Couple Sues After Police Mistake Hibiscus For A ‘Pot Plant’ In Drug Bust

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Top Tier Gear USA


A Pennsylvania couple is suing the police after the department made a huge mistake. Based on the photos given to them by an insurance agent, police officers made a “drug bust.” But they mistook a hibiscus plant for a marijuana plant.

Audrey Cramer, 66, could not hold back the tears as she described how three Buffalo Township police officers pulled her out of her home on October 5 wearing only her underwear. The police were at her home, responding to an insurance agent’s claim that the Cramers were growing marijuana in the backyard of their home.

Edward Cramer, 69, said he returned home a half-hour later to find his wife in the back of a police cruiser and officers pointing guns at him. He also was placed in the cruiser despite trying to convince the officers the plants were hibiscus, not marijuana.

The insurance agent was at the Cramers’ home to take photographs for a claim when he snapped photos of the hibiscus plants he thought were marijuana. He turned the photos over to the police, who agreed, and they immediately went to bust the Cramers for growing the plant.

Hibiscus flowers

Hibiscus flowers

“I was not treated as though I was a human being. I was just something they were going to push aside,” she said. “I asked them again if I could put pants on and he told me ‘no’ and I had to stand out on the porch.”


(Above: an image of a marijuana plant.) It looks just like the hibiscus plant, right? Well, an insurance agent and police sure thought so.

The Cramers say that police thought they were growing marijuana in the backyard of their Garden Way home. When officers got a search warrant and went to their house, the Cramers say their home was ransacked and they were handcuffed and forced to sit in a police car for four hours. “Sometimes I think they look for a crime where it doesn’t exist in order to justify their existence,” Edward Cramer said. *ding ding ding! We have a winner!*

Edward Cramer says he tried to explain that the plants were hibiscus flowers. The Cramers were released without charges, but are seeking monetary compensation.

Al Lindsay, an attorney for the couple, filed a lawsuit on their behalf. “I cannot understand the frame of reference that was on these police officers’ minds, what were they thinking,” Lindsay said.The Cramers say they never got an apology from the police and Audrey says she has severe emotional trauma.”I don’t sleep at night,” she said. “And you don’t leave me at the house by myself.”

Media outlets have reached out to the Buffalo Township police and the township manager but they have yet to respond.

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  • shadowsofiga

    That is just dumb as fuck. How can you mistake hibiscus with cannabis??? There must be something more to it – like maybe they were set on seizing the old couples’ house under asset-forfeiture rules. What a crock of shit.

    • Phil_Ossifer

      Aha! We have ANOTHER winner! There’s got to be a lot more to this.

      Seriously, though. Before you can obtain a search warrant you have to have “reasonable and articulable” suspicion, as the legalese goes. What did they use for “suspicion,” the picture of the hibiscus? What stupid judge rubber stamped the warrant? The mere fact that the couple was released without charges tells you that this entire thing was bogus from beginning to end.

      The judge and the cops need to burn for this. Also burn the dumb f*ck of an insurance agent who started this whole thing.

      • shadowsofiga

        And this is what happens when you try to turn untrained civilians into the Stasi by making insurance agents, cable guys, and the pizza delivery dude (or dudette) guvmint snitches. What could POSSIBLY go wrong??? The next thing you know, grandpa’s WW2-era German Luger hanging on the mantle gets reported to the cops as a full-auto HKMP5SD with a 100-round drum by some busy-body Avon lady that was giving a Skin-So-Soft demo to your wife.

        • Phil_Ossifer

          Welcome to Planet Snitch, sheeple. Don’t forget that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union functioned the same way (“see something, say something”).

          • Since the police have been doing things like this for as long as many of them have been in existence, one has to wonder when Americans will stop being ignorant and compliant, especially those who acted that way in someone else’s country, such as American troops have in dozens of places where they were unlawfully sent. If we don’t reinstall the Bill of Rights, it will be too late very soon.

      • roger

        especially the insurance agent rat. he needs to be included in the suit and left penniless………………MF er………….

    • Buffalo Township police

      How can you mistake hibiscus with cannabis???

      By being dumb as fuck!

  • wildcatmo

    I’d also sue that insurance agent for sure.

  • Death at Doorstep

    Look up pictures of Swamp Hibiscus.

    • Simon says


      but I would still think common sense would mandate, if my job was to identify illegal plants to maybe get some training on lookalike legal plants…but again common sense and government rarely work together.

      • john folger

        it dos not look at all like weed

    • Are you saying that swamp hibiscus looks like marijuana to you?

      • Death at Doorstep

        To me? No. The picture in the article is misleading. There are several innocent plants that favor marijuana. Insurance agent was probably a “bro” of a cop on the PD. War on drugs and asset forfeiture is the real cause of this.

        • Phil_Ossifer

          I think you are right, DD. Somebody might want to check on what their house and land is worth.

        • The war on drugs and asset protection aren’t as causative as the complete ignorance that police officers and military recruits have of the Constitution. If both got a bit more pushback, both would learn not to do things that they lack the authority for. The major cause is the total lack of pushback from cowed and ignorant Americans.

          • Death at Doorstep

            “complete ignorance that police officers and military recruits have of the Constitution.” Your comment is 100% true and accurate.

          • Sadly, it is equally accurate and true about the vast majority of Americans.

          • Death at Doorstep

            I watched a Mark Dice video where he was doing a interview of old people on a fishing pier. One old man said something along the lines of, “I use to think that it was politicians that were bought and paid for, then I realized it is the people who are really bought and paid for.” I will never forget that statement.

  • I hope they replace and sue the insurance agent and his upline as well.

    • Phil_Ossifer

      Better yet…since he is an agent of a deep-pocket insurance company Nationwide), make the insurance company pay under the theory of joint and several liability. Might make them much more careful in the future about whom they employ as “agents.”

      • David E

        ummm…it’s joint and “severable,” which means that in a case with more than one defendant, you can collect the judgment from one defendant alone and refuse payment from the other completely, mking only one defendant pay the judgment.

        This is handy if you only wanted to sue one defendant, but that defendant moved to join another party and you find yourself also suing someone you don’t think you should. Under joint and severable liability, you can “sever” the judgment in any proportion you like to collect.

      • Death at Doorstep

        A judge will not let that or any other vicarious liability fly. Not against someone informing for LE. But, the couple can be paid to shut their mouth. It can be pretty damaging publicity if they start shouting loud who the insurance company is that started this mess with poor old granny.

        • I’d get as much at trial as possible and refuse to sign a gag order. Then I’d spend the proceeds on producing and distributing a very thorough documentary about the entire event. I’d also move out of Garden Way and probably Pennsylvania at my earliest opportunity.

      • Joint and several liability is one of the many reasons why corporations are incorporated. That doesn’t mean they are immune to as large a ration of bad publicity as can be served up against them. We can start the ball rolling by checking on a lower price from another insurance carrier if we happen to be insured by Nationwide, with the intent to move made very clear to Nationwide, and why. The rest of us could contact Nationwide on the pretence of getting quotes, and then make sure that the entire event is used to refuse the quote, after they are hungry for the business.

        • Robby Maraglia

          Awesome idea, I’m on it.

  • idontknow

    Snitches get stitches…

    • roger

      or, just a hatchet between the headlights……..;)

  • tonye

    Nice buds, looks like they’re being grown indoors.

    Yes, drug laws are insane, and the cops are simply out of control power freaks.

    I’d sue the insurance agent and his company.

  • moTrouble69

    Don’t forget to sue that a$$hole insurance agent.

  • Jeri Brace

    and I thought the Police were “EXPERTS”!!! in the Identifying of Dangerous Narcotics.
    I have been growing my own dope for years and these Idiot cops mistake this Hibiscus plant for weed?
    Those cops should get fired for their stupidity & recklessness.

  • Jeri Brace

    asset-forfeiture of Cash land & property is the number 1 Goal of all police departments. Murders, robberies, rapes don’t fill a police departments piggy banks.

    serves these unrighteous assholes right.

    SUE them Hard!

  • roger

    AND they wonder why someone would shoot them in their face, fucking bastard pigs.

  • Arrow

    The police would have been much better off had they taken of hit or two of Indica which delivers a fusion of cerebral euphoria and physical relaxation.

  • SP_88

    If all you have is a hammer, every problem must look like a nail. The whole reason these cops were so quick to drag these old people out of their home was because they thought they had a clear case for civil asset forfeiture. The cops wanted to sell their house out from under them, and keep the money.
    How dumb can you be? That flower doesn’t look a thing like marijuana. The insurance agent is a stupid cock for not being able to tell that’s not pot. And the police are even more dumb because they should know better. Not that I expect them to, but they should.
    I hope this couple sues the shit out of these stupid cops. They shouldn’t have been treated like this even if they were growing pot. The war on drugs has more innocent victims than the drugs and the drug dealers.

  • It is not Paranoia

    You don’t mistake hibiscus with cannabis.

  • CozmicSeer

    The thugs that call themselves police in this “bust” should have to forfeit a year’s salary along with a minimum of 10 years in federal prison for their crimes against American citizens.

  • elbustaroyjetspeekerson

    It is. Your prob is that YOU aren’t.

  • elbustaroyjetspeekerson

    Have another hit, Einsteinowizc.

    • whattabunchacrap

      Turn your sarcasm radar on.

      • elbustaroyjetspeekerson

        Fuck off.

  • Doug J.

    real life idiocracy.

  • lfthndthrds

    Where I live they use the tax assessors office to come snoop around our place.