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Nice Try, But State Farm Insurance Will Not Cover Damage to Your Precious Pot Plants Caused by a Drug Raid

Photo by jasonawhite via Flickr
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If you're a small business owner medical marijuana patient looking to protect those beautiful pot plants you have growing in your backyard, you might be tempted to take out an insurance policy to cover your assets medicine in case of an act of God: flood, fires or the inevitable drug raid that comes from growing an unthoroughly legalized plant.

You might look for an insurance policy like that offered by State Farm, whose policy includes coverage for "outdoor trees, shrubs, plants or lawns, on the residence premises, for direct loss caused by...vandalism or malicious mischief or Theft." But you would be barking up the wrong tree, green thumb.

Costa Mesa resident Greg Barnett discovered this when he filed a claim with State Farm, after the city police raided his house armed with shovels and dug up twelve 7-feet-tall marijuana trees, according to Metropolitan News-Enterprise. In his claim, Barnett estimated that the cops seized $98,000 worth of trees and bags of marijuana altogether.

Barnett was never charged with anything (he had a medical marijuana card and growing caps were ruled unconstitutional), but he never got his pot and shrubbery back either. So he filed his claim on the basis that his pot had been stolen from him. Neither the judge at the trial court nor judge at the state appeals would agree that a drug raid constitutes stealing.

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According to the Met-News, the appeals court judge wrote, "Here, the officers’ seizure of Barnett’s marijuana at his home pursuant to a search warrant cannot constitute a ‘theft’ because it was neither criminal nor, in carting the items away to an evidence locker, was there any evidence of an intent to deprive Barnett of his property permanently and in a criminal manner, rather than by due process of law."

In other words: bummer about your pot, but it's not like the cops were actually stealing your stash. The cops might not have built any case whatsoever for the prosecutors, but it's not like they were stealing your goods to resell at the local junior high. However, we would be curious to hear if (like a good neighbor) State Farm would actually cover stolen glaucoma meds resold at the local junior high.