Ginnifer Hency testifying before Michigan State House Judiciary Committee

Drug Warriors Raid Medical Marijuana Patient, Take Vibrator

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A Michigan Medical marijuana patient says a drug task force raided her home and kept ‘every belonging’ she owned, including TV sets, ladders, her children’s cellphones and iPads, and even her vibrator.

Ginnifer Hency testified before the Michigan state House Judiciary Committee last week that St. Clair County officials wont give her families property back, despite a judge dismissing all charges against her 10 months ago.

Hency, a mother of four with multiple sclerosis, says her neurologist had recommended medical marijuana to treat pain associated with her illness. She is also registered in the state of Michigan as a caregiver for five other patients, giving her the ability to legally distribute medical marijuana.

Hency testified that drug warriors raided her home in Smiths Creek last July and seized six ounces of marijuana even though it was in compliance with Michigan medical marijuana laws.

“They took everything, even though I was fully compliant with the Michigan medical marijuana laws,” Hency said. “They charged me with possession with intent to deliver, even though I’m allowed to posses and deliver.”

A St. Clair County judge dropped all charges against her 10 months ago but Hency says law enforcement officials still refuse to give back her belongings.

“The prosecutor came out to me and said, ‘Well, I can still beat you in civil court. I can still take your stuff.'” Hency said, “I was at a loss. I literally just sat there dumbfounded. They have had my stuff for 10 months… Why a ladder? Why my vibrator, I don’t know either.”

Hency was joined during her testimony by Annette Shattuck, another medical marijuana patient who was raided by the St. Clair County Drug Task Force around the same time.

“After they breached the door at gunpoint with masks, they proceeded to take every belonging in my house,” Shattuck said. “How do you explain to your kids when they come home and everything is gone?”

Among the items taken included her husband’s tools, a lawn mower, a weed whacker, her children’s Christmas presents, cash (totaling $85) taken from her daughter’s birthday cards, her childrens’ car seats and soccer equipment, and vital documents such as driver’s licenses, insurance cards, and birth certificates.

Even though Shattuck and her family was not convicted of any crime, they cannot get their property back, and their bank accounts are still frozen.

According to the libertarian Institute for Justice, Michigan was one of five states that received the lowest grade awarded, a D–, in a 2010 report on forfeiture abuse – primarily because of the state “preponderance of the evidence” standard, which allows the government to complete a forfeiture based on any probability greater than 50 percent that the asset is connected to a crime.

The Michigan House Judiciary Committee is considering a bill that would require local law enforcement agencies to report forfeitures to the state police, and it would raise the standard of proof required for civil forfeiture in drug cases.

But under the proposed law, local agencies would continue to keep 100 percent of the proceeds from forfeitures which gives them a strong incentive to target people based on the property they own and not the criminal activity they may or may not be engaged in.

“And I was just sitting there, like, thinking I was going to be able to get my stuff back, but not in this country,” Hency said. “And that is why civil asset forfeiture in this state needs to change.”

Raw video of the testimony: