It was not in plain sight. “It was way back in the corner of the property in my raspberry bushes, she said in the report. “The mowers were here – everybody was here – and nobody knew [the plant was there].
The report also marked that Holcomb had been “growing this plant for years & it’s never caused problems with neighbors or police.”
Holcomb states that she was growing the plant to ease her arthritis, glaucoma and insomnia – all ailments brought on by old age.
Roughly around lunchtime on September 21, Margaret Holcomb’s son, Tim Holcomb, and her daughter heard low flying helicopters overhead. At the same time, two men were spotted on the property holding up a device, reports the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
The police groups entered the property and proceeded to cut the plant out of the ground. “[Tim] 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,” says the report.
Soon after the helicopter left the area, a truck arrived with a bed filled with marijuana plants from other locations. The raids were part of the Domestic Cannabis Eradication and Suppression Program, a “eradication operation” that is supported by a $60,000 US Department of Justice Grant, according to The Boston Globe.
Margaret Holcomb was not home at the time, nor does she possess a medical marijuana card. Medical Marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts in 2012. You can view the law’s guidelines here.
Holcomb says she didn’t possess a medical card “because of the challenges of getting a doctor’s approval,” and that “traveling to the dispensary in the next town over and paying for marijuana grown by someone else would be too costly,” states The Washington Post.
Recreational legalization is on the November ballot in Massachusetts.