BOISE -- Two outspoken medical marijuana activists continue to rally support for marijuana legalization, despite the search of their home and seizure of their children last Tuesday.
Lindsey and Josh Rinehart spoke in support of medical marijuana legalization, carried signs, and talked to members of the media at Monday's rally on the Statehouse steps.
About a dozen others joined the Rineharts in their cause. Many were from the pro-pot group Compassionate Idaho.
The event comes almost a week after police say they searched the Rinehart's home, finding marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The search resulted in the couple's two children being turned over to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
Rinehart admits to having the pot for medical reasons, but says the seizure of her children was wrong.
'I AM NOT A CRIMINAL'
"I have multiple sclerosis," Rinehart told KTVB. "I am not a criminal because my kids were taken away."
Boise Police say the investigation started last week after a school official reported an 11-year-old child had apparently eaten some marijuana and was feeling ill. Officers say the child was not one of the Rinehart's children.
Police say they traced the marijuana to the Rinehart's home on Malad Street in Boise. That's where they reportedly found found illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia in areas commonly used by children between five and 11-years-old.
While she admits to having illegal cannabis in her home, Rinehart believes she should be able to use it for medical purposes, and also she says she's fighting to get her boys back.
"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."
Boise Police say evidence found at the house continues to be the subject of a ongoing criminal investigation that has not yet resulted in criminal charges.
The department published this release on Monday in response to public interest in the case:
On April 23, 2013, shortly after 4:00 p.m. Boise Police were contacted by an official with a local school about a child who had apparently eaten a substance that was making the child ill. The child, age 11, had sought medical treatment from the school nurse. The substance was identified as being marijuana. The school called Boise Police.
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. 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.
The patrol officers on scene then contacted narcotics investigators who secured a search warrant signed by a judge and continued their investigation. Evidence found at the house continues to be the subject of a ongoing criminal investigation that has not yet resulted in criminal charges.
At the same time, patrol officers contacted detectives with the BPD Special Victims Unit.
Based on the fact that illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia were located in an area that appeared to be commonly used by the children in the residence and the fact that one child had already become ill from ingesting what he assumed was marijuana, and the inability to contact the children’s parents, detectives made the decision to contact Idaho Health and Welfare officials and place the children in imminent danger, meaning they were placed in the protective custody of the state until it can be determined they are in a safe environment.
This case remains under investigation.
Typically, information on cases that remain under investigation is not released by the Boise Police Department. However, the suspects in this case have chosen to identify themselves and the department believes it is in the public interest to clarify that evidence in a criminal investigation led officers to the Malad St home.
More information will be released on this investigation as it becomes available.