While police tolerance of cannabis has thankfully been lessened thanks to recreational and medical legalization changes in a number of states, every so often, a story will rear its ugly head that will make even the most vehement anti-cannabis campaigner squirm uncomfortably…and this is one of those stories.
81-year-old Margaret Holcomb, who suffers from a wealth of ailments due to her old age, including glaucoma and arthritis, had considered getting a medical marijuana card but wasn’t sure how to approach the subject with her doctor. Acting on her own, Margaret decided to grow a single cannabis plant in her garden, tucked neatly away behind her raspberries, in the hope that it would help her deal with the considerable pain of her ailments.
On September 21st this year, an armed team of State Police and National Guard troops were sent to raid Margaret’s house, along with a helicopter and a handful of road vehicles. They retrieved the solitary plant from the garden and left, leaving Margaret shaken and without her medicine.
This raid was one of a number sanctioned by the bizarrely named “Cannabis Eradication Program”,a section of the DEA which gives state authorities financial backing to find, uproot and destroy cannabis plants. In 2015, this program oversaw the destruction of 3,138 plants in Massachusetts alone, the same state where Margaret Holcomb was subject to a raid.
To compound matters further, it has been revealed that the “Cannabis Eradication Program” costs around $18 million per year and that a “significant” number of the plants that are destroyed are naturally growing, with no personal use associations.
Margaret Holcomb has yet to speak to the media on the matter, but Jim Borghesani, a member of the group Yes on 4, which advocates for cannabis legalization in Massachusetts, told the press his opinion on the matter;
“This raid, and similar raids in recent weeks, exposes the rank falsity of prohibitionist claims that law enforcement resources aren’t being used on marijuana enforcement. It’s difficult to say what’s worse: the waste of taxpayer dollars or the violation of an elderly woman’s peace.”