Right: Jeffrey and Lauren Contella
Below:Contellaʻs Medical Marijuana Plants Being Seized
Jeffery Contella, a local 26-year-old man from Kailua-Kona had his medical marijuana plants confiscated by the Kona police department from him on June 8, 2010.
Contella suffers from insomnia, chronic pain, back pain, and chronic nausea. He is disabled due to his back injury, which was caused by a 2005 car accident. From then on Jeffery was taking prescription xanax and oxycodone. Thanks to marijuana, Contella was able to reduce the amount of opiates taken a day. Jeff’s doctor, Charles Webb of Hilo, recently qualified his sister Lauren Contella with a medicinal marijuana license because she is diagnosed with extreme pain from the removal of her ovarian systems.
Around 10 a.m. on June 8, Lauren Contella and her boyfriend were having a domestic dispute, which resulted in six police cars on the street outside of their home. Shortly after that, Jeff’s sister and her boyfriend were placed under arrest on the street. A man, who identified himself as “Chad,” arrived in plain clothes. He didn’t show a badge or gun and didn’t show a warrant. Contella said he asked Lauren and Jeffery to see their medical marijuana licenses, then seized the legal cards.
The man, who eventually was identified as Det. Chad Taniyama, also seized all of Contella’s 14 legal plants without leaving a receipt. Taniyama placed the budding plants into a separate bag, and then sat in the driveway for 30 minutes alone, stating he didn’t have a police car and was waiting for a ride with Jeff’s14 Cannabis plants in garbage bags. Taniyama also took both Jeff and his sister’s legal marijuana licenses with him, said Contella.
Lt. Chong of vice narcotics squad in Kona returned Jeffery and Lauren’s medical marijuana cards to their mother and permitted them to grow again. Youth news tried to get in touch with Taniyama, but there was no response. “I want to inform the public of just how vicious these officers are when confiscating patients medication,” Jeff said. “They just don’t care about our ailments and treat us like drug users, or pushers in some instances.”