Twenty Gilbert police officers, some in masks and riot gear, stormed a home last week after receiving a tip that the owner was in possession of an ounce of marijuana.
The homeowner, Ross Taylor, is a card-carrying patient under Arizona's new medical-marijuana law, which allows people to qualify to possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of pot legally. He's also the owner of Cannabis Patient Screening Centers, a new company that hooks up patients with doctors for medical pot recommendations.
After handcuffing Taylor and his wife, the cops served a search warrant on the home and found two ounces of marijuana a small amount of hashish, which is just concentrated marijuana. Police seized the "medicine" and some paraphernalia from an upstairs closet, even though the total weight of the weed was under the legal threshhold, then told Taylor he'll probably be hearing from the prosecutor's office about criminal charges.
Sergeant Bill Balafas, Gilbert PD spokesman, tells New Times that because Taylor bought the pot from another person, as opposed to growing it himself, the possession wasn't legal despite his status as a patient.
"People are being harassed," says Taylor, who called New Times this week to report the tale of law enforcement overkill. "They want political control."
We're still waiting for the release of the police report, but for now, Balafas confirms many of Taylor's details.
Besides the waste of resources for a pot-possession bust, the incident also reveals the state of confusion that reigns following November's passage of Proposition 203 by Arizona voters.