Cannabis Grower Accuses Police of Lying and Destroying Evidence

Cannabis Grower Accuses Police of Lying

A Maryland-based cannabis grower has filed a lawsuit against Smithfield police, alleging that they fabricated a confidential source to justify an illegal search of his warehouse, and then destroyed some of the cannabis products they seized, which could have proven his compliance with the law.

The Raid and the Charges

The lawsuit stems from a 2017 incident, when Smithfield police searched a warehouse owned by Joseph Ricci, a registered medical cannabis patient and caregiver for two other patients. According to police reports, they seized 42 cannabis plants and more than a kilogram of bagged cannabis flower. They also filed drug charges against Ricci, accusing him of possession with intent to deliver and possession of 1 to 5 kilograms of marijuana.

However, Ricci claims that he was operating within the legal limits of Maryland’s medical cannabis program, which allows patients and caregivers to grow up to 15 plants each. He also says that the police lied about having a confidential source who tipped them off about his grow operation, and that they did not have a valid warrant to search his property.

The Civil Forfeiture and the Evidence Destruction

In addition to the criminal charges, which were later dropped, the state attorney general’s office moved to seize Ricci’s warehouse, arguing that it was used to violate state drug laws. Ricci has been fighting the civil forfeiture case in court, trying to prove that his cannabis products were legal and that the police violated his constitutional rights.

Cannabis Grower Accuses Police of Lying

However, in a recent twist, Ricci’s lawyer, Megan Sheehan, discovered that the police had destroyed some of the cannabis products they confiscated from Ricci’s warehouse, which could have been used as evidence in his favor. Sheehan says that the evidence destruction was intentional and intended to suppress the truth, and that it shows the bad faith of the police and the state.

The Lawsuit and the Implications

Ricci is now suing the Smithfield police, the state attorney general’s office, and several individual officers, seeking damages for the violation of his civil rights, the loss of his property, and the emotional distress he suffered. He is also asking the court to dismiss the civil forfeiture case and to return his warehouse and his cannabis products.

The lawsuit raises serious questions about the conduct of the police and the state in relation to cannabis growers and users, especially those who are registered patients and caregivers. It also highlights the potential for abuse and injustice in the civil forfeiture system, which allows the government to seize property without proving criminal guilt.

Cannabis is legal for adult use in Maryland, and the state’s legal market launched in 2023, generating over $700 million in sales. However, the case of Ricci shows that cannabis growers and users still face legal risks and challenges, and that the police and the state may not respect their rights and interests.

By Lily Evans

Lily Evans is a talented content writer at CBD Strains Only, bringing creativity and passion to her work in the CBD industry. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to delivering engaging content, Lily's articles aim to educate and inspire readers about the benefits of CBD. Through her in-depth research and informative writing style, Lily strives to provide valuable insights into the world of CBD and its potential for enhancing wellness.

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