Pennsylvania couple sues after police mistake hibiscus for marijuana

Hibiscus coccineus, courtesy of Getty Images

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A Pennsylvania couple is suing their local police department and Nationwide Insurance Co. after they were arrested when an insurance agent mistook their hibiscus plants for marijuana.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday by 69-year-old Edward Cramer and his 66-year-old wife, Audrey, claims the agent came to their Buffalo Township home Oct. 5 to investigate a fallen tree. The Cramers claim the agent took photos of their flowering hibiscus plant and sent the images to police.

The lawsuit claims officers with assault rifles arrested the couple Oct. 7 and held them for several hours inside a police cruiser, despite both of them telling the officers the plants were actually hibiscus.

The Cramers are seeking monetary and compensatory damages and court costs.

Neither Buffalo Township police nor Nationwide provided comment.

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