Most sane people – even a significant percentage of law enforcement authorities – now freely admit that the War on Drugs has been a complete and utter failure.
It’s been a costly war, both in financial and human terms. Millions of Americans are serving time in prison for minor non-violent drug offenses, while billions of dollars are still being wasted in a futile effort to stop drug use in our nation – an effort which many believe is more about preserving big budgets for law enforcement agencies than anything else.
An unknown number of completely innocent citizens have been the victims of false positive results of drug-testing kits routinely used by law enforcement authorities. These kits have been shown to produce up to 70 percent false positive results for marijuana and other drugs.
Drinking tea and visiting gardening stores warrants SWAT team raids?
In an almost unbelievably unfair recent case, a Kansas couple was denied justice by a federal judge after being the victims of a SWAT raid on their home in which authorities falsely suspected them of growing marijuana.
The bizarre series of events began when Robert Harte and his son visited a garden supply store where they purchased hydroponic equipment to be used for a tomato-growing science project for the boy’s school.
From The Washington Post:
“A state trooper had been positioned in the store parking lot to collect the license plate numbers of customers, compile them into a spreadsheet, then send the spreadsheets to local sheriff’s departments for further investigation. Yes, merely shopping at a gardening store could make you the target of a criminal drug investigation.
“More than half a year later, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department began investigating the Hartes as part of ‘Operation Constant Gardener,’ basically a PR stunt in which the agency conducts multiple pot raids on April 20, or ‘4/20.’ On several occasions, the Sheriff’s Department sent deputies out to sort through the family’s garbage. (The police don’t need a warrant to sift through your trash.) The deputies repeatedly found ‘saturated plant material’ that they thought could possibly be marijuana. On two occasions, a drug testing field kit inexplicably indicated the presence of THC, the active drug in marijuana. It was on the basis of those tests and Harte’s patronage of a gardening store that the police obtained the warrant for the SWAT raid.”
The ‘saturated plant material’ turned out to be tea.
Is this justice?
After the Hartes were cleared of any wrongdoing, they spent $25,000 in lawyer’s fees to find out why they were targeted in the first place. Once they learned what had really happened, they filed a lawsuit.
But in late December 2015, U.S. District Court Judge John W. Lungstrum threw out all of the Harte’s claims.
The judge ruled that the SWAT team raid was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment, even though it was based on the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence.
He further ruled that the police had probable cause and that they did not use excessive force – even though the family was held at gunpoint for more than two hours while their home was searched.
The judge said that the Hartes had not been defamed and that the police were under no obligation to know that the test kits were faulty.
The Hartes say that they will probably appeal, but it’s clear that at least in Kansas, law enforcement officials and the federal district courts are still aggressively fighting the War on Drugs – no matter whether justice is being served or not.
It’s time we throw out these faulty drug testing kits, at the very least. The best course of action would be to completely legalize marijuana, decriminalize all other drugs, and begin treating drug dependency as a health issue – instead of continuing to support the prison industry, corrupt law enforcement agencies and the ridiculous and futile War on Drugs.
Enough is enough. …