Marijuana activist since 1960s facing California pot charges

By DON THOMPSON Associated Press

December 20, 2017 08:50 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif.

A marijuana activist whose advocacy dates to the 1960s counterculture has been arrested in California toting 22 pounds of illegal marijuana, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Irvin Dana Beal, 70, of New York, was arrested Saturday in far Northern California after prosecutors said his rental car was spotted weaving across the road and driving 20 miles below the speed limit. James Statzer, 51, of Michigan, also was arrested.

The arrest occurred along a well-traveled highway in California’s famed Emerald Triangle area, known for its high-grade pot. A police dog smelled marijuana during the stop and 22 pounds of the drug was found.

Both men pleaded not guilty to charges of possessing drugs for sale and felony transportation charges and were being held in lieu of $75,000 bail.

Beal has been promoting marijuana’s medical benefits for decades. His activism dates to the 1960s heyday of Abbie Hoffman and the Youth International Party, known as the Yippies.

Recreational sales of marijuana become legal in California on Jan. 1, and medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 1996. But it’s still illegal to transport large quantities of the drug or to take it out of state.

It’s not uncommon for traffickers to think they can now transport pot risk-free, said Deputy District Attorney Colleen Murray, who is prosecuting the case.

“People are like, ‘It’s legal.’ So often they’re very open with officers, ‘Oh hey, I have 100 pounds,'” she said. “That’s not the way it works.”

Defense attorney Tom Ballanco said it’s not clear if his two clients thought they were acting legally.

Friends were raising money for Beal’s bail, Ballanco said, concerned that he is a heart attack survivor and has other illnesses. Beal isn’t a flight risk and looks forward to fighting the charges, Ballanco said.

“The nature of his life, really, is one of activism. He’s not the type of person who’s going to flee from this,” Ballanco said. “He’s certainly a very colorful figure. I’m happy to be representing him and his co-defendant.”

For law enforcement, these were routine arrests in an area where traffickers typically tote hundreds if not thousands of pounds of famed Emerald Triangle pot to East Coast states.

“People can buy it here for maybe $800 or $1,000 a pound,” Murray said. “Once they get back there … they’re going to get maybe $3,000 to $4,000 a pound for it. That’s a nice profit.”

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Facebook Posts Indicate That Once Again, Dana Beal Has Been Arrested

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing and outdoor

John Penley

Dana Beal [seen here speaking at the DNC protests in Philly] has just been arrested again for transporting a load of marijuana in Weaverville, California.

   SOURCE

Wayward Bill

Bummer. A fellow Yippie and friend.
Dana Beal BUSTED IN NORTHERN CALIF
BUSTED YESTERDAY IN TRINITY COUNTY, CALIFORNIA….
HE IS LOCATED AT :
TRINITY COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
101 MEMORIAL DRIVE
P.O. BOX 1228
WEAVERVILLE, CA 96093

TRINITY COUNTY JAIL FACILITY
101 MEMORIAL DRIVE
P.O. BOX 1119
WEAVERVILLE, CA 96093

(530) 623-2611
Fax: (530) 623-8180

Follow Aron Kay ‘s wall for details and updates.

Updates will follow…

Guilty verdict in case of Yippie caught with 155 pounds of pot

PUBLISHED FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012 AT 6:19 PM / UPDATED AT 8:46 PM
Guilty verdict in case of Yippie caught with 155 pounds of pot
By Paul Hammel / World-Herald Bureau

LINCOLN — One of the original members of the ‘60s revolutionary group, the Yippies, was found guilty this week of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver after being caught with 155 pounds of baled pot in a van at Ashland, Neb.

Saunders County District Judge Mary Gilbride, in an order dated Tuesday, also rejected, for the second time the use of a “choice of evils” defense by Dana Beal, 65, of New York City, a long-time advocate for using marijuana as medicine, and the official historian of the Yippie Museum.

Beal, at a trial last month, admitted he was a passenger three years ago in a van carrying the marijuana.

But in court and in jail interviews, he has said his crime should be set aside because the cannabis was being delivered to a group of AIDS and cancer sufferers in New York and Michigan who use the pot for pain relief, appetite enhancement and for other medical reasons.

Beal and his attorney, Glenn Shapiro of Omaha, said they want a jury to weigh whether Beal had chosen a lesser evil —and should be found innocent — because he chose to break the law to provide medicine for sick people.

Seventeen states have legalized marijuana for medical uses, but Nebraska and New York are not among them.

Shapiro or Beal could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon, but both have said they plan to appeal the conviction.

Beal will be sentenced on Nov. 19. The marijuana delivery charge is a felony, punishable by five to 50 years in prison. Two others arrested in the van, James Statzer and Christopher Ryan, were sentenced to 36 to 48 months and 24 to 36 months, respectively, in prison.

Saunders County Attorney Scott Tinglehoff said his office would not have a sentencing recommendation for Beal until after a pre-sentence investigation is completed.

But, he said, it was unlikely that he will not recommend some time in prison because Beal, while he was awaiting a trial on the 2009 drug stop in Nebraska, was arrested in Wisconsin for transporting pot across that state.

“He obviously doesn’t care about following the law and acts like he’s above it,” Tinglehoff said. “Because of that, we have a problem with it.”

The Yippies, or Youth International Party, were a radical group that used satire and pranks to mock the status quo. They were best known for leading protests that disrupted the Democratic National Convention in 1968. Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman were among their leaders.

One fellow Yippie, Ed Rosenthal, is among the Beal supporters who have said they will testify at his sentencing hearing.

Contact the writer:

402-473-9584, paul.hammel@owh.com

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