MARIJUANA SMOKE OUTS
JANUARY - April 1999
 
The Marijuana Smoke Outs have been a weekly declaration of our dismay over the drug war.  For over a year now several citizens from State College, PA have banned together to protest the government's infringement on the rights of the citizens.  It started with Marijuana.  Now the focus is on a bullhorn and  the infringement of rights has shifted to our right to speech.
The first Smoke Out started at the beginning of PSU's spring semester 1998
and it is still going on.  Thanks to all our supporters!!
Every week there are AT LEAST 5 of us and Dr. Heicklen standing in the front of the main gates at PSU protesting the drug war.  Through rain, sleet, or snow you know,
EVERY THURSDAY AT HIGH NOON (12 p.m.) in front of the main gates of PSU
there will be citizens of Pennsylvania protesting the ridiculous drug laws.
COME AND JOIN US!!
 
January - April 1999
January
 
Smoke Out Of January 14, 1999
 
February
 
 Smoke Out of February 11, 1999
Smoke Out of February 18, 1999
Smoke Out of February 25, 1999
March
 
Smoke Out of March 4, 1999
Smoke Out of March 11 & 12, 1999
 
April
 
Smoke Out of April 8, 1999
Smoke Out of April 15, 1999
 

Marijuana Smoke Out of January 14, 1999 
by Dr. Julian Heicklen

Hello!

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!

    Exactly one year ago, we started the Marijuana Smoke Outs at this very spot. They have been uninterrupted weekly events since then. We have been arrested and lost our court cases, though mine still are on appeal. However we will not give in.

    Now six of us are running for political office as Libertarian Party candidates. Carla Moquin and I are running for County Commissioner and Samar Lovejoy is running for County Treasurer. If we should win, the war on drugs will be over in Centre County. We need your help in the forthcoming political campaign.

    In the meantime, 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.

    We were in the midst of one of the fiercest snow storms of the year. It was bitter cold. All government offices were closed because of the weather. Penn State University cancelled classes. The police did not appear. However 11 staunch souls participated in the demonstration. Heicklen lighted his anniversary joint.
 

Marijuana Smoke Out of February 11, 1999
by Keith Brilhart
 

        At the smoke out of February 11, 1999, Dr. Heicklen and Diane Fornbacher were arrested for using the megaphone. Dr. Heicklen was handcuffed at 12:28, then Diane took up the megaphone and spoke until being handcuffed at 12:35. I didn't hear either being read their rights. When they handcuffed Diane, I said to Officer Supina that I would be willing to
take the megaphone for "safekeeping," but she said "no." I asked her if the police were taking it, and she said "yes."

        No marijuana had been smoked or displayed at anytime during the demonstration.

        The message being delivered by Dr. Heicklen and Ms. Fornbacher was typical of a Thursday protest, of which many of us are familiar. It was observed before the arrest that Officer Supina was seen entering the Corner Room, exiting several minutes later to then enter Moyer Jewelers, exiting several minutes later to then cross the street and confront Dr. Heicklen.

        During the process of handcuffing and removal of Dr. Heicklen and Ms. Fornbacher, a crowd gathered to see what was going on. Some bystanders were yelling at the police to stop, while most appeared to be astonished at the display of force. Within a few minutes a journalism class descended on the scene for an exercise in interviewing witnesses on the street. These students were treated to accounts of what happened and of the message that
the arrested parties were trying to get out that led to their arrest. I believe that a reasonable estimate of crowd size at the time was around 200 persons.

        It is worth considering that possibly the smartest action on the part of the police (from their perspective) was the confiscation of the bullhorn. It is easy to see the possibility of a larger demonstration or riot occurring when so many people are gathered, in an emotional state, and angry about what they see as a violation of fundamental freedoms.

        A call to District Justice Prestia's office around 4:00 PM indicated that Diane's arraignment was over and that Dr. Heicklen was currently being arraigned. Diane had been released and Julian was released soon after. Both were charged with disorderly conduct, an offense that could lead to a sentence of one year in prison.
 
 


 

Marijuana Smoke Out of February 18, 1999
by Keith Brilhart

    Thursday's smokeout saw no arrests.  A number of people were watching,
but by no means a crowd.  Dr. Heicklen had obtained a new bullhorn as a stand-in
for the one confiscated the week prior.  He spoke most of the hour, and Diane
Fornbacher spoke towards the end.  No marijuana was present.  Starting
with just Dr. Heicklen, the group grew to about 8 people by the end of the
demonstration.  Police drove by on at least 4 occassions, but never
stopped.

    It was satisfying that quite a few people in passing stated their support
for the cause.  Perhaps they felt we needed some moral support, but in any
case their words were appreciated.
 

 
Marijuana Smoke Out of February 25, 1999

by Keith Brilhart

     Another uneventful day.  Between the cold weather and snow flurries, only five people turned out.  To this viewer, it also seemed that there was less foot traffic in the area as well.  Mike Kossick was asked by a campus policeman to not stand on the street, but rather to stand on the curb or sidewalk.  A new bullhorn was used without comment by the police.

     The Labor Studies club was selling candy to raise funds in front of the gate when we arrived, but a police officer asked the student to move his table and sign.  He ended up next to the bus stop.  It is curious that there can be some rule for standing out of foot traffic in one spot and it not be acceptable, but 15 feet away is acceptable.

     This coming Wednesday, March 3, 1999, Dr. Heicklen and Diane Fornbacher will have their hearings for use of the bull horn.  Let's hope the cops fail to show up again (but it would be nice of them to deliver the bullhorn held as "evidence").
 

Marijuana Smoke Out of March 4, 1999

by Julian Heicklen

    Two tragic events occurred to our group of anti-marijuana activists in the last week.  John Weber, who was one of the original organizers of the Marijuana Smoke Outs and a candidate for Marion Township supervisor on the Libertarian Party ticket, was shot and killed in a domestic quarrel on February 27, 1998.  No-one has been charged with criminal activity.

    Another uneventful smokeout today.  Very cold and windy, but about 5 protestors appeared to make the case this week.  A few people stopped to ask questions or to voice support.  Police drove by on at least a half dozen occassions, but showed no interest other than to have their windows rolled down as they passed by.

    One black gentleman asked what we stood for and then stated that stopping the
war on drugs would eliminate some jobs.  It may be worthwhile to point out in
such cases that the economy takes care of job creation, and that jobs created
spontaneously are those that satisfy human needs, rather than pursue an agenda
which not all persons subscribe to.  In his case, one could point out that he
could become the victim of the war on drugs without doing anything drug related
as evidenced by some of the recent publicity about police profiling that
typically targets black citizens.

    Here's a worthwhile informative link http://www.nytimes.com.
Go to the site, search on "crack cocaine" and from the list of choices, select "War on Drugs Retreats, Still Taking Prisoners" (two occurences of this for articles about how the overreation to the crack epidemic has led to racially distorted drug law enforcement, and to the crumbling of the assumptions that were made at the time).

    Today's Centre Daily Times listed the pre-trial hearing for Dr. HeicKlen and
Diane Fornbacher.  It mentioned that the trial(?) will be held March 29th.

    On March 3, 1999, Diane Fornbacher and Julian Heicklen were bound over for trial for using a bullhorn and for disorderly conduct at the demonstration of February 11, 1999.  At the hearing the police officers admitted that there was no disturbance to the public.  Neither pedewstrian nor automobile traffic was impeded.  No business establishment suffered a loss of business.  No complaint was filed by any pedestrian, motorist, or business establishment.  The complaint was filed by State College Borough Manager Peter Marshall, even though the bullhorn was being used in University Park and Mr. Marshall never was at the scene of the demonstration.
The police officers admitted that the demonstrators were not unruly or using obscene or offesive language.

    Bullhorns are used routinely in both State College and University park for other purposes with the blessing of both police departments.  The disorderly conduct charge carries a sentence of up to one year in prison.  By any standard, there was no disorderly conduct.  The Centre County judiciary now is binding citizens over for trial for non-crimes if the Borough Manager disagrees with the purpose that the bullhorn is being used.
So much for the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.
 
    A new bullhorn has been used for the last three weeks. (The police took possession of the old bullhorn.)  The police have ignored its use.
 

Marijuana Smoke Outs of March 11 and 12, 1999 

by Keith Brilhart and Julian Heicklen

    This Thursday's (March 11, 1999) Marijuana Smoke Out was held while
many students were away for spring recess.  Between 6 and 8 protesters were
present at any given time.  A number of sage and real joints were smoked
and 4 protesters spoke to passersby with the use of the bull horn.

    Several student-aged gentlemen listened from across the street, and
later came over to ask questions and get further information.  People asked
about the charter bus to the Million Marijuana March being organized by Dr.
Heicklen.  It is now about 1-1/2 months from the May 1st march, and Dr.
Heicklen needs payment of $25 from those interested in going, as soon as
possible.  You may email your intentions and make arrangements to pay via
his email address: <jph13@psu.edu>.  The first persons to pay their bus
fare will each receive a free copy of a poster for the march, until we run
out of posters.  It features a photo image of a large marijuana leaf.

    Only about 3 police cars passed by; one from University Park, and
the others from State College.  Two drove by at the same time about 5
minutes after the first turned the corner, where the officer appeared to be
looking at us intently.  No officers showed a presence on foot.

    Julian Heicklen was arrested at about 2:00 PM on Friday, March 12,
1998, for passing out campaign flyers on the sidewalk in front of Wal-Mart
on the Benner Pike in State College, PA.  Heicklen is a candidate for
county commissioner in Centre County.

    Heicklen introduced himself to passerbys, said that he was a
candidate for county commissioner, and asked for their vote.  He extended a
flyer that some customers ignored and other customers accepted.

    Wal-Mart employees approached Heicklen and asked him to stop
distributing his literature.  Heicklen refused.  The State College police
were called. Officer Gabrovsek asked Heicklen to leave.  Again Heicklen
refused.  Heicklen was placed under arrest.  He fell to the ground and was
handcuffed.  He was carried into a patrol car and driven to State College
Police Headquarters, where he was placed in the holding cell and uncuffed.
After the officer completed preparing the complaint, Heicklen was
handcuffed again, carried to the patrol car, and driven to the office of
District Magistrate Bradley Lunsford, where he was charged with criminal
trespass and released on his own recognizance.
 


 
Marijuana Smoke Out of April 8, 1999 

by Keith Brilhart

     Today's protest was held on a beautiful, sunny day, with about 10
protestors in attendance. Four persons chose to speak to passersby using
the bullhorn. Police drove by on several occassions, but no police
harassment occured.

        Dr. Heicklen was again with the group, after having attended the
Libertarian Party Convention and some other affairs. He informed us that
the LP Convention attendees were very enthusiastic about the ongoing
protests in State College, and had pledged considerable financial
assistance for the efforts.

        The two gentlemen filming interviews about the protests and those
involved, appeared again this week, and conducted an on-film interview of
Dr. Heicklen. After the protest, Dr. Heicklen and Carla Moquin were going
to campaign for County and Township offices in front of Pattee Library. A
number of visitors came up to the protest, some to ask questions, and
others to express their support. Numerous persons seemed to be listening
from among the passersbys. Due to the various activites going on at the
protest, the protest ran from 11:45AM until about 1:15PM.
 


 

Marijuana Smoke Out of April 15, 1999
by Julian Heicklen

        The Marijuana Smoke Out of April 15, 1999, consisted of 6
demonstrators, four of whom used the bullhorn.  No-one smoked marijuana,
because we want to resolve the bullhorn issue first.  No police appeared at
the demonstration.  Of more significance are the court cases that occurred
earlier in the week.

        On February 11, 1999, Julian Heicklen and Diane Fornbacher were
arrested for using a battery-powered bullhorn at the weekly Marijuana Smoke
Out. They were charged with violation of the municipal noise control
ordinance and the state statute against disorderly conduct. On March 3,
1999, they were bound over for trial by District Magistrate Carmine Prestia
in a preliminary hearing.

        The noise control ordinance prohibits the use of loudspeakers/sound
amplifiers, but exemptions are made for "musical, recreational and athletic
events conducted by schools or a local government including such outdoor
practices as may be necessary in preparation for such events." Furthermore
exemptions can be made by special waiver with approval of the Borough
Council. In fact, everything is permitted except political speech and loud
parties.

        Heicklen filed for a writ of Habeas Corpus with the Centre County
Court of Common Pleas to have the charges dropped on constitutional
grounds. No action has been taken yet on this writ.

        Heicklen has filed for injunctive relief in the U. S. Middle
District Court for Pennsylvania. The case was heard by Judge Malcolm Muir
on April 12 and 14. At the hearing, it was established that traffic noise
and the electronic amplifiers used at the Arts Festival, parades, bicycle
races, and other political activities are louder than the noise made at the
Marijuana Smoke Outs. All of the events in question were held at the same
location. Injunctive relief was requested because Heicklen is a candidate
for County Commissioner, and his campaign will suffer irreparable harm if
he does not get immediate relief. A decision has not been rendered yet.

        On March 12 and 13, Heicklen was arrested for passing out campaign
flyers in front of a Wal-Mart store. Wal-Mart policy prohibits political
activity on its premises. It does permit financial solicitation for
charitable organizations on the property. On March 17, 1999, Heicklen was
bound over for trial by District Magistrate Ron Horner for criminal
trespass and disorderly conduct under state statute.

        The Pennsylvania State statute states that a defense for defiant
trespass is: "The premises were at the time open to the public and the
actor complied with all lawful conditions imposed on access to or remaining
in the premises or area."

        Heicklen filed for a writ of Habeas Corpus with the Centre County
Court of Common Pleas to have the charges dropped on constitutional
grounds. No action has been taken yet on this writ.

        Heicklen has filed for injunctive relief in the U. S. Middle
District Court for Pennsylvania. The case was heard by Judge Malcolm Muir
on April 13. At the hearing, it was established that all lawful conditions
imposed on access to or remaining on the premises were met. Injunctive
relief was requested because Heicklen is a candidate for County
Commissioner, and his campaign will suffer irreparable harm if he does not
get immediate relief. A request for a temporary restraining order was
denied by Judge Muir.

 Archived Smoke Outs
October - December 1998
July - September 1998
April - June 1998
January - March 1998