Monday, February 11, 2019

Oral Arguments... My Adventures in Weed Court pt. 9

I attended a hearing for oral arguments on my Weed Court Appeals on Thursday, February 7th, 2019.
The hearing was held on the 5th Floord of the Ada County Court House, in Boise, Idaho.

See My Adventures in Weed Court 1234, 5, 67 & 8.

I am grateful to A.J Herrington from High Times; who released an article that same day, documenting my efforts of fighting for the necessity defense as a Medical Marijuana patient from Idaho.

Thursday morning, I woke up barely able to breathe, couldn't speak without coughing uncontrollably, and spent the entire day sucking on one cough drop after another. I had been sick and combating what was thought to be Bronchitis for almost a month. I was also in severe pain, because I had been unable to consume any smokable Cannabis for over a week without my lungs burning.

Luckily, my attorney, Dennis Benjamin, of NEVIN, BENJAMIN McKAY & BARTLETT, handed me a notebook and pen, so I wouldn't have to actually speak to him in court. I wouldn't have been able to do so even if I had been asked. Thank God I had an attorney to speak for me this time.

The other Ada County Prosecutor from my trial, Garrett Swenson, is who argued against the appeal. Same arguments as the brief written by his co-worker, Enrique Gutierrez. Same words that I would be ashamed to have attached to my name during this historical change in Cannabis legality that is sweeping the world.

The hearing in front of Ada County District Court Judge Gerald Schroeder only lasted little more than a half an hour. Dennis provided the basics of our argument, and answered Justice Schroeder's questions. He even stressed that there was no actual harm brought about by the necessity of my possession of marijuana for medical use, because prohibition originally began as a racist persecution of black jazz musicians and Mexicans. The only harm was an outdated moral "harm" that no longer matches the public perceptions of this medicine.

The Judge's questions were quite logical, mainly just asking for elaboration of the written arguments, giving me a bit of hope that he may have a logical ruling. He retired without giving it, but with a promise to have a written ruling within 30 days.

So now we wait...

Thursday evening, I almost went to the hospital because I still could not breathe and it was getting worse. And the next day, I was diagnosed with Middle Lobe Pneumonia.

For me, it was definitely a memorable day.

I am looking forward to receiving the judge's ruling.
And if necessary, taking the next step in the appeals process by appealing to the Idaho Appellate/Supreme Court, if my convictions are not vacated and remanded for new trial by this judge.

I deserve a new trial.

A new trial that includes my right to jury instruction for the necessity defense.
A new trial that will allow my doctors to testify, and for me to submit medical evidence that Cannabis is a necessity in my medical treatment of Interstitial Cystitis.
A new trial where justice isn't perverted by the dirty tricks of the prosecution.

A new trial that could help set precedence and push reform of Idaho's harmful and outdated Cannabis laws.

I hope you will continue to follow my fight in Weed Court.
I will post an update once I receive the Judge's ruling.
Thank you for your continued love & support!



Thursday, January 17, 2019

Back to Court I Go - My Adventures in Weed Court pt. 8


My Adventures in Weed Court continue... 
See My Adventures in Weed Court 1234, 5, 6 & 7.

My attorney, Dennis Benjamin, of 
NEVIN, BENJAMIN McKAY & BARTLETT and I have been debating whether or not to request oral arguments on my appeal.

We hadn't come to a decision yet - but the court decided for us.

Today I received this Notice of Hearing:


All these years of fighting this, the Ada County Prosecutor has taken me to court dozens of times... and now it's my turn to take them. 
That's a strange feeling!

If anyone would like to join me on this next step in my Weed Adventures, please do!

Please RSVP @ Idaho Moms for Marijuana's event page.

I appreciate your continued love and support. 💕



Sunday, January 13, 2019

Respondent's Brief and Our Reply - My Adventures in Weed Court Pt. 7


Things are finally moving forward with my Appeals case!
See My Adventures in Weed Court 1234, 5 & 6

We received the Respondent's Brief last month, which was filed on December 19th, 2018 by one of the Ada County Prosecutors assigned to my case, Enrique Gutierrez. Read Respondent's Brief Here

Throughout the brief, there are many instances where these prosecutors are saying that there isn't evidence that I was experiencing pain while possessing marijuana at the places and times alleged. 

It seems to me that the understanding of Interstitial Cystitis and the "chronic pain" is lacking by the prosecution and likely by the court, previously. 

Without possessing Marijuana, I am in pain every minute of every day. If I possess marijuana, it always for the treatment of that pain, especially for times it becomes extremely severe.

On pg. 8, it says that "Dr. Aggarwal's affidavit speaks of no specific threat of immediate harm", but then says I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis - which is always an immediate harm, at all times, because there is intense pain every time my bladder is used in my urinary system. In medical terms, the urinary function is an involuntary function, a function I have no control over.

The expanding caused by emptying and refilling of the bladder causes immediate pain, all day, every day, it doesn't matter what the date. This is the "chronic" state of the pain. I am continuously in pain, even when using Cannabis. 

It's the degree of pain that is changed through the use of Cannabis.

Same paragraph says "Defendant admits to using exclusively marijuana to treat her illness since 2009 and for general pain relief since 2004; Defendant states that she has only gone a couple days to a week at most without it in 12 years, since she first began using it as medicine."

And then goes on to say that I "essentially self-report that the chronic nature of the pain does not mean that the pain is constant or imminent."

The quote they put from the report to Dr. Aggarwal says "I have good days, bad days..."  

The chronic pain being treated generally from 2004 - 2009 is the pain from the Interstitial Cystitis. I have never had any other type of chronic pain. 

It took seven excruciating years to diagnose the IC, after my symptoms of extreme and constant pain started in 2002. 

The term "have good days" means that I have less pain because of less variables and because of more access to Marijuana. 

Not because the condition itself has less pain, or no pain at all. 

Dr. Aggarwal's statement of "There is a variation in the range and intensity of symptoms" was a generalized statement about patients with IC, and not about me specifically; but even the range and intensity of the symptoms means that there are still symptoms and that symptom in Interstitial Cystitis is predominately pain - a threat of harm. 

At the bottom of pg. 8 and into pg. 9, it says I stated that I use Marijuana to address a variety of needs and references my preferred strain for symptom relief of things like fatigue and sleeplessness. I think they are trying to say that these needs are not relative to the chronic pain. 

Lack of energy comes from the chronic pain caused by the inflammation of IC. Pain itself takes away physical energy. Sativas give back energy.

Not sleeping in the night, comes from the chronic pain. I cannot sleep because I am in pain from the IC. Indicas allow me to sleep through the pain at night. 

These needs are not random needs, but needs that arise directly from the threat of pain and are direct symptoms of my condition.

On pg. 9 it states that the trial court reasoned that the Defendant used Marijuana as a general course of treatment. 
The course of treatment is a treatment to end the immediate threat of harm that comes with IC. The court erred in its reasoning that the treatment was general. 

The treatment is specific to the individual symptoms and threats of harm that comes with the condition, including the threat of depression and suicidal ideation caused by living with such extreme chronic pain.

On pg. 10 it goes on to say that I failed to show that the same objective of pain relief could not have been accomplished by a less offensive alternative, and that my objective was actually to protest laws in Idaho rather than pain management. It also says I would have lit the joint if I had been in pain and that there isn't evidence to show I was in pain at the protests.

My possession of Cannabis at the capitol to protest was the same as my possession at my house in Idaho (the prosecution actually tried to argue at the Motion in Limine hearing that I could have possessed it at my house and not at the capitol, but the judge wouldn't even touch that argument.)

Both locations, I possessed Marijuana for treatment of chronic pain. I simply used my medicine as a prop in my protest. It could have been a bottle of Oxycotin instead. It is medicine, and just as with any medicine, any consumption of Cannabis into my system is to maintain a level of medical (Cannabinoid) compounds in my system. 

Whether that happens at my house or the Capitol.

It was not my doing to not be able to light the joint at the capitol, or even try to light the joint at the capitol. I was following the orders of police to not light it. I try to follow the law, it is usually there for good reason.

The only law I am willing to break is in this regard - the possession of marijuana and related paraphernalia; because of the necessity in my life. 

I believe it's important to cooperate with police during our protests, and we work to maintain a good rapport with them. We invite them to our event every year and miss them when they do not attend. They are good people whose lives are just as affected by Marijuana prohibition as mine, just not in all of the same ways. Marijuana prohibition affects us all.

My intent was to light the joint, and if they had told me they weren't going to stop me, I would have lit it at both events. 
Additionally, I had a Cannabis oil filled capsule that I wanted to take at the 2nd protest and was told by police I could not consume it. The only reason I did not, was because I was asked kindly by the Troopers to not consume it, and thanked when I did not.


Cooperating with ISP Trooper Bradalyn Crapo
ID M4MJ Smoke Out - January 1, 2016

Protesting and Possessing Cannabis for pain are not mutually exclusive, and the symptoms of IC mean that I must possess all day, every day, no matter where I am. Whether that is at the Capitol protesting, or at the grocery store, shopping. 

The threat of immediate harm also comes from the threat of sporadic and sudden onset of the severe symptoms of my condition, which means I must possess the medicine at all times, not only to maintain for the constant "lesser" pain of my condition, but to have immediate access to pain relief because of the immediate threat of harm of the more severe but sporadic symptoms.

Also, regardless of the protests, or the intent to use Cannabis to protest in the last two cases - the first case from 2015 was not to protest. I was a passenger in a vehicle, and the medicine found in my purse. I was acquitted of the charge that led to the finding of the Marijuana in my purse - obstruct & delay - making the search illegal.

Because the cases were enjoined, even if the court didn't err in not providing jury instruction for the protest cases, it erred by not providing the jury instruction of necessity defense for the first case - in which I possessed Cannabis because of the threat of immediate harm that comes with Interstitial Cystitis. 

The brief goes on to talk about the "legal" treatment options, and that I admit that I have not tried everything "less offensive" that is available to me. It mentions surgical and pharmaceutical options, including a morphine implant I was offered in 2009.

In regards to surgery being available, this argument equates to saying it is less offensive for doctors to slice me open, gut me so that I have to spend my entire life in a wheel chair with a bag out side of my body to collect urine, reroute my urinary tract, or rebuild it using parts of my bowels - which can include complications that lead to even more harm than the condition itself; than it is to use a plant that would not alter my life in such an extreme way.

The same can be said for the pharmaceuticals, as well as for the morphine implant. All of those treatments carry a threat of increased harm, including death, when compared to Cannabis and breaking the law. The necessity arises in treating my condition in a manner that doesn't complicate the condition, which would bring around it's own threat of immediate harm.

They also bring up that I refuse to follow a stricter diet, but this is not true. I utilize food restrictions, physical therapy and exercise, as well as Cannabis. I haven't had an orange, pineapple, or a glass of lemonade or cranberry juice in 10 years because it would kill my bladder. 



Citric Acid is also one of the primary ingredients that exacerbates my illness. It's like pouring lemon juice on an open wound. It's also a primary ingredient (as a preservative) in MOST products. 

I dare everyone to look in their cupboards, pantries, refrigerators, and closets, and see exactly how many products contain citric acid and other "acid" preservatives - even your household products like laundry detergent, body wash, and shampoo that are absorbed by the skin. 

Figuring out if every single thing I want to consume contains ingredients like this is extremely stressful, which also causes pain. The diet for IC is so strict, and the stress that comes with determining it all so great, that physical complications of intense pain arise from trying to follow it to a T; especially when these hidden ingredients, or even the PH balance of various tap waters, can cause complications of intense pain. 

However, I follow it mostly, and use Cannabis when I cannot. 

Additionally, following the strict diet doesn't take away the symptoms of IC, which will cause pain no matter what I eat because it's a condition of my bladder that causes pain every time the bladder is used (all day, every day). 

Diet doesn't solve the problem of pain in IC - the wrong foods exacerbate the symptoms, not cause them. I would have to not eat or drink at all, in order to not use my bladder at all, for diet restrictions to be completely effective by itself in complete pain relief.

On pg. 17 it touches on me "settling for slight pain relief over a long period, rather than complete pain relief for a short period." 

This is in reference to the lack of access to Marijuana that I have in Idaho, and the laws I must break because of my need for pain relief. Having to make a small amount last for a longer period of time - rationing a medicine because of lack of access to the medicine. 

Of course, it would have been more beneficial for me to have complete pain relief - all the time - but because of the legalities of Marijuana, the access to the correct quality and quanity was not available in Idaho. I can't just go get a refill for a prescription like normal people. In Idaho, I had to settle for the slight pain relief, or I would have had no pain relief at all because the medicine was all gone quickly, attempting to achieve complete pain relief.

It also says that the side effects of Marijuana are similar to those of legal treatments, like dry mouth, etc. However, while some of the side effects listed are the same, the other side effects of the legal drugs that they say are less offensive, are side effects which Cannabis does not have - extreme physical side effects, including the side effect of DEATH that can come with opiate based medicines. 

I definitely find it more offensive to be forced to take toxic drugs that cause extreme health problems, be implanted with a morphine device and be forced to be an opiate addict in the midst of an nationwide opiate epidemic. 

While opiates did provide some short-term relief in the beginning, in medicine, opiates have never been intended to be a life-long, ongoing treatment for pain; which is what is necessary for my condition because it is a life-long, progressive condition. Taking opiates long-term can create it's own threat of immediate harm because of the harm it causes the body and the liver. 

A harm that is not found in long-term Cannabis use.

The nature of my condition is such that finding the best treatment of pain for the individual patient is the only treatment. Every patient is different, and Cannabis is the best treatment I have found to treat the specific threats of harm in my condition. 

The fact that I have pain, both physically and mentally, is the threat of immediate harm, whether that threat is the actual condition itself, or it's ongoing complications that arise with the symptoms.

Essentially, the prosecution says that it would be less offensive for me to undergo numerous invasive surgical procedures and fill my body with toxic pharmaceuticals with extreme side effects - less offensive than the offense of me breaking an inhumane, 100 year old law that is based on racist lies and fear based propaganda. 

And that I should try all those things BEFORE breaking that stupid law. 

I would be ashamed to have my name attached to these arguments. These words will be preserved throughout the future generations, as they look back on the illogical war against sick and disabled people that is Marijuana prohibition. 

Wrong side of history, dudes. 

I guess we all have choices to make. Even if the choice is to accept a paycheck for putting your name to words that make you look like ignorant & apathetic people in the eyes of history. 


If you can't see that Cannabis is the future of our world, you either just aren't paying attention - or you are making a cognitive choice to ignore it. 

My attorney, Dennis Benjamin, of NEVIN, BENJAMIN McKAY & BARTLETT and I worked together to create a reply brief, which was filed January 9th.

My favorite line: 
The State has NOT shown that Ms. Frank's possession of Marijuana caused any harm.

This statement is directly aligned with the message we express at our annual Idaho Moms for Marijuana New Year's Smoke Out protests:
MARIJUANA IS SAFER...
WHO ARE WE HURTING?

My attorney and I are now discussing whether or not to request oral arguments. We have 14 days from when the Reply Brief was filed to ask for a hearing. If that occurs, I will post an update.

Thank you for your continued love and support.💕

More to come...

In the meantime, we are still working to #LegalizeIdaho and finally change these archaic and harmful laws. 

A new petition is coming (follow here), we have a Lobby Day organized for February, and the 4th annual Boise Hempfest is schedule for April 20th!

There is a lot going on and a lot more to do in the coming years.
It's going to be a lot of fun!

I hope you will join us!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Opening Brief of Appellant - My Adventures in Weed Court Pt. 6

I just received a copy of the filed OPENING BRIEF OF APPELLANT from my attorney, Dennis Benjamin, of NEVIN, BENJAMIN McKAY & BARTLETT.

See My Adventures in Weed Court 1, 2, 34 & 5.

My notice of appeal was filed timely in the Ada County District Court, upon my sentencing in April.

Now, after months of delays to obtain the correct transcripts for multiple hearings, things are finally beginning to move forward!

For those interested, you can read the opening brief here:
SERRA FRANK OPENING BRIEF

Next, the Prosecution is given time to file a Response Brief, then we will be able to file an additional response brief, and then I believe it's on to a hearing in District Court.

I will keep posting updates as they happen.

Thank you for your continued love & support as I continue to fight for Medical Marijuana freedom in Idaho!

Many have offered to help with legal costs. 
If anyone wishes to do so, they can donate at this fundraising campaign
or to me directly through PayPal @ paypal.me/serrafrank


Join Idaho Moms for Marijuana for the 

PUT IT ON YOUR CALENDAR AND JOIN US IN SUPPORT!

Help us demand reform of Idaho's laws!


Because prosecution isn't ever going to stop us from protesting.

And someday soonwe will light up on the Idaho Capitol steps!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Cannabis holds the Cure



8 years ago today, I lost my birth mom, Dawn, to what started as Stage IV breast cancer. She was only 46 years old.
Several years before, I had learned that numerous scientists around the world had discovered that the compound - Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), found in Marijuana, causes apoptosis of cancerous cells. THC injected into cancerous cells cuts off the crucial blood supply, forcing cancer cells to die; but leaving healthy cells alive.
Time after time, study after study, and story after story - Cannabis continues to show the potential promise of a cure.
The only reason my birth mom never tried Cannabis, despite my repeated attempts to convince her when she was diagnosed, was because it was illegal where she lived on the East Coast. 

By the time she was willing to try it, despite the law, she had already undergone 6 months of chemo and radiation, and was headed to hospice. She was gone within weeks.
2 years later, the state of Massachusetts legalized the medical use of Marijuana, an act which could have had the potential to save her life - had it happened much sooner. 
She didn't have time to wait for the laws to catch up to science and logic. 
She didn't have time to wait for common sense to catch up to compassion. 

And there are many mothers in the world, just like mine, who just don't have time to wait for their government to change the law.



Learn more by watching the documentary - 

What if Cannabis does Cure Cancer?
Imagine what kind of world that could be...
A world without motherless daughters, like me.
😢💔

RIP Dawn 🌹 I miss you everyday.
(May 15, 1964 - Oct. 14, 2010)

Videos:





Articles:
https://www.marijuanadoctors.com/conditions/breast-cancer/
https://www.health.com/breast-cancer/cannabis-cancer-treatment-olivia-newton-john
https://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/2017-09-05/can-marijuana-help-with-breast-cancer


Studies:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22776349
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30240926
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29940172
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29552056
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27633508
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27530354
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27213582
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27186076
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25916739

Find more at - www.google.com 😉


Friday, April 27, 2018

Officially Banned from Idaho? - My Adventures in Weed Court Continue (pt.5)


Yesterday, I was sentenced by Ada County Magistrate Judge, Michael Oths, after being convicted by Jury Trial on March 7th, 2018, for three counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance (Marijuana), and three counts of Possession of Paraphernalia.

See My Adventures in Weed Court 1, 2, 3 & 4.

I was greatly blessed to have received 16 thoughtful character references from my family, friends, and other activists I've worked with over the years. The judge had received 12 of them through the e-file system of Idaho's iCourt, but had not received the last 4. 

I provided both the judge and the prosecutor with courtesy copies I had prepared on the risk the last minute additions had not been received. Judge Oths took the time to go through each and make sure he had received each. Then he read the ones that he had not received as the entire court room sat in silence.

The prosecutor representing the State of Idaho, through the Ada County Prosecutor, was Enrique Gutierrez, who had also been part of my trial. He was very kind as he gave his sentencing recommendations to the court. He was adamant that the State was not requesting jail time and he made it very clear that he did not believe that I am a bad person.

Enrique said that jail time was obviously not going to deter me from using Marijuana. He referenced the affidavits of my friends and family. He also mentioned that I now live in Oregon, where Marijuana is legal. He mentioned it was my right to rally and protest, but asked for unsupervised probation with jail time held over my head to attempt to deter me from violating Idaho law again. He suggested that I could use Marijuana at my home, now in Oregon where it is legal, but if I come to Idaho, I shouldn't be violating the law.

Enrique also requested that I reimburse the "victims" of my cases (Ada County Sheriff and the Idaho State Police) for the time and lab testing associated with my cases. He asked for $1,000 fine, with $250 suspended, to cover the costs of the thirty something police officers that attended the first Idaho Moms for Marijuana smoke out, plus more fines for lab fees, police testimony, and expert testimony from the chemists. He also very kindly suggested using the paraphernalia charges for the probation sentence to make certain I didn't have to complete the mandatory community service hours that comes with drug convictions in Idaho.

When it was my turn to provide the defense's recommendations, I told the judge that I felt it was his discretion. I talked about civil disobedience and about willingly accepting any consequences determined by the court, because it was my moral obligation to violate these harmful laws to raise awareness of the need for change in my home state.

Judge Oths then gave his judgement on my sentence.

He mentioned that I had been acquitted of some of the charges during trial (Obstruct & Delay).

He discussed my character references, and commented on the speech I had given during the first Smoke Out protest, part of which he had allowed to be played during my trial. He said that I had been respectful of the police when they asked me not to light the joint, and of the court while I represented myself during the proceedings. He also mentioned that I had been responsible by encouraging people to not bring their children to the smoke out.

Judge Oths pointed out that the protests had been peaceful which is definitely my right to freedom of speech. He said that during court, and the protests, I behaved like an adult and thanked me for my respect. He said he just thought I was going about it the wrong way and that I needed to have the threat of jail as part of my sentence, so that I would be deterred from violating Idaho law again. 

Judge Oths did agree with Enrique that I should have to pay the restitution to my so-called "victims" for the lab costs, but he didn't agree that I should have to pay for the presence of law enforcement at the protest, because they were going to be there regardless of if I was charged.

The official sentence was:

- 2 years unsupervised probation to run concurrent for all 6 charges,
with the condition of NO NEW CRIMES

- $100 fine to the Ada County Sheriff for the first case (where I was a passenger in a vehicle)
- 90 days for each charge in the first case for a total of 180 days (all suspended)

- $382.87 fine to the Idaho State Police for the 2nd & 3rd cases (New Years Smoke Outs)
- 180 days for each charge for a total of 720 days (all suspended)

So in total, $482.87 in restitution, and exactly 900 days held over my head, unsupervised, for 2 years.

(Commonly, probation violations may also be ordered to run concurrent so if I was to violate and be found guilty, it could be as little as 180 days, or as much as 3 years, depending on the judge's discretion.)

The sentence is definitely less demanding than the sentence recommendations that the original plea offer had promised had I just plead guilty to everything in the first case (obstruct & delay, possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia) - (see original offer) - which included 100 hours community service plus supervision costs $$$, and drug and alcohol classes + more costs $$$ (that I likely wouldn't pass because I would not be able to refrain from arguing against the lies they teach about Marijuana and I hear that is required.) Not to mention the addition of the other charges and any plea agreement had I taken it.

Then the Judge did something that completely took me by surprise.

In addition to filing the character reference affidavits I had received, I had also filed a Motion to Stay the Execution of the Sentence pending my planned appeal of the convictions.

I had expected the motion to be denied. I figured, as with my pretrial motions for appeal, it would be denied and I would have to ask the District Court or even the Supreme Court to stay my sentence when I appealed. I wasn't even sure that was going to work either and I knew there was a possibility that I would have to complete the sentence prior to having my appeal determined by the Idaho Appellate Court.

When asked about it, Enrique said I was premature to ask because I had filed it prior to being sentenced. He said that for the appeals, he wanted a clean record and wanted me to file a new one. (I'd filed it early, with combined motion for appeal bond/release - on attorney recommendation, in the hopes to prevent any immediate jail time should the judge have chosen that for my sentence.)

But Judge Oths granted my motion to stay!

He said that I preserved the record well for appeal, and that it was definitely a question of law regarding whether or not the court erred in denying me the Necessity Defense.

He even said he would create his own order for it so that it was a clean record for the appeal, and I didn't have to write a new one.

Meaning, once he creates that order, the entire sentence is stayed (stopped) until I receive a decision on my appeals. Including in the Idaho Supreme Court.

My family has retained an appellate attorney for me to begin the process. I now have Dennis Benjamin Esq. of  NEVIN, BENJAMIN, McCAY & BARTLETT , representing me for my appeals. After court, my new attorney impressed me by immediately filing the Notice of Appeal, just as I had asked. 

Which also immediately stayed the sentence for at least 14 days, pursuant to IRCP 83.

So, because of the immediate stay and the order the Judge has promised, I don't have to pay a dime, and my probation does not begin, until I have exhausted all appeal options.

And that's good.

Because according to the sentence I have been given, once it begins, I will be officially banned from Idaho under threat of arrest and, at max, almost 3 years in jail.

I will be essentially exiled for 2 years. 
All because I choose a better quality of life.

I don't think that the gentlemen at court yesterday knew what that sentence really meant for my life.

Both have shown themselves to be very good people, who are merely in positions of authority that must enforce Idaho law. I don't believe either truly agrees with Idaho's marijuana laws, just like majority of the people in the State.

And I definitely don't believe it was Judge Oths who made the decision to deny me the Necessity Defense. 

After getting to know Judge Oths during my trial, I truly believe that it was a higher up somewhere that had their hand in that one. Someone put their foot down and is forcing me to appeal and climb the ladder of courts if I want to use that defense. 

So, challenge accepted. I definitely will.

But I don't think that either Judge Oths, or Enrique, really understand what the sentence that was given truly means for me and my life, if I lose my appeals.

What I think they see:

No jail time was given. No community service. A great deal for 6 charges. Just pay some money and please stop protesting by trying to smoke joints at the capitol and leave your marijuana at home in Oregon.

The reality:

I am in exile. For good as a citizen, until Idaho changes their laws.

For 2 years in person, at least, I cannot even visit my family if I am to follow the requirements of probation. 

I cannot even cross the border. 

WHY?   -- Because I am a medical marijuana patient. 

Despite the denial of the defense, I still have necessity to use Marijuana.
Every single day. Multiple times a day.
It is necessary for me to use Marijuana to even get out of bed and move.
It is necessary for me to use Marijuana to be able to function in a normal way.
And it is definitely necessary to be able to care for my family.

What I think the gentlemen in that court didn't even realize is that because of Idaho's harmful marijuana laws, I broke the law every single time they saw me. I would not have even been able to even get to court, or present my own case, if I had not violated the law every time I left my house the entire time I lived in Idaho. 

It was necessary for me to use marijuana to even be able to repeatedly drive my car and to go stand in court. I couldn't have done it without Cannabis. Much less, would I have been able to represent myself in a 10 hour trial, or even be at sentencing yesterday. Or even have the ability and the time to write and submit any of my own paperwork.

I am officially disabled for a reason.
A very real reason.

And even now, living in Oregon, I break the law just by driving over the border to visit home. Even if I leave my medicine at home.

I was breaking the law merely standing in front of the judge while I was being sentenced yesterday.

Because, despite the court's disagreement, out of Necessity, I MUST BREAK IDAHO LAW to even set foot in Idaho. 

Because I am sick and Marijuana is my medicine.

According to Idaho Statute Title 37, Chapter 27 §37-2732C:

"It is unlawful for any person on a public roadway, on a public conveyance, on public property or on private property open to the public, to use or be under the influence of any controlled substance."

In order to go anywhere in Idaho, I MUST be under the influence of Marijuana.

Because in order to go anywhere at all, I MUST be under the influence of Marijuana.
Physical and medical necessity caused by my disability dictates these very certain terms.

I also must usually carry my medicine with me because it is used as needed and sometimes that need is abrupt and spontaneous because of the symptoms of my condition. It's either that, or I am forced to deal with immediate, extremely debilitating pain, among other physical complications.

I must carry my medicine, the same way people with most medical conditions carry their medicine, or I could be, what I call, "grounded" and unable to move.

So, if I lose my appeals and my sentence begins, then I will be guilty of violating my probation if I go to home, because it is a crime just for me to enter the state of Idaho. A crime I civilly and willfully disobey all of the time right now, because it is MY HOME and I have a right to be there. An imaginary line shouldn't decide if I can see my family.

If I am on probation, supervised or not, every time I enter, I will be in violation of that probation because I always have active marijuana metabolites in my system (and have had them in my system, daily, for the last 14 years), which is committing a new crime.

With almost 3 years of jail time over my head, that would officially put me in exile in order to truly submit to the terms of that probation. 

Officially banned from Idaho for choosing a better quality of life.

I wouldn't be able to go home for 2 years.
No holidays with my family.
No visiting my friends.
No taking my kids camping in Idaho's amazing forests.
No concerts or festivals.
No activism or rallying to change Idaho laws.
No visiting my mother's grave.
No crossing the border at all if I am truly going to be compliant with the terms of that probation.

But I will fight for my right to go home.

My adventures in Weed Court are definitely far from over.

And by granting a stay of sentence, Judge Oths has given me, at least, a little more time to fight back without violating the terms and being banished from my home for my choice in a nontoxic medicine.

So we are on to appeals, with the hopes of challenging and changing Idaho's Necessity Defense precedence back to what it should be - allowed in jury trial for all of Idaho's marijuana patients.

Thank you for your continued love & support!

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

My family has retained Dennis Benjamin as my appellate attorney, but does not have the ability to pay anything beyond the retainer. Mr. Benjamin charges $250 an hour, and is rumored to be one of the best appellate attorneys in Boise. He has been given $5,000 to start.

That really only equals out to 20 hours, and by the time transcripts required for appeal are paid, the amount of hours available will be much less.

Once that money runs out, it's done, and I will have to represent myself again.
And I will if I must.

I truly believe that we can actually make some changes in Idaho courts, so this will happen either way. But the longer I can keep Mr. Benjamin, the better.

Many have offered to help by donating. If anyone wishes to do so, they can donate at this fundraising campaign, or to me directly through PayPal, with my email address - serrafrank678@gmail.com

~~

HELP LEGALIZE IDAHO!

Legalize Idaho is a new, collaborated, community effort to reform Idaho's archaic Marijuana laws.
GET INVOLVED TODAY!

Learn more at www.legalizeidaho.org
#LegalizeIdaho

~~

Join Idaho Moms for Marijuana for the 4th Annual NEW YEARS SMOKE OUT!!
PUT IT ON YOUR CALENDAR AND JOIN US IN SUPPORT!
Help us demand reform of Idaho's laws!

Because prosecution isn't ever going to stop us from protesting.
And someday soon, we will light up on the Idaho Capitol steps!

~~

Follow me on Facebook to stay up to date with My Adventures in Weed Court
www.facebook.com/fourtwentymommy




Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Why I am HAPPY I was found GUILTY... My Adventures in Weed Court pt. 4


LISTEN UP IDAHO! 

This is what is happening to sick people who get caught choosing Medical Marijuana in your state. 

Last week, I was found GUILTY of 3 counts of possession of Marijuana and 3 counts of possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia.

See My Adventures in Weed Court pt. 1, pt. 2, & pt. 3


And this is why I am happy about it...


Throughout the last 13 years of my Cannabis activism, which began in Idaho, I've spoken with many people that have been charged with possession of marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia in my home state. I've talked to people across the state, and to fellow Idaho refugees I've encountered in legal states like Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and California.

I've learned the outcome of typical cases when an Idaho marijuana user, quite often a medical user, is sentenced after a guilty plea/verdict in an Idaho Marijuana case.  


They are offered/forced into Drug and Alcohol Classes, where they are forced to learn about ALL drugs, despite there not being a need, and told they have a problem with addiction because they choose to use a safer drug than opiates that Idaho doctors prescribe. Or they are told by the educators that they know the Marijuana laws suck, and the information is wrong, but they have to teach the course verbatim, because it's their job. 

They are given dozens of hours of Community Service, where physically disabled and fragile people are forced to serve and give up their precious time and energy, in order to repay the Idaho community for the heinous crime of wanting to feel better. 

They may be placed on Probation and supervised by tax payer dollars, in a system that makes money from urine testing it's citizens, to make sure that they are not, in fact, again using possibly the only medicine that helps them get through each day. 

There are also typically Fines, through numerous court costs and restitution fees, including for classes, community service, and probation - taking money from low income individuals who already live on an extremely tight budget - to supposedly to repay our society for a victim-less act. 

These "options" are often all given with suspended jail time, and taken to avoid Incarceration, but many end up losing their suspended time through a repeat offense or a dirty UA; and forced to serve a week or two, or even more, in county jails. Larger quantities can result in prison time. With incarceration comes, even more fines, and money paid to the State. And of course it goes to the State, when there isn't a victim to repay through restitution.

And the very worst for many Idaho patients, a guilty plea/verdict results in being told: 
NO MORE MARIJUANA!

Whether that is during incarceration or while under supervision. Or even, as a result of the fear of those things, the deterrent of the sentence works because people cannot afford to be charged again. So they quit using their medicine.

One can imagine the impact that could have upon someone already suffering from an intractable medical condition. Proper medical care isn't exactly available throughout incarceration. 


But even without incarceration, taking away the only medicine that many have been using for years to combat the symptoms of their condition, may likely exacerbate their condition and even have unforeseen complications, resulting in what many would view as cruel and unusual punishment. 

Corporal punishment, causing physical pain to someone as punishment for a crime, was ended in the late 18th-early 19th centuries because it was cruel and unusual. 

But that is precisely what happens to many Idaho patients forced to end the use of Marijuana to treat numerous painful medical conditions. 

Marijuana convictions in Idaho force medical patients to endure the pain and physical suffering of their conditions. It's either that, or they are forced into exile, and forced to move away from their home. But many choose to stay and violate the law again - because their pain relief and health is more important to them than some 50 year old law based on lies. And the consequences aren't a deterrent when physical pain is the other option.

Right now I await a sentence of some kind of combination of the above options. 

On April 26th, Judge Michael Oths will give me his decision on my punishment for using Marijuana as Medicine in Idaho. 

Event page - https://www.facebook.com/events/175976216377472/

So, why am I happy if these are the things I have to look forward to now that I have been found guilty? Especially with 6 similar charges, and a system that wants to make an example out of me?

Because it's ludicrous. 

It's ludicrous that an imaginary line is the only thing that separates Idaho marijuana policy from it's western neighbors - where Marijuana is legal for all adults who choose a safer drug than the alcohol that Idaho glorifies. 

And it's ludicrous that on the Idaho side of that line, sick and terminally ill people are being persecuted for merely choosing a better quality of life when our neighbors have had medical marijuana laws on the books for decades. 

It's ludicrous that Idahoans are cited, possibly arrested, and then prosecuted for choosing something that is legal next door. That sick people are thrust into a system where they are treated as criminals for merely choosing a better quality of life. 

Whether that is through plea bargain, or trial, a guilty verdict results with already disadvantaged people being under the authority of Idaho courts and the Idaho criminal justice system - a system which does not offer compassion or support for a sick citizen, but only punishment.

It's ludicrous that I can travel an hour or so away from the very court room in which I was convicted, and legally purchase and consume the very drug for which they have persecuted me. 

It's ludicrous that I was found guilty and I now await sentencing. A sentence that will be imposed, in my eyes, ONLY because the State played dirty.

I have been watching for the last few years, quietly observing first hand how medical marijuana patients are treated in the Idaho criminal justice system. 

The State definitely plays dirty. 

For whatever reason, the State wants to continue to punish sick people for using Medical Marijuana, at all costs. 

Even if it has to play dirty and pervert the justice of our system to do it.

As I wrote about previously, in 1990, Lynn Hastings was awarded the ability to present evidence as to necessity against felony cultivation charges for Marijuana. Lynn suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and used Cannabis to relief inflammation and joint pain. The Supreme Court of Idaho said that it is her right, and the right of Idaho citizens, to present a defense to such Necessity. 

But I was denied this defense at court last week. The State, through their prosecutors, did everything possible to ensure that I was not allowed to present the evidence that I have a necessity to use Marijuana in Idaho, despite the Hastings precedence.

Then, the State of Idaho, proceeded to use that necessity against me, knowing full well that I was correct in my request for the defense. They argued to the jury that I felt the laws didn't apply to me. They told the jury that I think that I am above these laws, but wouldn't allow me to tell the jury why I felt this way, despite that the argument had already been settled in the Supreme Court in the Hastings case.

The State of Idaho played dirty in court by denying my doctor's testimony or any of the 16 years of medical history showing the necessity that Marijuana has become in my life because of my extremely painful bladder condition and disability. 


The State played dirty by presenting the argument, yet denying mine. 


And it is my educated guess, that the state plays dirty all the time. 

The State of Idaho has found a way to deny citizens the necessity defense through a recent ruling about a man named Douglas Meyer, a Washington medical marijuana caretaker that provided for a friend, who was transporting medicine from one legal Marijuana state to another, and was arrested in Idaho. Meyer appealed the denial of Necessity Defense and the Supreme Court ruled against him, saying that he could have found a way to refrain from taking Marijuana into Idaho for the mere 8 hours he planned to be there.

But in the ruling on the case, Idaho vs. Meyer, the Supreme Court also gave the authority to determine the elements of the necessity defense to the judge, and I believe that is now being used to prevent sick Idahoans from presenting the necessity defense if they are charged for their medicine. 

THIS IS A DIRTY TRICK. 

But playing dirty is evil and wrong. And as long as the system is working correctly, playing dirty doesn't win in the end. Here is the thing about our criminal justice system, and why, despite all of it's corruption and deceit, I still strongly support it and believe in it. 

Because it is designed to protect it's citizens.

So, the reason I am happy I was found guilty is because I now have an opportunity to challenge these ludicrous laws and maybe actually change something. 

I have a chance to challenge the Meyers ruling, and push the Hastings precedence further. I have a chance to protect Idaho's citizens from The State's dirty tricks.

I know that had I been allowed Necessity Defense, that I would have been acquitted completely. My jurors were decent and compassionate people.

But I only had two options with this case, and only one option at trial. Necessity Defense and Jury Nullficiation were my only defenses. After being denied the Necessity Defense, I attempted to use Jury Nullficiation to get not guilty verdicts on all of charges. I couldn't come right out and say it, but instead had to build a story that encouraged it. I did so well, it took the prosecution 3/4 of the day to figure out what I was doing and when it was brought up to the court, it was too late to get a ruling to prevent it. And it worked with the Obstruct and Delay charge!

But I didn't really try it too hard with the Marijuana charges, for one reason:

If I had been found NOT GUILTY, then the case would be over.

And if the case was over, then I could not challenge the Necessity Defense ruling. 

And then sick and suffering Idahoans would continued to be persecuted for their medical choices, without any defense or legal recourse.

And yes, I believe that the sick and suffering people of Idaho should be above the law in this regard.

While it would have been awesome to be able to tell the world that Jury Nullification works in Idaho, the trial occurred, unfortunately, in the lowest court possible... Magistrate Court. 

The bottom of the totem pole when it comes to authority of law. 

An acquittal wouldn't have meant anything to really anyone except myself and my family. 

It wouldn't help Idahoans like me who believe that Cannabis saved their life and use it despite the laws, because the other option is nothing but misery.


The only place that matters when challenging an unjust law is in the Supreme Court, where precedence may be set and others may use the ruling in their own defense in the future.

And the only way to get to the Supreme Court is to have a final judgement of guilty from which to appeal the trial courts error of denying the defense, and then start climbing the ladder of appeals.

If the citizens of Idaho are going to have a chance to show that we are compassionate people who believe that our neighbors who are sick and hurting should not be punished for choosing a medicine that works, by saying not guilty when there is necessity - then Idahoans need to have the opportunity to present that necessity to their jury when charged with marijuana crimes.

And now, because of the guilty verdicts, I actually have the opportunity to challenge the dirty tricks that Idaho insists upon playing on it's citizens. I have the opportunity to appeal.


And I am very happy about that!

So, my adventures in Idaho Weed court continue...

I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your continued support. More to come!
#LegalizeIdaho