Yippie Dana Beal Fights For His Freedom
On Marijuana Charges
By Steve Elliott Tuesday,June 12, 2012
Dana Beal was one of the original Yippies back in the late 1960s, helping organize the radical counterculture group which disrupted the 1968 and 1972 Democratic conventions, advocating a society powered by people rather than profit. Years later, Beal organized marches in New York City calling for the legalization of marijuana, and helped open a clinic which dispenses cannabis to AIDS patients in the Big Apple.
But Beal, 65, says he's now fighting for his life from a Nebraska jail, reports Paul Hammel at the Omaha World-Herald. Just nine months after a serious heart attack, he faces up to five years in prison after a 2009 arrest near Ashland, Neb., riding in a van holding 150 pounds of marijuana.
Five years would be a death sentence because of his heart disease, Beal said -- and it would also halt his work with ibogaine, a substance he says has helped save hundreds of lives by breaking the cycle of addiction to opiates and other drugs.
His attorney, Glenn Shapiro, is asking a judge to allow supporters to testify that Beal was choosing the lesser of two evils -- in essence, that he had a good excuse for breaking the law. It was either allow AIDS patients and others to go without the appetite-increasing effects of marijuana, or break the law by hauling a van load of pot across the country.
"I'm not a run-of-the-mill drug runner," Beal said in a Monday interview at the Saunders County Corrections Center in Nebraska. "I'm a medical advocate. I had to do it. It was either this, or patients would have been left with moldy marijuana."
Saunders County District Judge Mary Gilbride took the matter under advisement after a brief hearing on Monday. But Deputy D.A. C. Jo Petersen called the argument "ludicrous" and "plain and simple, irrelevant."
It doesn't matter why someone is hauling marijuana, or that its purported destination is not the streets of Nebraska but a clinic in New York City, Peterson told the judge. What matters, she said, is that it's illegal to possess marijuana in Nebraska.
Petersen said Beal's attorney is misinterpreting a state law that allows a "choice of evils" defense. That statute, she claimed, only applies to cases involving the use of force, not to marijuana smuggling.
In 2008, Beal was arrested in Illinois after police found two duffel bags containing $150,000 under a parked van in which he had been riding with three others. Beal was found guilty of misdemeanor possession of marijuana; he said the money was to help pay for a new medical clinic in New York, though he admitted it was the proceeds from sales of marijuana.
A couple months after the Illinois charge, Beal and two others were arrested in Saunders County, Nebraska, after a traffic stop led to discovery of the 150 pounds. Both times, Beal said, he was hauling pot because a medical marijuana buying club in New York had almost run out. The club is organized by a group Beal founded called "Cures Not Wars."
Then on January 6, 2011, Beal, evidently not easily discouraged, was charged with possessing 169 pounds of marijuana after being pulled over in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, for a broken taillight and missing bumper, even as he was still facing the charges in Nebraska. On September 20, 2011, he got a five-year prison sentence for the Wisconsin charges, on a "half and half," where he'd have to serve the first 2.5 years and be paroled for the second half.
Just a week after getting the five-year sentence, "A strange thing happened to me when they were taking me to prison," Beal told Toke of the Town last October. "They had to let me go, 'cause I up and died on them. So instead of going to prison for 20 more months, it all became probation."
But that left Beal still facing the charges in Nebraska.
Beal began handing out marijuana free to AIDS patients in New York in the early 1980s, and has prided himself on obtaining low-cost, high-quality cannabis for people who otherwise couldn't afford it, according to a longtime friend, Dennis Brennan.
"Dana's been an amazing man," Brennan said. "He's trying to save this world through herbal medication. He's not a man about profit."
Brennan said that marijuana helps hepatitis C sufferers like himself, as well as AIDS patients, to recover their appetites.
"It's really unfortunate that he's facing long-term prison time just because he's trying to help sick people in his own jurisdiction," said Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project.
Beal has offered to help Nebraska addicts get ibogaine treatments if he is sentenced to a few months of prison, concurrent with the remainder of his sentence in Wisconsin, which could extend into next April.
And in sports news…
White House softball team smoked by pot lobby’s bats
While the ONDCP’s softball team always seems to have something else to do whenever they’re scheduled to play the powerful One Hitters, STOTUS (Softball Team Of The U.S.) at least showed up, although they lost 25-3.
“The One Hitters enjoyed slugging it out with the White House,” said Aaron Houston, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the group that sponsors the team. “Hopefully we can play them again when they aren’t totally absorbed in work.”
We almost missed the pun hidden there. Hint: David Maraniss’s latest book revealed that President Obama’s high-school pot smoking philosophy included “total absorption” of the precious weed.
Way to go, One-Hitters!
'60 Minutes' Interviews Boulder DA Stan Garnett
By Brittany Anas June 12, 2012 Denver Post
Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett dished his views on Colorado's medical marijuana laws to CBS's "60 Minutes" on Monday after the television newsmagazine sent a crew to town to interview the prosecutor for an upcoming segment. "My emphasis is always public safety," Garnett said in an interview prior to Monday's taping. "I don't see the public safety benefit in prosecuting law-abiding dispensaries or making low-level marijuana cases much of a priority." continued...
Colorado favors legalization
Rasmussen: 61% in Colorado Favor Legalizing, Regulating Marijuana
… and it’s in an important Presidential election state.
Here are the marijuana-based questions that they asked in the poll: here
Efforts To Relax Pot Rules Gaining Momentum in US The Associated Press June 10, 2012 Providence, R.I.
Catharine Leach is married and has two boys, age 2 and 8. She has a good job with a federal contractor and smokes pot most every day. continued...
The outrage of mandatory minimums compounded by the lack of the clemency safety valve
24-Year-Old Gets 3 Life Terms in Prison for Witnessing a Drug Deal: The Ugly Truth of Mandatory Drug Sentencing. continued...
Did Obama Administration raid Medical Marijuana
in order to pass Health Care Reform?
Lobby E-Mails Show Depth of Obama Ties to Drug Industry
This, to me, is an important point. Too many people think that drug laws are about catching criminals, when, in fact, they’re more about creating criminals.
Marijuana law just creates criminals by Hakeem Jeffries at CNN
AG Eric Holder Urged To Oppose MJ Ballot Issue
A Colorado committee formed to defeat a marijuana issue on the November ballot has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to weigh in with his opposition. Amendment 64 would allow adults statewide to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana for recreational use. The measure is opposed by a citizens group called Smart Colorado, which is represented by the Denver law firm of Holland & Hart. continued...
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Attorney General Defends Medical Pot Crackdown
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Rhode Island is now the 17the state in the nation to decriminalize possession of a small amount of marijuana
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signs marijuana decriminalization bill
Today, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) signed legislation (PDF) into law that will reform how Rhode Island penalizes the simple possession of up to an ounce of marijuana (PDF). Currently, simple possession can be penalized with a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $200-$500 criminal fine. Under the provisions of the new law – which will take effect on April 1, 2013 – most violations of possession of up to an ounce of marijuana will be penalized with a simple civil fine of $150!
Gov. Signs Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana
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Via Transform Drug Policy — the Danish Parliament yesterday officially passed a law allowing safe injecting rooms.
☛ The dog ate my homework.
In police department full of failures to properly track and store evidence, cop takes marijuana evidence home (!) and then claims the dog ate it.
☛ African American Church Leaders Endorse Initiative 502 To Legalize, Tax, and Regulate Marijuana for Adults
Today Rev. Leslie Braxton of New Beginnings Christian Fellowship, Rev. Carl Livingston of Kingdom Christian Center, and Rev. Steve E. Baber of Skyway United Methodist Church announced their endorsement of Initiative 502, which would tax and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and over, dedicating revenues to healthcare, research and education, and substance abuse prevention. I-502 will appear on the November 6 general election ballot.
“It’s no longer enough to say the War on Drugs has been a failure. We have to recognize that it has done damage, especially to black Americans, and we have to change course,” said Rev.Braxton. “Marijuana law enforcement has become a pretext for pushing people into the criminal justice system where they get branded with criminal records that turn them into second-class citizens facing additional barriers to education and employment.”
☛ NYPD Police Officer Indicted in Ramarley Graham Killing
A New York City police officer has been indicted on manslaughter charges in the Bronx shooting death of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham. Graham, a young black man, was shot and killed in the bathroom of his own home after a team of NYPD narcotics officers followed him home, broke in, and confronted him. [...]
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Oregon Medical Marijuana Grower Convicted
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Company Uses Hemp To Help Build Homes, Despite Costly Regulations
Chances are pretty good that if somebody asks you about hemp, your first thoughts might land on the weed that gets rolled into joints. And that’s the unfortunate reality plaguing proponents who seek to strip federal regulations on industrial grade hemp.
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Hemp Activist Arrested Near White House
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The top three contenders for Mexico’s presidency have all promised a major shift in the country’s drug war strategy, placing a higher priority on reducing the violence in Mexico than on using arrests and seizures to block the flow of drugs to the United...
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Marijuana Legislation Gaining Momentum Across U.S.
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Cedars-Sinai Again Denies Transplant to Medical Marijuana Patient
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