Outrage as police cut hemp in 72-year-old's garden

Take note – story published 5 years ago

Pensioner Dzidra Bruzgule has been growing non-psychoactive hemp for years in her garden at Dekšāre parish, Viļāni municipality in eastern Latvia. 

In late August the police arrived to Bruzgule's home, suspecting that the hemp in her garden is psychoactive. The police cut down all of it to test it. 

The pensioner is perplexed as to why the police didn't only take several plants, and it is unclear whether she'll be compensated for her damaged property, reported Latvian Radio October 17. 

This summer the hemp in Bruzgule's garden had grown extra big thanks to the warm weather. Up until now no one had been suspicious of whether the pensioner was growing intoxicants as opposed to a culture that was at some point one of Latvia's chief exports in the form of durable hemp rope.

"I was working in the garden, and a motorcade arrived--two buses and a light police vehicle. I became worried as to what had happened. They told me they've started a criminal case against me for growing hemp," the lady said.

A total of 363 plants were cut down, the police said, with "a smell characteristic of marijuana". These were packed into 17 paper bags and taken to carry out tests.

"I told them, take samples from one end of the plot and the other. If it's marijuana, cut it all and put me in jail," she said.

Guntis Vilnītis, the head of the Latvian Association of Industrial Hemp Manufacturers, said that the police had acted recklessly, as they don't usually grow marijuana outdoors.

"We are very unpleasantly surprised that this has happened," said Vilnītis. 

The State Police confirmed that the charges against Bruzgule have been dismissed, as no psychoactive substances were found in the hemp they took from Bruzgule's garden. Now the lady can retrieve her hemp.

"The person was informed that the criminal case has been dismissed and the person will be given back the confiscated plants," said State Police rep Ksenija Belova.

Nevertheless it's highly likely the hemp the police cut will be in a state of putrefaction.

"Maybe they think it will be fit for consumption, but they put it in the bags when it was green. It will have decomposed by now," said Bruzgule.

Meanwhile Belova said that people should have proof, like seed packages that testify that it is not psychoactive hemp, to avoid situations like these. 

Bruzgule, however, wants recompense for the hemp that was confiscated.

She adds hemp seed to butter or grinds the seeds and mixes them with oil to make a fine and nutritious spread. Such products are widely available in shops in Latvia and delicious though they are, they will not get you high no matter how much you consume.  

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