In a gross display of wasted taxpayer dollars, dozens of Massachusetts National Guard personnel, operating under a grant from the DEA, alongside Massachusetts State Police, descended into the backyard of an 81-year-old cancer patient in a raid last week — to protect society from the dangers of his four marijuana plants.
Paul Jackson, 81, of Martha’s Vineyard, grows cannabis to make medicine. His plants, along with several other plants, became the target of law enforcement last week in a crackdown on hardened criminals who’d dare to grow a plant that helps them.
Jackson was in his backyard last Tuesday when plainclothes men and a helicopter descended on his property. With no warrant, and without showing identification, these heroes ripped Jackson’s plants from the ground.
“They just come charging through and start cutting it down,” Jackson said in an interview with the MV Times.
According to the MV Times, Mr. Jackson, a lifelong Islander and renowned organic gardener with over 300 ribbons from the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair, expressed both bewilderment and disgust when he spoke to The Times on Friday.
“I told them they don’t know what they’re doing, they’re destroying it and it could be used for good purposes,” he said. “I know because I went through it before. You wrote about it in The Times. I had the article framed, took it out to show them; I said, ‘This is proof of what it does,’ but they didn’t want to hear it.”
As the Times reports, Mr. Jackson was referring to a February 2013 article,” Love, life, and death: A Martha’s Vineyard marijuana story,” in which he described how cannabis tea had helped Mary, his wife of 53 years, through the pain of pancreatic cancer and the ravages of chemotherapy. Mr. Jackson said they forsook the morphine prescribed by her doctors, and substituted cannabis tea for pain management.
“I never ever saw pain in her face,” he said. “She was eating and happy, right up until she died. You had to see it to believe it. People don’t understand it. It’s a beautiful plant and it works beautifully.”
For years, Jackson has been growing this beneficial plant to help his wife, himself, and other friends in the area.
“There’s another fellow I’ve given it to, his wife has cancer bad,” he said. “They mix it with her food and it’s really helping her. Another fellow had a tube down his stomach and his wife would pour [tea] down his tube for the pain. And it worked. At least there’s no damn pain in it. I gave another guy some, he was taking seven different pills a day. I talked to him a month later and he said he’d gotten rid of three of those pills. It works on all kinds of different things.”
However, these poor people will now suffer thanks to the public service provided by the government in their attempts to stamp out this miraculous plant.
While medical marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, to a certain extent, Jackson says he grows his own because it’s far healthier.
“The people that are selling it are using chemicals that react with the chemotherapy,” he said. “Mine is much better because it’s organically grown. I saw it with my own eyes, I couldn’t believe how well it worked.”
In the interview, Jackson noted that he doesn’t smoke the plant and will continue to consume it, in spite of the immoral laws that prohibit it.
“I don’t like smoke and I don’t like dust,” he said. “We just make tea out of it. But if I need to make the tea, I’ve got it. I don’t sell it. I will continue to have a certain amount in case somebody close to me needs it.”
When word began to spread about this embarrassing action to eradicate a beneficial plant, spokesmen from the agencies involved in the raid began denying they had a hand in it.
After their heroic mission to rid Martha’s Vineyard of cannabis, Colonel James Sahady, Public Affairs Officer for the Massachusetts National Guard, said in an email to the Times, “The order was initiated by the DEA and Massachusetts State Police as part of pre-planned eradication missions throughout the year.”
However, Sahady later issued another statement claiming that the DEA was not involved.
On top of the National Guard’s flip-flop, the Times reports:
On Tuesday, two Massachusetts State Police spokesmen checked into the matter and said there was no evidence of State Police involvement. “It was not us,” Officer Tom Ryan told The Times.
In a follow up email received on Thursday, State Police spokesman David Procopio said the operation was initiated by the State Police. “We routinely request the assistance of the National Guard in these operations,” Mr. Procopio said in an email to The Times. “Our Narcotics Inspection Section conducts these operations regularly across the state. We utilize a trained spotter in a helicopter to search for marijuana grow sites. Once one is located, the spotter directs ground units to the plants, which are confiscated and taken by State Police for eventual destruction. These seizures occasionally result in criminal prosecutions, but many times do not, if the plants are seized from rural or wooded areas that can be accessed by many people (as opposed to just growing in some homeowner’s backyard).”
Mr. Procopio said State Police seized 392 plants, “which are slated for destruction as part of our next narcotics burn.”
Although the helicopter was parked at Martha’s Vineyard Airport last Tuesday night, there are no records of landing fees or fuel purchases paid by a government agency, according to airport manager Ann Crook.
“The idea we’re so frivolously spending money on marijuana interdiction, especially now when it’s about to be rolled back, is extremely frustrating. How many books or school lunches could have been bought instead of having these plants ripped up?” Bill Downing, spokesman for MassCan/NORML said to the Times.
Downing’s sentiment is a very real concern as the war on drugs has spent upwards of a trillion taxpayer dollars since its inception. Every one of those dollars spent ruining the lives of otherwise entirely innocent people.
At any one time, 59,300 prisoners charged with or convicted of violating marijuana laws are behind bars. Of those, 17,000 are behind bars for possession ONLY, not trafficking.
Enforcing marijuana laws costs an estimated $10-15 billion in direct costs alone — not to mention the sustained costs of incarceration of the individual who has done nothing to harm anyone. It is estimated that the money spent enforcing useless marijuana laws is double what we spend on education in this country.
Countless lives are ruined every year as the state locks people away or worse, for possessing a plant. The time is now to end this violent ridiculousness before another innocent life is ruined or taken in the name of controlling what people can put in their own bodies.