The Commonwealth of Massachusetts announced an anticipated shortfall of more than $300 million in the state’s 2016 budget as it faces an even deeper hole of up to $750 million in the budget for next year. The financial disclosure reveals the steps that will be needed to keep pace including accelerating fee collection and federal reimbursements, cutting spending and delaying hiring.

It’s a dire picture, but luckily, the state had the funds to deploy the Massachusetts National Guard and State Police on a coordinated military-style mission to seek out and destroy a threat to public safety and welfare.

That would be one, single marijuana plant growing in a raspberry patch in the backyard of an 81-year-old grandmother using it as medication for arthritis pain, glaucoma prevention and help sleeping.

Citizens of Massachusetts can rest easier tonight knowing that the criminal activity was weeded out after the Guard was lowered onto the elderly woman’s yard from a military-style helicopter completely outfitted with a thermal imager device to detect the evil substance.

Margaret Holcomb was not at home at the time, but her son, Tim, is claiming that the action was a violation of his mother’s Fourth Amendment right as an unlawful surveillance and illegal search and seizure.

“It’s scary as hell,” said Tim Holcomb.

Holcomb was at his mother’s home when the telltale sound of whirring blades caught his attention, as the helicopter circled overhead with two soldiers crouching in view.

Ten minutes later, Massachusetts State Police arrived in trucks to uproot the source of the criminal enterprise, pulling the lone pot plant out of the raspberry patch and making the community safe.

Holcomb says she is no “social activist,” but plans to fight the action – and grow another plant for medicinal use.

Meantime, perhaps the Commonwealth can find better uses for its limited – and diminishing state funds.

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