Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Paid The Idaho Tax by USA Hemp Museum's Richard M. Davis

I PAID THE IDAHO TAX
By Richard M. Davis
Founder and Curator of the USA HEMP MUSEUM
www.hempmuseum.org
          
I paid the Idaho tax.  I was just passing through Idaho on Interstate 15, on Sunday, August 15, returning to my home in California from the Bozeman Hempfest in Montana when I was pulled over by an Idaho State Trooper for having large HEMP signs in my back windows.  His keen nose detected an odor.  Just a few miles south of Idaho Falls, after it was determined I was not impaired, I was asked to stand 20 yards from the car while four police cars with state troopers and a dog searched through the 350 pounds of hemp exhibits in my car, a 1992 Honda Civic with 227,000 miles on it and with a large hemp plant on a rack on top.

At the end of what seemed like a couple of hours in the hot sun, the troopers and the pot dog had come up with a small jar of medical marijuana salve I made to use on my hands to prevent skin cancer (which I’ve had twice), a small stub of a medical marijuana cigarette, and some homemade pills containing powdered medical marijuana leaf.  I was called back to the car where the pot dog officer was to watch me repack some goods and load the car.  I saw him reach into the grass beside the freeway and pull out a small baggie which he asked if it was mine.  This got trooper number one excited and he showed me the tiny baggie with another baggie inside and said he could see a crystal inside the bag.  I saw nothing, but at age 69, I do use reading glasses for close work.  He said he was filming the stop and if I was seen dropping the baggie I was doomed.

I was allowed to put the 350 pounds of hemp exhibits back in the car, whereupon the car was towed and I was placed in handcuffs, read my rights and arrested by the trooper who stopped me.

Off I went to the Bonneville County Jail, just north of Idaho Falls.  My name is Richard Davis, and I own and am curator of the largest collection of hemp related goods in the world – the U.S.A. Hemp Museum.  You can see it on the web at www.hempmuseum.org.  

I am a medical marijuana patient in California and had made a good faith effort to clean up the car of my medical exhibits and personal medicine.  Montana is also a medical marijuana legal state and as such I did not feel the need to transport my extensive collection of medical marijuana and its exhibits and paraphernalia to Montana.  Had I done so I might still be in Idaho.

At the jail, the state trooper called in and a large rollup door opened to let him drive me into a receiving area where I was turned over to the county police for booking into the jail.  I was being charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, two charges both misdemeanors that require $300 bond each for me to be released from jail.  Luckily, I had been given gas and lodging money by the Bozeman Hempfest people and $754 dollars was taken from my wallet and envelopes from my vest so I could post bond, promise to appear in court the next day for arraignment, and be released.  

All the possessions I had on my person were recorded and bagged right down to my suspenders.  I answered questions about my medical history, signed forms for the next hour.  Next I was placed in a holding cell with glass door and windows so that I could see others in the jail.  In all, I saw seven other inmates in other holding cells.  After another hour passed I was called out (the door magically unlocked) and told to sit on a chair below the command center which was a couple of steps higher than the cell level.

I was sitting just outside a holding cell where I could hear moaning and other noises coming from within.  This is where Jeff was being held.  I knew his name because the jail nurse came pushing a large cart that was parked in front of me and started getting medication for Jeff.  She called for an officer to open the door of Jeff’s cell.  “Did you bring my meds,” Jeff said.  The nurse then proceeded to tell Jeff the names of the medications she had brought.  I had never heard of any of the drugs she named, but she did say to Jeff he would only get half a dose because it was for psychiatric problems.

Another hour passed during which I had my picture taken.  Then it was Jeff’s turn to be fingerprinted and photographed.  Jeff was much bigger than the deputy who was escorting him, but the deputy was talking and making friends with Jeff.  “Are you doing ok on those meds Jeff,” he said.  Jeff passed me and we shook hands.  I heard Jeff say to the deputy as he was being fingerprinted just around the corner, “The meds help, but what I really need is a big fat joint.”  And that really made me smile. 

When I was ready to leave, Jeff was standing by the window in his cell looking at me as I put on my Tilley hat decorated with pot leaf pins.  “Where you going,” Jeff yelled.  “To California,” I replied.  Without hesitation Jeff yelled, “Smoke a fatty of chronic for me when you get back.”  “I’ll smoke two, Jeff, one for you and one for me.”

One of the papers I had to sign was a promise to appear in court the next day in Idaho Falls for arraignment.  I then found myself out on the street in an industrial area some five miles from where I needed to go.  The deputy had tried to draw a map, but it left a lot to the imagination.  They had taken all my cash and given me a check for the remainder, then offered to call me a cab.  Thanks.  A couple of hours later I walked into the motel I had stayed at going to Montana a few days earlier.  I cashed my check and went to Shari’s Diner before I crashed.

Court was at 1:00pm and a much shorter walk so I was very early.  I walked along the Snake River Greenbelt behind the falls that give Idaho Falls its name for what seemed like a couple of miles.  I was happy I wasn’t sore from the night before. 

At court we were instructed that some of us were eligible for an early resolution conference with the prosecutor, a new program for the county.  My name was called.  I wanted him to drop the charges, but early resolution means you plead guilty to something, you pay the tax, court costs and fees and they let you go.  I plead guilty to possession.  He made it clear, and so did the judge, that no amount of marijuana was legal in Idaho, even if it was your medicine.  One hundred days in jail was suspended, the other count was dropped and the judge went along with our deal.  Except for picking up my car at some unknown location I was done.  Total tax for driving through Idaho was $840.  I paid the Idaho tax.

Moral of the story is if you drive through Idaho with a large dry pot plant on the roof of your car; don’t put large HEMP signs in your rear windows.  No signs are allowed on back windows in Idaho.   

Back to work!


           

4 comments:

CodyFerguson said...

I am personally from Idaho Fallsbut now now residing in Oregon. I feel for you and your story because i have too been accosted and harassed for stupid little thing related to pot.... hens the reason i no longer live there! I will be posting your story everywhere i can just to spread the word! Stay strong & OneLove my friend!

Tammy said...

It never ceases to amaze me what the state of Idaho will come up with (Idaho Falls in particular)! I thought I had heard the craziest, but your story is the TOPS! This is the exact reason my son of 18 yrs. Moved to Bend, Oregon in search of his medical card for his back...way too young to have to literally roll out of bed onto his hands & knees, then after the spasms subside (usually 10-20 min.) Get up & continue his day in pain. I just HAD to forward your story to him, I knew it would bring back sooooooooo many memories :)! Even though he is in constant pain, Idaho Falls in his rear view mirror, still brings a smile to his face...and your story will, I'm sure, give him a laugh or two. Our agenda @ this time is, first & foremost, after 4 years, getting his medical card, then.....gettin my butt to Bend!

Tammy said...

It never ceases to amaze me what the state of Idaho will come up with (Idaho Falls in particular)! I thought I had heard the craziest, but your story is the TOPS! This is the exact reason my son of 18 yrs. Moved to Bend, Oregon in search of his medical card for his back...way too young to have to literally roll out of bed onto his hands & knees, then after the spasms subside (usually 10-20 min.) Get up & continue his day in pain. I just HAD to forward your story to him, I knew it would bring back sooooooooo many memories :)! Even though he is in constant pain, Idaho Falls in his rear view mirror, still brings a smile to his face...and your story will, I'm sure, give him a laugh or two. Our agenda @ this time is, first & foremost, after 4 years, getting his medical card, then.....gettin my butt to Bend!

Tammy said...

One last question.....whatever happened with or to the "baggie" in question?