The town square in Lebanon, Tennessee. Photo: Eric Polk(Epolk)
The town square in Lebanon, Tennessee. Photo: Eric Polk(Epolk)

On Monday 27 January 2020, 20-year-old long-haired beardie weirdie Spencer Boston appeared in court in Lebanon in Wilson County, Tennessee, charged with possession of cannabis. Tennesee does not allow the usage of cannabis for recreational or even medical purposes. He represented himself.

Boston’s “baloney”

Standing before Judge Haywood Barry, Boston described the prohibition of cannabis as “very unfair” because it is “a very harmless drug” and has “been around for ages”. The judge interrupted him, commenting that he’d heard this “baloney” too many times; he didn’t care whether using cannabis was right or wrong, but it was against the law, and it was his job to see the law enforced.

The town square in Lebanon, Tennessee. Photo: Eric Polk(Epolk)

The town square in Lebanon, Tennessee. Photo: Eric Polk(Epolk)

Time for a joint

To strengthen his point, Boston pulled a joint and a book of matches from his jacket and sparked up. The courtroom’s video caught the episode. Boston inhaled a few times before security personnel intervened, taking his joint, handcuffing him and escorting him from the courtroom. He was rewarded with laughter and cheers from the public. While being led out, he turned to the gallery and declared, “The people deserve better!”

… meaning it’s time for jail

Boston has now been charged with disorderly conduct, possession of cannabis and contempt of court. The last of these immediately earned him 10 days in the clink. Robert Bryan, a local sheriff, remarked that this was “one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen.”

Boston’s reason

According to Boston, “I knew for a fact I was going to be sitting in a jail cell…. He didn’t want to hear nothing about it, so I did what I planned on doing anyway and pulled it out and lit it up and addressed the people.”

To Boston, simply protesting achieves little: “I’m just another person protesting.” He’s sure his gesture accomplished more, and, after his stunt with a joint received international attention so many times, one has to agree. The joint, Boston stated, contained “very good stuff.”

Not everybody was laughing

Lt. Scott Moore of the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department condemned Boston: “When you go into a courtroom, it demands respect, and it was not given yesterday…. Disrespect is disrespect.” He did, however, admit, “I’ve been here 20 years, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen that.” There are people who are willing to stump up Boston’s $3,000 bail. A GoFundMe page bears the comment: “Spencer was taken into custody for bein a true fuckin savage!! free this man!!!!!” At the time of writing, it had received $7,075.

Lebanon resident Jessica Davis professed herself amused by Boston’s antics: “Even though everyone in this town’s laughing” but added, “I think his parents are really disappointed.”

One social media user made the very valid comment about the wisdom of producing a joint in court: “Kudos to the guy for making his point, but he is lucky he wasn’t shot. Pulling anything out of your pocket in front of a judge is a bad idea.”

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