New Mexico medical marijuana user Toni Armijo has been reimbursed for a crop that Albuquerque police destroyed in August of 2010. During a routing call to check on her well being, friends were worried about her mental state, the police entered her home to check if she was there. This is when things go south.
Armijo was not in her home that night, but her medical cannabis crop that she had a doctor recommendation to grow was. Due to the fact that they had entered an empty residence officers were unable to verify that she was an authorized patient. The officers on the call proceeded to rip up her garden. Armijo spoke bout her arrival back to the home,
“Everything was gone. There was dirt strewn here, all the way across my kitchen…It was complete destruction.”
A few hours later she called the police and verified her status as a patient, when the police returned her marijuana it was in paper bags destroyed. The city later handed over $3100 dollars to compensate Armijo for her lost crop. She is still stressed about the situation,
“Even though I’m not a lawyer, I feel like they trampled all over my rights,”
Obviously the police are claiming they didn’t need a warrant,
Police admit that they didn’t have a warrant, but Target 7 research shows they might not have needed one. The Plain View Doctrine states that officers might have the right to confiscate something concerning if it is in plain sight of police.
I think the biggest problem here is the fact the crop was destroyed before its legal status was checked. These police need to see that medical cannabis patients who grow their own medicine invest a lot into being able to provide for themselves. I’m just not sure three grand out of the city coffers is going to send police a message. However it is important that New Mexico’s largest population center is attempting to make things right, despite backing the police officers actions.