I did something unusual this weekend, and am compelled to write about it. It is unusual for me, and likely unusual for most attorneys. I spent the weekend relaxing and socializing with a hundred “clients” in Northern California.

As a criminal defense attorney, my weekends usually consist of working. Reading, writing, corresponding, planning, plus all the work involved in managing my firm. Occasionally I will squeeze in a run, or get out for dinner and drinks. But most weekends are like weekdays, except in shorts and running shoes instead of my suit.

Last weekend I drove up to Shasta County to attend an event organized by several organizations that fights for the rights of marijuana patients statewide. There was barbecue, socializing, and live music jamming. And these “Clients” are not individuals I am defending, but rather a group whose interests I represent as a whole.

I am fortunate that my line of criminal law occasionally allows me to fight for the civil rights of a larger community. Indeed when I stand in trial for a defendant, I am aggressively pursuing justice for them, but in the case of marijuana crime, each case represents something larger.

The fight for civil rights for marijuana patients and providers is a community effort. The BBQ had dozens of people, and organizations there included The Human SolutionCCHI 2016, and performances by the band fREEX, and the Hemp-Hop band The Real One.

Medical marijuana is legal in California. Growing and consuming it are victimless. Individuals are rationally making the choice to use it as medicine. As a marijuana defense attorney, I am fighting for the civil rights of the accused individual, with the hope that someday no one will be arrested for doing what is legal and just.

Hanging out with medical marijuana activists while NOT in court was refreshing. Fresh air, good food, great music, and wonderful comraderie were just what the doctor ordered for this lawyer.