Police Steal Money from Elderly Medical Marijuana Patients

It is not at all uncommon for the war on drugs to target the very last people among us who ought to be treated as criminals:

For example, the 90-year-old couple, Lester ("Smitty") and Mary Smith--who were raided at their Philo home last week (9.24.08) with law enforcement seizing their life savings and all their plants in the process--are qualified patients with doctors' approvals and did nothing wrong.

Smitty said, "I wasn't worried a bit. I knew it was legal. I planted six plants two years in a row and this year, I planted 17 for me and Mary. That's not too many is it? My wife is very ill, confined to a wheelchair or recliner. She likes the bud tea. She has severe arthritis. It makes it easier for her to get around. She walks easier; she can walk to the bathroom even by herself."

Smitty has health issues too. "I have heart problems, blood clots, stomach cramps, emphysema, bad hips. I've had a heart attack. I sometimes get strong chest pains and can't breathe right. I take nitroglycerine. That brings me back. My doctors want me to take more x-rays here locally but that would be a big expense. Usually, I go to the Veterans Hospital and they pay for it."

Mary Smith was forced to stay in the house by herself during the 5-hour raid while additional warrants for an adjoining parcel were telephoned in and delivered, allowing sheriff's deputies to enter all the residences.

The elderly Smiths were not arrested or charged with a crime, because there was none. Sheriff's deputies were apparently more interested in robbery than arrest (excuse my french). They seized the two things that mattered most to the ill couple--their medicine, all 17 plants, leaving nothing--and their life savings, $52,000 from Mary Smith's inheritance and $29,000 in cashed in CDs.

"As soon as the bail-out hit, I cashed in my CDs and put the money in a safe in my house. I did not sell pot to get it. But turns out my money was not safe. They stormed in here and turned our world upside down. I thought I was legal." [IndyBay]

This is the real war on drugs. It’s not some magic formula that only screws over bad people. The drug war proliferates injustice everywhere it goes.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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fuck the police

that's plain bullshit...I'm tired of hearing these sad stories from people who legitmately need marijuana to help ease their pain and all the law enforcement is doing is causing more pain to harmless citizens...when does it end

Incredible

This is one of the most horrible offenses against a sick elderly couple that I've ever heard. Please keep us posted on how this develops. If this gentleman has access to a VA hospital, then he likely was in WWII considering his age. It is absolutely unconscionable that the police would seize this hero's medicine and hard-earned life savings! America needs to grow up, and we need to defend the rights of these two Americans from -- as Tom Brokaw says -- the "greatest generation." Come on you true Americans -- it's time we take a stand!

Extremely annoyed,

Sara

How?

If they weren't charged with a crime, how did they justify seizing anything? They can't say he got the cash from selling pot if they don't charge him with selling pot, right? Don't they usually at least go to the trouble of making up some charges?

what they can and do do

Hi,
my case isn't THAT different... I'm just a little younger (50s)... I was raided while cooking dinner... they got 6 plants... I admited all along they were mine and for my medical use... they didn't arrest me... they DID take my lifelong gun collection (those 100 year old target rifles are dangerous).

they brought back an inventory of what they stole, er ah "seized" the next day... I was not arrested... they gave me a date for the grand jury and they said if they were going to do anything I'd find out then.

that date came and went.

I took a trip to europe.

came back...

nothing....

a YEAR after the raid I take another trip... this time to Jamaica to get married, wife, mother (86 years old), 2 kids, brother and sister in law, whole family like... coming back I get arrested for being a "fugitive without warrant"... nobody has really been able to explain that but after holding me for 3 days in Memphis bail was set at 35,000$.... this so I could get out, see a lawyer, and turn myself in in Mississippi (10 miles away)... where bail was set at 500$.

2 years after the raid, a year after the arrest, well they really don't want to prosecute me, I -am- after all legitimately disabled and legitimately using it for pain... but instead of dropping it (I could sue them) they're continuing it until 7 years has passed and the statute of limitations has run out...

they call this "deferred adjudication"... in the end I won't have a conviction and I don't even have to see a probation officer.

they just don't want me to sue them.

So why don't you sue them?

If you are a legal patient, why do you let them put you through this? Make an example out of those assholes and earn some law suit money.

Sue, how?

Costs time and money. And the good 'ole boys ,that call themselves lawyers, think they may get a bad rep with the good' ole boys who call themselves cops.Who does the "warondrugs" work best for?...good 'ole boys. 6 plants,17 plants, what a waste of time...unless there's stuff to steal. These punkscum ,that call themselves" sheriffs",...where's RobinHood and his good 'ole boys ?

lawyers hate cops

lawyers are your friends. (they do cost thousands of dollars, though)

There are lawyers who take

There are lawyers who take cases on a contingency basis. I'd never file a case like the above if the lawyer wouldn't take a cut on the back end. The ACLU might be willing to help as well.

Mainstream media dropping the ball on coverage of this story

In this story, you have all the elements that expose the war on medical marijuana as corrupt, wasteful and extremely harmful to those who desparately need it. So why hasn't it been picked up by the national media? The only reason the story of the Mayor who's dogs were shot was picked up was the fact that he was a prominent person in the community and that he was willing to hold a press conference denouncing the raids. When the victims of medical marijuana and SWAT raids are regular joes, the media doesn't appear interested in reporting the context of these raids, only the bare facts.

Could it be that the seizure of cash in these cases, no matter how aggregous is so common the media doens't consider it newsworthy? I can't think of a more sympathethic couple than Mr. & Mrs Smith. The facts of this case stand out as violations of the fourth amendment but I don't see the ACLU getting involved or any other group helping the Smiths navigate through the legal matters involved here. So the media isn't the one dropping the ball on this case.

Part of the reason for this lack of coverage is laziness on the part of the media. However, they also answer to their advertisers who profit from the drug war; such as the Pharmacutical and Beer industries. These powerful and influencial advertisers oppose any stories that might put medical marijuana in a sympathetic light since they consider marijuana as competition to their products. Also the more negatives stories about illegal drugs turns down the spotlight on the harm caused by perscription drugs and alcohol. That's why these groups have been some of the biggest donors to the Partnership for a Drug Free America. The broadcasters do their part by keeping reformers of our drug policy off the air, while constantly giving time to the Drug Czar's office without an opposing point of view. This is a huge problem for the reform movement and the media's lack of interest of the issue will only change as the public perception slowly becomes more intolerant of waging a war on drugs and all harm it creates to its citizens.

plus,

the media outlets have reputations to consider. if they report one story, they have to report them all; and they don't want to be seen as the tv station or the newspaper that's always crying about medical marijuana.

talk about suining all you want

wont do a bit of good .violence is the only things these state sponserd terriosts understand .each state should develope a high speed resonse team made up of world war two vets and vietnam viets .to move in and nutralize this threat to our elderly citzens .every city and town should install a place to hang these crimnals bodys to rot in the sun .they must learn murdering and robbing our elderly folks will not be tolerated .and they will pay .wtf

we fought the Nazis one time before and won

why are we allowing this set of Nazis to terrorize murder and rob our elderly .time to pick up your rifles boys .us over 60 got nothing to lose and every thing to gain-these task forces and swat teams are nothing but juvenile gangs preying on the elderly .

im with the two old fellas above

just a few well placed rounds and these roaches will scurry back to the sewers they came out of god damm these bastards i got a right to treat my illnesses any way i choose i earned that right i Vietnam .use my taxes to arm punks to kill me fuck you .

STOP ELECTING COWARDS

OUR elected officials, especially the Governors -- like steroid-coward-man Ahnold -- should be protecting their most vulnerable constituents from these most egregious attacks on their state law and on THE 10TH AMENDMENT OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION.

Instead, all rights have been immediately suspended, because Ahnold and CA are hungry and need $$, sorry guys.

Not only are these "raids" BARBARIC, they are UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

i'm "clicking my heels in series of threes" but nothing's happening...terrorizing frail 90-year olds is "unconscionable."

IT'S ALARMING THE MEDIA IS NOT COVERING THIS!

And it's going to get worse.

The other story posted on this site about a terror/drug war "link" is an ominous sign that drug law reformers and Constitution-supporting Americans should take note of. I fully agree that the concern for fund diversion is there, but it's MUCH WORSE than that.

Following is the original or a related story link:

http://hstoday.us/content/view/5551/149/
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle_blog/2008/oct/09/if_terrorists_and_d...

Note the dissenting opinions from others in the article. Not that anyone that matters will consider them. Those in power do pretty much whatever they want in this area. Many "reps" in Washington will listen wide-eyed and gladly sign on to anything if someone, no matter how biased, says it's "anti-terrorist.

The head of the National Narcotics Association proclaimed at this years gaggle that supporters of marijuana reform were supporting/were domestic terrorists. Look at how the Maryland State Police justified spying on anti-war and anti-death penalty reformers:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/07/AR200810...

Back to my main point......

Right now the ONLY justified link, which disregards pharmaceutical opiate purchases, between ANY drug and terrorism is the opium/heroin taliban link. Never mind there that WE paid the taliban 42 million a few months before 911. Reckon how much of that money helped finance what happened?

Our concern should be over what further rights are taken from us when any reformers, who by wishing to reform laws that "stop terrorists" can be said to be "helping them". The Patriot Act and other anti-terror/drug war laws can then be used against ANY Americans suspected of being involved with ANY drug since "they all support terrorism". No more warrants to eavesdrop on cell phones or tap landline phones. No more due process period. The same actions taken now against REAL terrorists can be used against any of US. I think we all should be very concerned about this.

I don't use illegal drugs, but that won't matter. Just wanting to reform laws and move from criminal to medical drug policies will be enough for "them".

BTW - look up the definition of terrorist and see whether we or those malicious, merciless, drug war mercenaries better fit the definition. Even really sick and elderly people ( and pets ) mean NOTHING to them.

who you going to call when you need help

well certainly not the police .how did it come to this modern drug police have become the crimnals they were hired to protect us from .i sorta feel sorry for them im sure most started out with the best intentions thinking they could help people only to end up being the most hated and despised crimnals on the planet

I'll bet you $81,000 the

I'll bet you $81,000 the cops knew about the money before hand. Any time you withdraw that much cash, the bank is required to report it under the Patriot Act. Considering the level of cooperation between federal/state/local cops, if they were registered as medical marijuana patients, the money was probably just screaming out, "come steal me!"

help! what the hell happened?

this is hitler/bush mind thought and action. was there a warrant issued? if so, on what probable cause. this is all against the constitution, the 4th amendment. good god, how do we stop it?

90yo Couple robbed!

This robbery disgusts me. In my opinion it should have been called in and treated like any other robbery. *911 Call* "We would like to report a "Home Invasion" Several men armed with large caliber pistols and wearing dark blue suits/uniforms, broke into our house and stole *medication* and $75K!!!! The get-away cars were black and white 4 door sedans." If I had my way these...common...no, make that.... This exceptionally skilled home invasion crew (they are nothing more at this point, they have forfeited all law enforcement status the minute they resorted to armed robbery)....They would lose all pensions, homes, and other assets (We call that CIVIL Forfeiture) be locked up in prison and forced to stay there until they payed back they $75K, working at prison pay rates. Plus double, no, triple the amount for the pain, suffering, and humiliation this poor couple endured at the hands of these CRIMINALS!

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