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Lindsey Rinehart is an activist from Idaho. On April 23, the state removed her children from her custody for three weeks. Read her story here. This letter is a message to her children to read in 15 years when they are adults, but really a message to all parents, moms and dads, who risk their own freedom to make the world a better place for their children.
Dear Laustin and Elijah,
I want to tell you why I am an activist, and it will be good for you both to know. I want to teach you through my activism. Your father and I are trying our best to raise you with love, peace, integrity and truth– things that are worth fighting for.
We want you to know compassion and understanding, and be at peace. We want you to know money doesn’t buy you happiness, but it could brighten your day, and others’ days. We want you to know generosity and practice it. Only you and Love are what will make you happy. That’s the idea behind being responsible for yourself in our world. We want you to have a bright future. We want you to look around and not see so many things that are unjust. It’s up to our generation to change things for you.
We want you to have room to be yourself, be free from corruption, and allowed to be who you are and do what you want to do. We want you to stand with those who can’t stand for themselves.
The world is so much bigger than all of us. We want you to be safe and happy in it. We want you to have clean energy with hemp, solar and wind. We want you to have a cleaner world with hemp. We want you to have a say in your government, your space, your world. We want money to not matter. There are so many things worth fighting for. Your family comes first.
“There are so many things worth fighting for. Your family comes first.”
I know my cannabis activism and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) brought us a world of trouble when you were smaller. I don’t want that to hinder you now that you are older. Don’t let it hold you back, don’t be afraid. I fight this fight for you, on behalf of others, and you. I fight it because there are so many more who can’t. I fight this fight because it is for freedom– freedom to have what we should all have, the right to be whoever we are as long as we’re not hurting others. The freedom to treat our illnesses without having to use pills that hurt us. The freedom to have a safer, cleaner planet.
I started my activism because I love cannabis and want to see it be free for us to have.
I started out in the freezing cold on January 1st, 2011 at Boise’s Willie Nelson Pot Party. Through circumstance, hard work and passion I wound up with the Idaho Medical Choice Act in my name after just four months, passed from another, after their hard work writing it. It was Idaho’s first medical cannabis petition and I was SO excited to fight for something I believe in, that I needed.
I knew if we could get medical marijuana in Idaho I could safely use it to treat my MS and not be on so many pills. I knew I could be a better mom if I wasn’t always sick. I know I have always had a loud voice. I always have wanted to use it for good. I knew if we had legal medical cannabis we would ALL be safe in our home for me to treat my illness and get better, but I also knew it was going to be a fight. Unfortunately we lost that battle so we had to be another thing that I want for both of you, tenaciousness. Don’t give up when you get knocked down!
We started educating people through festivals, marches, the internet, the news, and eventually, I even wound up talking about you and what happened at a national level because our state decided you both had to be brought into my activism and treatment. I was running our second petition An Initiative for Medical Marijuana and moving forward with all of our plans to get medical marijuana legal for all of the sick and dying in Idaho. That meant keeping YOU and other kids safe from the government because the war on cannabis was raging and we needed to be safe. I needed to be able to treat my MS with cannabis. I was getting sicker and sicker…
The police and Child Protective Services took you and my medicine. You were gone for 17 days and came back to us hurt, confused and mad.
It made me want to fight harder than ever before. They hurt you and I am mad. I always will be mad they took you. They took the cannabis I had so I started to get sicker and sicker. I wanted to get you both back and leave and fight from another state. They scared me from using my medicine. I knew if I did that no one would be safe. The support for you and our family was astronomical. It blows me away.
“It made me want to fight harder than ever before.”
We are still fighting this fight but we are trying to move our family to Oregon. I hope it’s one of the best decisions we could ever make. We are trying to keep you safe, and me safe, our family together. It isn’t easy for us to move away right now, in the middle of this fight. We want to teach you to never, ever give up on what you believe in, especially if you are doing the right thing. We aren’t giving up, we are just changing our location.
We cannot give up on Idaho. There are too many sick people who rely on us to change the laws for them that will still be there. I want to be safe when we visit. Don’t give up on yourself or others. Practice changing things through love and non-violence. We aren’t giving up, and we don’t want you guys to think we did either. We will still fight this fight because it is right. We want to lead by example.
Love You Both,
Mom & Dad