Georgia Police Conduct Spectacularly Failed Pot Raid Over Okra Plants

By McCarton Ackerman 10/08/14

A retired Atlanta man was surprised to find his home raided by heavily armed police complete with helicopter crew.

Dear police, this is not pot. Shutterstock

A retired Atlanta man received a surprise when a heavily armed K9 unit and helicopter crew showed up on his property, but it turns out they mistook his okra bushes for marijuana plants.

Georgia state patrol sheepishly apologized and took some of the okra leaves with them, but tried to justify the exorbitant use of police force by declaring that “it did have quite a number of characteristics that were similar to a cannabis plant. If we disturbed [him] in any manner, that’s not our intent.”

Even though he was cleared of all crimes, okra gardener Dwayne Perry said he was concerned the incident would ruin his reputation in the neighborhood. “I was scared because I didn’t know what was happening,” he told reporters. “They were strapped to the gills. I do the right thing and they come to my house strapped with weapons. It ain’t right.”

Much of the funding from these helicopter raids comes from marijuana eradication programs that are funded by the Drug Enforcement Administration. However, these programs are known for grossly exaggerating the size of their cannabis hauls by including non-psychoactive compounds such as “ditchweed,” which has no detectable levels of THC and doesn’t contribute to the marijuana trade. In September 2006, the DEA confirmed that 219 million of the 223 million plants destroyed the previous year by law enforcement, or 98% of all plants seized, would classify as ditchweed.

"The irony, of course, is that industrial hemp is grown legally throughout most the Western world as a commercial crop for its fiber content,” said Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). "Yet the U.S. government is spending taxpayers' money to target and eradicate this same agricultural commodity."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.