POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 12, 2014
HILO » Five Puna residents are suing Hawaii County and the police to get their confiscated marijuana plants back.
Two lawsuits seek the return of dozens of marijuana plants or more than $250,000 in compensation.
The plaintiffs say police seized the plants during a 2012 raid at the Fern Acres subdivision in Mountain View, even though the plaintiffs had valid medical marijuana cards and permission to grow the plants.
One lawsuit filed last month involves 28 plants; another filed last week involves 24. Both ask for the plants to be returned, or for $5,000 per plant.
Taking the plants was "grossly unjustified, wrongful and improper," according to the lawsuit filed on behalf of Bradley Snow, Frank Locke, Tamara Brooke and Marsha Swanson.
Police had no reports about the plants and there was no mention of the incident in the Hawaii Police Department's June 14, 2012, bulletin, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Tuesday.
"You can't just take people's property," said Michael Doyle Ruggles, who filed the second lawsuit.
A police spokeswoman said the department doesn't discuss pending litigation. The county did not immediately comment.
"These folks all had medical marijuana cards and permission to grow that number of plants on the property, and the police officers completely disregarded their certificates," said attorney Ivan Van Leer, who filed the first lawsuit.