While measures to legalize, or at least decriminalize, the use of marijuana are spreading all over the country, we should look at the heavy toll that the war on drugs, and marijuana specifically, is taking on everyone. Because so many people think marijuana is safe to use and do so recreationally, it leads to repeated police-public confrontations by over-zealous police, who can use the excuse that they smelled something to launch highly intrusive searches.
Take this case of 21-year old Charnesia Corley of Texas.
According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the deputy pulled Corley over for allegedly running a stop sign. A spokesperson for HCSO says the deputy then asked Corley to step out of her vehicle upon smelling what he believed to be marijuana. Corley was handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car. No marijuana, however, was located in a search of her vehicle.
So did it end there? Unfortunately, no. You won’t believe what the police then did to her, all in an effort to unearth just 0.02 ounces of marijuana.
Then there were the Michigan police who raided her home and confiscated all manner of belongings of Ginnifer Hency following the discovery of six ounces in her backpack in a medical marijuana clinic where she worked as a caregiver. This was well-within the 15-ounce limit allowed her under the state’s medical marijuana law because she has multiple sclerosis and is also authorized to deliver to other patients.
Last May, Ginnifer Hency, a Michigan medical marijuana patient and caregiver, told state legislators about the July 2014 raid in which cops from the St. Clair County Drug Task Force came to her house and “took everything,” including a car, TV sets, ladders, her children’s cellphones and iPads, and even her vibrator. A marijuana charge against Hency was dismissed because she was complying with state law. But prosecutors were still seeking to keep her family’s property through civil forfeiture. Last Wednesday, when prosecutors were expected to argue at a hearing before Circuit Judge Michael West that the marijuana charge should be reinstated, Hency learned that they had instead decided to drop the case. They also told her the seized property would be returned.
As I have said repeatedly, so many of these laws are used to harass people and deprive them of their property and leaves the public enraged. Fortunately in these two cases, there was no injury or death though it must have been deeply traumatic for the women involved. If the victim of such police actions had happened to be an easily angered young man, this could have easily ended up in death.