When I was younger (a lot younger), I frequently heard the warning, “Don’t eat muffins with poppy seeds before you have to take a drug test. If you do, you might test positive for heroin.” A quick Google search turns up that while the warning contains a kernel of truth, the risk is vastly overstated. Cotton candy, on the other hand, can send you to the pokey in Georgia, as one woman who spent several months in jail found out.
On December 31, 2016, two Monroe County, Ga., sheriff deputies pulled a car over under the suspicion that the window tint was too dark (government overreach, anyone?). It turns out that the window tint was not illegal. What they did find, though, was a bag of blue cotton candy.
The cotton candy belonged to Dasha Fincher, a passenger in the car. She informed the deputies that the bag contained cotton candy, but they decided to test it anyway. The field test indicated that the cotton candy was methamphetamine. Fincher was arrested and charged with possessing more than 28 grams of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.
Unable to post bail, Fincher languished in jail until the Georgia Bureau of Investigation sent the test results back on March 22, 2017. Turns out that Fincher spent three months in jail for having the temerity to possess a bag of cotton candy.
Dasha Fincher has now filed a lawsuit seeking, “recovery from Defendants for damages on the grounds of false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious arrest, malicious imprisonment, malicious prosecution, negligent employment, negligent training, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent inmate care, negligent medical care, gross negligence, … improper manufacture of the roadside drug testing kit, … and personal injury.”
The lawsuit details the emotional, physical, and familial toll that Fincher’s imprisonment caused. While in jail, Fincher missed the birth of her grandchildren, her daughter had a miscarriage, and Fincher was diagnosed with a cyst on her ovary and was subsequently denied adequate medical treatment. To pour salt on the wound, the state arrested her son when he came to visit her in jail. To be fair, he did have an outstanding bench warrant. But, still, one can understand why Fincher would punch the wall of her cell in frustration and anger, breaking her hand. As you probably guessed, she didn’t receive adequate medical treatment for her broken hand either.
Police officers have a tough job, to be sure. But it’s important for the health of our society and the continued preservation of our freedoms that those in authority are held to a higher standard. Failing to do so opens the door to a police state. It is unacceptable that Dasha Fincher spent three months in jail because of a bag of cotton candy. Let’s hope that her lawsuit will force changes in how roadside drug testing kits are manufactured and used.