Radical Rant: Nevertheless, Boise Hempfest Persisted


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My 4/20 festivities begin this year in one of the worst places to celebrate the holiday: Boise, Idaho. I’m speaking at the Boise Hempfest at Julia Davis Park on Saturday. 

I don’t mean my critique of “worst places” to impugn the Hempfest, the park, the city or the state. The event is officially licensed by Seattle Hempfest, which I respect to the utmost. Serra Frank and the other activists who make it possible are some of the bravest people I know. It’s a lovely park right on the Boise River in an amphitheater I’ve performed in many times during my 20th century music career. Idaho is a naturally beautiful state, and its people are good, honest, hard-working folks.

I mean Idaho is one of the worst places to celebrate 4/20 under the law.

As of the time I’m writing this, West Virginia has sent a pharmaceuticalized cannabinoids law to the desk of the governor to sign. The legislatures of South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Indiana have all worked on low-THC medical CBD oil laws this session.

That leaves Idaho as the only state with absolute marijuana prohibition (no legal, no medical, no CBD) that didn’t even try to reform marijuana laws this session.

Not that they’ve never tried.

In 2015, they were among the states that passed CBD oil laws. But Idaho’s governor (and perfect name for a dyke furry-porn star) Butch Otter became the first and only one to veto such a measure. In his veto statement, Otter said the bill “asks us to look past the potential of misuse and abuse with criminal intent.”

Time hasn’t softened his stance.

In January, Otter told the Idaho Freedom Foundation that a medical marijuana state governor told him it was a “disaster” because “almost anybody who goes into the doctor with a hangnail in some of those states can get a medical marijuana card.”

I’m not sure which state Otter is referencing where criminals are abusing CBD oil laws that don’t allow cannabis cultivation and patients are faking hangnails to get this non-psychoactive oil only kids with severe epilepsy can use. Perhaps the Commonwealth of Bullshittia?

Many of you live under prohibition, as you do not qualify under your state’s medical marijuana law. But most of you live where you must be in possession of marijuana to be breaking the law.

Not Idaho.

Boise Hempfest has the following legal disclaimer in their website’s footer: “According to Idaho Statute 37-2732C(a), it is ILLEGAL to use or be under the influence of a controlled substance in public.” That statute comes with a misdemeanor criminal record, a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

[Note: Wyoming and New Jersey have similar laws, but the penalties are lower. South Dakota has the worst law. It criminalizes “ingesting substance(s), except for alcoholic beverages, for the purpose of becoming intoxicated,” so you needn’t even be “under the influence.” It also specifically allows for prosecution, even if the substance is legal where you ingested it. A THC molecule in your body is a misdemeanor with a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.]

On Thursday night, I’ll smoke marijuana while I am in Oregon, perfectly legally. On Friday, I’ll drive across the state. When I cross the Snake River into Idaho, I will be committing a misdemeanor. The active THC will still be detectable in my blood, even after a night’s sleep and a day’s drive. While I won’t be “under the influence” in the sense of feeling any sort of high, I think I would be under the letter of the law.

I intend to find out. From the amphitheater stage, I will announce that a misdemeanor crime is in progress and I need police attention.

A crime with a penalty equal to the punishment for stealing someone’s television.

A crime with a penalty equal to the punishment for punching a pregnant woman.

A crime with more of a penalty than first offense driving under the influence.

And that crime is me, standing here, under the influence of the marijuana I smoked legally in Oregon two days ago.

After I called the state’s drug czar a chicken for bailing on debating me last year, I got a visit at my motel room from law enforcement. Fortunately, I’ve attended many NORML Legal Seminars and learned 4th Amendment and police procedure law from top experts. I don’t surrender my rights willingly and didn’t get a free ride in a cop car that night.

So, we’ll see whether I get to explain the law to the crowd or we get a demonstration of its enforcement.

Previously in Radical Rant: West Virginia Becomes 5th Pharmaceuticalized Cannabinoids State
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