A Swat team pointed guns at my children looking for marijuana

Almost 9 years ago our home was raided by the local drug task force. My 19 year old daughter was pulled out of bed with a gun to her head and the entire house was searched. After 2 hours they found 1.5 grams of cannabis, a smoke apparatus and an old non-working grow light. She was hauled off to jail, was charged with felony distribution, felony manufacturing and misdemeanor possession, the penalty if found guilty, 26 years. My families life was changed forever and our activism began instantaneously. We struggled through the next two years in and out of court, meeting with lawyers and talking to anyone that would listen. WE are NOT CRIMINALS and What about the children? was our mantra and still is. We respectfully declined all of the plea deals that were offered and choose to take the case to the jury. We had not found anyone after speaking with over 600 folks that said they would convict. We felt very confident. On the day of court, they gave an overview of their case, which was going to be easily disproved. Our lawyer was called to the bench and she was offered a deal that we couldn’t refuse. We are criminalizing an entire generation for what used to be called a youthful indiscretion. These young people are not criminals and many of them choose cannabis over alcohol because it is safer, while other may be self medicating, due to the illegality of cannabis in our state. We were also turning our community into a community of confidential informants, where no one trusted their neighbors, or best friends. Shortly after her trial was over, our sheriff was up for re-election. We had asked those 600 people to support his opponent, while working hard for his opponent’s campaign. The incumbent sheriff lost by a 2 – 1 margin in every district. Each person can make a difference. Now it is time for us all to amplify our voices through our support of NORML,