Couple whose tea leaves were mistaken for weed loses lawsuit

In 2012, a sharp-eyed police officer in Kansas spotted Robert Harte leaving a hydroponics store with a bag of supplies. Soon after, the police fished through Harte's garbage and found some wet leaves, which tested positive for marijuana. That was all they needed to obtain a warrant to conduct a surprise raid. "The family was held at gunpoint for two and a half hours while Johnson County sheriff's deputies went through the house, after which they gave the Hartes a receipt saying 'no items taken,' in lieu of an apology," reports Reason. A lab test revealed the leaves to be tea, and the hydroponics supplies were for a "horticultural project involving tomato, squash, and melon plants."

The Hartes sued the police department for the fruitless raid, spending $25,000 in legal fees in an attempt to look at the polices' affidavit supporting the search warrant. They lost, because U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum said police acted legally and reasonably. The act of going to a hydroponics store and the results of the notoriously inaccurate field tests were sufficient to meet the standards for probable cause, he said.

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