A Tennessee man’s attempt to make a point about marijuana legalization didn’t go over particularly well, considering that he allegedly tried to make the point by lighting up a joint in a courtroom, while he was already there to answer to a marijuana possession charge.
As CNN reports, Spencer Boston, 20, showed up at a Wilson County courtroom to answer for a simple charge of marijuana possession. It remains unclear, as of this writing, when Boston was initially charged with that crime, nor is it clear how much marijuana he allegedly possessed and how much time he was facing for it.
Nevertheless, as the proceedings got underway, Boston, instead of entering a plea or listening to the judge’s instructions, allegedly chose to use the time to instead lecture the court about the need for legalizing marijuana, as The Knoxville News Sentinel reports.
Then, Boston allegedly reached into his pocket and pulled out a marijuana cigarette — or a “joint,” as it’s colloquially called — and a match and allegedly lit it, presumably attempting to get a couple of puffs in.
Court security officers approached Boston and took him into custody, even as a “cloud of smoke” began appearing in the room. The sheriff would later say that the marijuana Boston allegedly smoked had a “strong odor.” The audience reportedly burst into laughter.
Boston, for his part, yelled, “The people deserve better!” as he was led away.
Boston was charged with disorderly conduct and simple possession, according to police. He will also be held for 10 days for contempt of court, after which he’ll be required to post $3,000, according to jail records.
Lieutenant Scott Moore, with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, says via Nashville’s WTVF that he believes Boston planned the stunt to make a statement.
“I think he knew what he was doing before he came to court,” Moore said.
Boston certainly made an impression on Wilson County Sheriff Robert Ryan.
“One of the craziest things I’ve seen,” he said.
As of this writing, 11 states have legalized marijuana, and multiple others have legalized it for recreational use.
Tennessee, however, is not one of those states, and indeed, the possession of even “small amounts” is a misdemeanor. Tennessee’s two largest cities, Nashville and Memphis, attempted to introduce local ordinances that would decriminalize possession of small amounts, but in April 2017 then-Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill that would prohibit local governments from enacting decriminalization ordinances, effectively nullifying the Nashville and Memphis laws.