By William R. Toler
That was one of the chants shouted outside the Henderson County Courthouse Friday as nearly two dozen people came out to support Todd Stimson and medical marijuana. Most supporters held signs, while others chose to join Stimson in the courtroom for moral support.
Stimson is a grower of medical marijuana in the small town of Fletcher and runs the Blue Ridge Medical Cannabis Research Corporation. Men with guns and badges from four jurisdictions raided his home July 11, pointing guns at his daughters.
“They had a rifle on my youngest daughter,” he told WYYF-TV. “Told her to get off the phone with her grandmother. They put her hands on top of her head, when you can tell that she’s a teenager and a child. I just don’t understand why they came in the way they did, with army fatigues and everything. It’s very emotional, I’m sorry, whenever I have to talk about that part.”
The rally started around 8 a.m., including members of the Libertarian Party of Henderson County and the Blue Ridge Liberty Project holding signs about the benefits of medicinal marijuana and encouraging jury nullification. Members of the band Jahman Brahman were also on scene for support before heading to their next gig.
Several veterans and a former Hendersonville police officer were among the group standing on the sidewalks, garnering support of passersby either by honking or a thumbs up. A few members of the community came out to hold signs after seeing the demonstration. Two drivers even gave small donations, unsolicited, for Stimson’s legal defense.
“We had a very positive reception from the public,” said Phil Mccanless, a local libertarian. Most drivers that acknowledged the crowd seemed supportive, with a few middle fingers and disgruntled stares and two retorts of “Get a job!”
When Stimson went in to court, he was hit with a few surprises. First, his appearance had been removed from the docket. Second, two new felony trafficking charges were added. His next court date is scheduled for Aug. 26 in Superior Court.
Following his appearance, Stimson met Brian Lyda, who is currently facing eight felony charges for a similar operation. The two spoke for 20 minutes, swapping anecdotal accounts of people that they’ve helped with medical marijuana. Lyda said he plans to take his fight to the end.
Full disclosure: I first met Stimson at the state Libertarian convention back in June. I was intrigued that he had jumped through the legal hoops of the state to operate his business. I had planned to come up and interview him during my vacation.
A month later, he was raided.
It just so happened that his court date coincided with my vacation, so I decided to swing down to Henderson County and check it out. Little did I know that I would help organize Friday’s event by setting up a Facebook event page, inviting people to show up, and post pictures throughout the day.
It may seem unethical in today’s corporate media to participate in something like this while covering it. But I say, bollocks. Most of the alternative media is made up of activists and, a lot of the time, they do a better job of being a watchdog then the rest of what was the fourth estate.
So, yes, I took photos and wrote a story, and also put on my activist hat. Actually, it was a shirt…reading “No victim, no crime.”
As an individual who supports liberty, I will not sit idly by while a peaceful man, who loves to give hugs, is harassed and threatened by agents of the state for growing a plant–that some individuals claiming to represent “the people” have decided is “illegal”–to help people with medical issues.
If that makes me less of a journalist in someone else’s opinion, so be it. I don’t need their approval.
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