When I was 20, I did some pretty stupid shit. It was barely balanced out by doing some pretty cool shit, a small fraction of which still holds up today to the merciless scrutiny of the young peoples.
But much as the meme proclaiming that while “you may be cool, but you’ll never be ‘Johnny Cash eating a birthday cake high in the bushes’ cool”, nothing I did at age 20 is as cool as the recent actions of one very brave, and, seemingly, very stoned, 20-year-old in the Dirty South.
Sir, stoners everywhere salute you.
NBC TV affiliate WSVM recounts the soon-to-be-folk-legend of brave, bearded, and not surprisingly tie-dye T-shirt clad Spencer Alan Boston, age 20, who was in court to address a minor cannabis possession charge in the hotbed of progressive cannabis policy that is Lebanon, Tennessee.
Criminal court appearances are dour affairs which come with potentially serious repercussions for your transgressions. If there was ever a time to straighten up and fly right, little mister, this would be it. “Yes, your Honor” and “Thank you, your Honor” is usually what most people meekly bleat out. Grovel, pay your fine, and go home.
But then there is Spencer: poster man-child for cannabis DGAF attitude. He opted for a different, braver path, and as WSVM reports:
Spencer Boston was called to discuss his case before General Sessions Judge Haywood Barry. Spencer was talking about how marijuana needed to be legalized. He reached into his pocket and pulled out what appeared to be a rolled marijuana cigarette. He placed it in his mouth, then pulled out a book of matches and lit it and began to smoke the rolled cigarette. The cigarette gave off the odor of burning marijuana.
The courtroom erupted into laughter at Spencer’s action, disrupting the normal daily activity in the court.
ABC affiliate WBKO adds, “Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan called the incident ‘one of the craziest things I’ve seen’ in an interview… adding that Boston was led out of the courtroom through a cloud of smoke.” (You can watch Spencer in action in the video clip captured in the courtroom here.)
This is a brass balls/ovaries move in a part of the country where the only burning bush welcomed in every school, home, and especially courtroom is the one that reportedly spoke to Moses.
I’m hoping that was a really potent joint, because as Merry Jane explains:
In addition to his original possession charge, Boston was charged with disorderly conduct and a second count of possession.
For these two misdemeanor possession charges, Boston can face up to a year in prison for each charge, with mandatory fines of $250 for the first offense, and $500 for the second. The judge also added an additional ten days in jail for contempt of court.
Although many Tennessee towns and cities are filled with progressive people, their efforts to address cannabis reform have been stymied. It remains one of the very few states which does not have even a semblance of a medical cannabis program.
Ordinances successfully passed in Nashville and Memphis would have allowed citation instead of arrest for mimor cannabis offenses, freeing up valuable law enforcement agencies and reducing (somewhat) the impact on communities of color who are consistently targeted in cannabis enforcement.
Except that in 2017, the Governor signed a law which snuffed those ordinances out. It remains a state where you do not wish to be found to have cannabis upon your person when respecting the ah-thor-ah-tay of local constables.
Sending Spencer good energy for his upcoming sentencing.