(This was the basis for the speech I gave at the Idaho Moms for Marijuana New Year's Smoke Out. Parts were stated during the press conference portion of the rally, and others were used as parts of my speech on Civil Disobedience)
Anyone who uses Marijuana in the state of Idaho commits an act of civil disobedience every time they light up. The difference between that and today, is that those acts are committed behind closed doors, in secrecy, and in fear.
I was arrested last week for my own silent act of civil disobedience. I am forced to commit these crimes every single day just so I can have a better quality of life and the ability to be a mother, and not be lost to my children because I’m in bed all the time from constant pain or intoxicated on opiate pharmaceuticals. I was a passenger in a vehicle and was intimidated and forced out of the vehicle without a warrant by the Ada County Sheriff’s deputies, and then cited for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, and taken to jail.
This rally had already been planned but after my arrest, suddenly everyone who cares about me was concerned about me getting arrested again today. It would look bad in court, some said. Several people even asked me to cancel it. And they had every reason to be fearful for my freedom.
Lieutenant Brad Doty from the Idaho State police contacted me before Christmas to open a dialogue about the rally. He stated that "The Idaho State Police provides public safety across the State of Idaho through law enforcement excellence." He confirmed that they most certainly will be monitoring the event and to keep in mind ISP will take the appropriate action if any violations of law are observed.
I responded and invited him to join us today. I explained that Civil disobedience at protests such as this is defined by the peaceful disregard for the law and the willingness to face any consequences that may follow in an effort to raise awareness of the issue at hand.
I asked him to provide me with a list of statues that he anticipated would be a law violation his agency will be looking for today, so that I can pass the information on to you so can all make educated decisions before you join me in this act of civil disobedience.
He sent me a list of the commonly used codes including:
Possession of Paraphernalia 37-2734(A)
Possession of a Controlled Substance 37-2732(c)3
Possession of Marijuana more than 3 ounces 37-2732(e) FELONY
Use or be under the influence of a controlled substance in public 37-2732C(a)
He said his suggestion is, if it is anticipated someone will be subject to detention/arrest, that they:
Cooperate with Law Enforcement orders or requests
Have a photo I.D.
Do not have extra personal property
Do not have minors present or minors that are your responsibility
Do not have weapons (other Idaho codes may apply if under the influence)
and Do not destroy evidence.
He informed me that it is the intent of the Idaho State Police to allow individuals to express themselves in a manner that does not place life and/or property at risk and/or violate state law. Individuals that place life and/or property at risk and/or violate state law will be dealt with accordingly.
So the threat of arrest is real and as you can see, very present today. To me it is obvious that smoking a joint on the capitol steps does not place life and/or property at risk. That is the purpose of this… the demand an aswer to the question “WHO ARE WE HURTING”
But the laws are very real and the choice to participate in this act of disobedience is a personal decision, and one that is not to be made lightly. The risks include up to year in jail and a $1,000 fine for each of those charges.
So each and every one of you has a personal choice to make, just as these officers also have a personal choice to make. These officers here are doing their job. It isn’t up to them what laws are in effect. Their job is to merely use discretion about whether or not to enforce those laws. They do have the option to not enforce unjust laws just as we have the option to not obey them. And that is their own personal choice that each officer must make themselves.
If we don’t want officers to have a choice to enforce these outdated marijuana laws, then we need to change the laws. And the only way to do that is by registering to vote and signing New Approach Idaho’s petition by April to get it on the ballot for this November. The guys and gals that work in this grand building here behind me have made it very clear they are not going to do it any time soon, so it is up to us to get it done...
I first planned this rally, because of my disgust over Idaho’s obstinate refusal to show compassion to it’s people and change these archaic laws. I was angered over being forced to choose between my family being ripped apart so that my 3 year old daughter, Lilly, can be moved from her home here in Idaho to Southern California with her father so that she can have safe access to medical marijuana to treat her MRSA, or choose to treat her with it here, illegally just as I do for myself every day, and risk my family being ripped apart any by Child Protective Services or the police because of their ignorant view of this amazing medicine.
And those reason still have not changed. My daughter is not still home, and I every single day I still face a new charge, that carries jail time. I have no other choice. The purpose of an act of civil disobedience is to raise awareness of the issue to help change the laws. If I allow my current charge to prevent that from happening by canceling the rally today, then my other silent act of civil disobedience for which I am now facing prosecution, would likely otherwise go unnoticed, and not help change anything, just like with so many others who suffer the State’s illogical persecution for choosing a nontoxic plant over toxic pharmaceuticals.
Our society’s evolution is filled with acts of civil disobedience that helped write history and right now history is being written again in Marijuana reform, after 80 years of oppression and injustice. The people of Idaho want these laws to change and we will change them sooner or later. It’s just a matter of time.
And 20 years from now, 100 years from now, our future generations will look back at our actions and balk at the injustice the same way we look back on all those who paved the way for progress in this world with their acts of civil disobedience.
History is on our side and we will prevail.
And just as those who came before us in the history that built our societies, every person has a choice to make and a side to take, and will be known for whether or not they took a stand against these harmful injustices or silently allowed or even participated in allowing them to continue.
Aristotle - Ancient Greek Philosopher
It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.
Martin Luther King, Jr. - we all know as leader of the Civil rights movement
"One has a moral responsibility to obey just laws.
Conversely, one has moral obligation to disobey unjust laws."
"Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good."
"An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over it’s injustice is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law."
Mahatma Gandhi - leader of the Indian independence movement during british ruled India.
"Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state becomes lawless or corrupt."
"An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for it’s breach is more so. Now the law of non-violence should be resisted not by counter-violence but by non-violence. This I do by breaking the law and by peacefully submitting to arrest and imprisonment."
Oscar Wilde - the Irish playwright
"Disobedience in the eyes of any who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made."
And my personal favorite:
Our founding father and defender of all of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...
President Thomas Jefferson -
This isn’t just about me and my family. This isn’t about the risk of going to jail. Idaho’s children, young and old alike, are suffering and I can no longer sit by and allow their lives to continue to be destroyed over something that is so beneficial to us all.
So, in the shadows of those who paved the way to progress before us, and through their historic guidance. For my friends and my neighbors. For my family, and my children, and my children’s children. For all of our future generations and for each and every one of you and your families - I stand here, in front of MY Capitol Building, as a citizen of this great state, obligated by conscience, to demand the reform of Idaho’s outdated and harmful marijuana laws, and willfully and civilly disobey.