State College, PA

November 5, 1998

by Julian Heicklen


Smart on Crime & Centre County Libertarian Party

Hello! On October 22, 1998, Diane Fornbacher, a local activist, and I were arrested for blocking traffic on College Avenue. The purpose of our protest was to proclaim that the automobile was more dangerous than marijuana. Thus, if marijuana is prohibited, so should the automobile be prohibited.

Diane and I have pleaded not guilty and await our hearing before Magistrate Carmen Prestia. Our defense is a two-pronged one. The first is based on selective enforcement. The second is a third-party defense.

On November 3, 1998, some of us attended "An Evening with Take-A-Stand," a drug education and prevention program in the State College public schools. Distributed at that meeting were two brochures on marijuana printed by the Elks National Drug Awareness Program. In Centre County that program is headed by District Magistrate Bradley Lunsford. Almost every statement in both brochures was incorrect or misleading.

It is counterproductive to teach our children lies about drugs for two reasons. The first is that they are getting misinformation. The second, and probably more important, is that our children know that we are lying to them and will not trust us even when we tell them the truth.

It is immoral to arrest someone for owning a vegetable. In the case of marijuana, it is especially reprehensible, because it is a relatively harmless substance and is a useful medicine that is being denied some very sick people.

The most fundamental of all human rights is the right to your own body, as long as you do not harm others. The issue is not marijuana. Marijuana is the messenger, not the message. The issue is whether we will live in freedom or under tyranny. Choose freedom. The lighted marijuana weed is the torch of freedom!

We will smoke marijuana to protest the unjust, insane, and corrupt anti-drug laws. I ask that no-one under 18 years old smoke marijuana. We appreciate your support, but if minors participate, it will hurt our cause. If arrested, give only your name and address. Go limp and make the officers carry you away from the demonstration. Plead not guilty and ask for a speedy, jury trial.

If you are attacked by either police or bystanders, go into the fetal position, and use your hands to protect your head. Under no circumstances, even if provoked, use violence. Thank you for your cooperation.

About 20 people demonstrated. Two State College police officers and one University policeman were present. No-one smoked marijuana, because there has been a shortage of supply recently. There were no incidents with the police or others.

There are several indications that support in the community is growing. We have a sign that says "Honk if you Support Hemp." There is almost a steady stream of honkers, including trucks, the city buses, and today the U. S. Postal Service. Many people stop at our tables and make inquiries and donations. Also I am constantly stopped on the streets all week long by people wishing to indicate their support.