Sarah Caldwell is a disabled mother and a Boise native. On Saturday, she showed up at the Morrison Center at Boise State University for the Ada County Democratic Presidential Caucus — not to support the party’s nominee, Barack Obama, but as a volunteer to support something else she believes in — to get the decriminalization of medical marijuana on the Idaho ballot.
“People [at the GOP caucus] were very rude about it being marijuana,” she said. “The Democrats have been much more receptive.”
This came as a surprise to her, because she considers the decriminalization of medical marijuana to be part and parcel to the libertarian streak in the Republican Party that seeks to deregulate and reduce the role of the government in people’s lives.
“Ours is a conservative petition. We wrote it very conservatively,” she said.
Compassionate Idaho’s petition is hardly conservative in terms of length. At 18 pages, it contains long lists of provisions and sections dedicated to the definition of terms. This is because the petition is a pastiche of legislation and other petitions that have been successful in the 17 states where marijuana has been partially decriminalized, like California, Colorado, and Oregon.
Caldwell said her year-and-a-half with Compassionate Idaho is the first time she has considered herself an activist.
“This is my first petition. I’ve never been an activist before,” she said.