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Another community has been saved from the dangers of old people with cannabis. Massachusetts spared no expense to eradicate 4 marijuana plants last week. The 81-year-old medical cannabis user, Paul Jackson had National Guard, State Troopers, DEA agents, and a helicopter swoop down on his illegal healing operation. Thank goodness for the government protecting us from octogenarians.

Is anyone buying that drivel?

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I didn’t think so. The question is why Massachusetts law enforcement personnel were dumb enough to think that Paul Jackson’s meager grow warranted such lavish attention. Without a warrant or even identification, they trespassed on his property, ambushed him in his back yard, and uprooted his garden. Was stealing an old man’s medicine worth thousands of dollars of taxpayer money? You be the judge.

They just come charging through and start cutting it down.

Jackson spoke with MV Times after the traumatic invasion. But he wasn’t the only victim. Martha’s Vineyard saw a coordinated strike from the National Guard, in coordination with mainland State Police under a grant from the DEA that seized 392 plants located with helicopter surveillance.

Is Paul Jackson a hardened criminal?

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Paul Jackson is a lifelong Islander and accomplished gardener. With over 300 ribbons to his name from the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair, he no doubt knows his plants. And he has used cannabis for medicine for a long, long time.

I told them they don’t know what they’re doing, they’re destroying it and it could be used for good purposes. 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.

Jackson referred the intruders to a February 2013 article, “Love, life, and death: A Martha’s Vineyard marijuana story”. In it, he told how he treated his late wife of 53 years, Mary, with cannabis. She suffered from pancreatic cancer and underwent chemotherapy. Doctors tried to prescribe morphine for the pain, but Jackson had a safer alternative.

I never ever saw pain in her face. 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.

A good Samaritan

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Paul Jackson has shared his healing herb with others over the years who have serious conditions. He uses it himself regularly.

I keep this because I’ve had cancer in both ears, and I never know when I may need it. I grow a certain amount and I keep it… [and I] found a way to store it for seven years.

Mass and grass

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Massachusetts has allowed patients to grow their own cannabis since January 1st, 2013. Patients may grow a 60-day supply, up to 10 ounces, or the equivalent in other forms, like tinctures, oils, or edibles. The law also does not specify a maximum number of plants. It does, however, require “cultivation and storage only in an enclosed, locked facility.”

That means expensive lighting, equipment, and energy costs. For a gardener with small needs and an organic green thumb, the sun seemed an easier alternative.

Bill Downing, spokesman for MassCan/NORML says the expensive operation was ridiculous.

I had not heard about it happening in Massachusetts this summer, but I’m not that surprised. 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?

Officials with confused stories

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So whose idea was this raid? The story keeps changing. The Times reported:

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.

Was it worth it to deny an old man his medicine, especially in a state where he should be able to legally grow his own? Tell us on social media or in the comments below.

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