A clear case of marijuana possession with intent to distribute following cultivation in a grow house?
According to police, yes.
According to a Gwinnett County homeowner, no, and not even a close call.
In fact, said Lawrenceville resident Scott Smithwick in a conversation with an Atlanta television reporter, the paraphernalia he keeps in his basement to grow tropical plants is not and has never been even remotely associated with cultivating in-house marijuana. He says that the conduct of local police maintaining otherwise while they executed a search warrant in his home was threatening and amounted to harassment.
Smithwick is decidedly unhappy with the way he was treated by law enforcement officials and seeks a follow-up investigation.
“As a member of this community, a taxpayer and a voter, I think I deserve some answers,” he told a TV reporter.
Smithwick calls himself an avowed “plant freak” who grows an assortment of tropical flowers and plants in his basement. That requires high-intensity lighting, fans and a watering system.
Those components are what alerted police to his home. Smithwick says he asked officers for permission to videotape their search and was curtly dismissed, with one sergeant becoming overtly hostile and threatening to handcuff him to a chair.
After finding nothing, Smithwick says the police threatened to arrest him on criminal charges merely for having equipment that could be used to cultivate marijuana.
A spokesperson for the Gwinnett County Police Department says that Smithwick’s complaint is currently being investigated.
Source: wsbtv.com, “Man claims police harassing him over legal grow house,” Tom Regan, Jan. 7, 2013
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