National Guard and police in ‘military-style’ helicopter descend on 81-year-old’s home to seize one marijuana plant

Margaret Holcomb said she believed the raid had violated her civil rights 

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The Independent US

Margaret Holcomb made use of the single marijuana plant she grew in a raspberry patch in her garden to help ease her arthritis and glaucoma. It also helped her to sleep at night.

But the authorities in Massachusetts were not impressed. In a joint raid by the Massachusetts National Guard and State Police, which involved the use of a military-style helicopter, officers arrived at her home and seized the plant.

Ms Holcomb was not home at the time, but her son and daughter were, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette. It said that police said Ms Holcomb did not have a medical marijuana card and that the plant was growing in plain view.

Ms Holcomb told the newspaper she was “not a huge social activist” but was ready to stand up in this case as she feels like her civil rights were violated. If she is unable to get medical marijuana by other means, she said, she may grow another one.

“I’m prepard to take actions if I need to,” she said. “I don’t picture them out here and putting an 81-year-old woman in jail.”

Her son, Tim Holcomb said a number of properties in the area of South Amherst were raided by officers.

“It’s scary as hell,” he said. He said one officer arrived at their property and flashed his police badge.

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“He asked me if I knew there was a marijuana plant growing on the property. I didn’t answer the question. I asked, ‘What are you doing here'," Mr Holcomb said.

Mr 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.

“We just want the illegal contraband,” Mr Holcomb said the officer told him.

State police spokesman David Procopio said that State Police and National Guard enforcement occurred in the Amherst and Northampton area on September. He said the plant at Ms Holcomb’s home was one of 44 found on various properties outside and in plain view that day.

“At each location where property owners were home, troopers identified themselves and explained the purpose for the visit, why the plants were being grown illegally, and seized the plants,” he said.