Multiple Sclerosis Patient, Her Husband and Another MMJ Activist Fight to Get Their Children Back

On Monday Lindsey and Josh Rinehart gathered on the steps of the Idaho statehouse in Boise with some supporters to protest Idaho’s stance on medical marijuana and the taking of the couple’s children and another woman’s children by authorities.

The children were taken by officials after marijuana and paraphernalia were found in the Rinehart home. Lindsey says she uses marijuana for medical purposes, even though Idaho has no legal protections for such activity.

“I have multiple sclerosis,” Rinehart told told a local TV station. “I am not a criminal because my kids were taken away.”

According to police, the investigation of the couple started when the school where the kids went reported that one of them had allegedly eaten a marijuana brownie and had fallen ill.

“Based on the fact that there was one small child that had become ill and needed medical assistance from the school nurse, officers immediately began to investigate,” police said in a press release. “Officers learned from talking to witnesses the marijuana reportedly came from a home on the 2900 block of W. Malad St. (The child who became ill at school does not live at this residence but is acquainted with the residents, including children there).

“Concerned for the safety of children at the residence, officers went to the Malad St. home that afternoon. They found four children ages 5 – 11 being cared for by a babysitter. Officers were told the parents were not at home, were at a retreat and would not accessible by telephone. The babysitter allowed officers inside the home after officers explained to her what had happened at school and that there was a concern for the children, concern specifically for the child who may have brought marijuana to the school and may have access to substances that could potentially harm that child or others.

“Inside the house, officers found drug paraphernalia, items commonly used to smoke marijuana, and a quantity of a substance that appeared to be marijuana in locations inside the house accessible to the children.”

There are yet to be any criminal charges in the case, but the couple’s children were taken nonetheless.

Lindsey Rinehart

Lindsey Rinehart

“You don’t remove a patient’s children for having cannabis,” Rinehart said. “This is why we fight to change the rules in Idaho. This is the perfect example of why.”

If one of the children did indeed bring marijuana in some form to school, there was obviously a lack of supervision occurring. Whether that rises to the level of taking their children into custody is another thing altogether.

The story takes a new twist, however, when we learn that Lindsey Rinehart is not only an activist, but is the chief petitioner for Idaho’s medical marijuana initiative. In fact, two of the four children under the care of the babysitter referenced by police above belonged to another activist, Sarah Caldwell, who is the financial director for Moms for Marijuana International.

They dispute the brownie story, and if it is indeed false, this incident has retribution written all over it. A message, if you will, from authorities seeking to close the mouths of these three activists. But as you can imagine, this event has done just the opposite, and now the light of the marijuana law reform community is on Idaho and the draconian drug laws the citizens there still live under.

– Joe Klare

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