Marijuana Law Protest Sparks Free Speech Battle

Andrew Carroll being arrested for holding a bud of marijuana.Andrew Carroll being arrested for holding a bud of marijuana.An act of civil disobedience where a young New Hampshire man intentionally had himself arrested for possessing pot has snowballed into police action against a local radio host who promoted the protest.

Andrew Carroll, an 18-year-old liberty activist, sent a press release to local media and police on December 6, 2008 announcing that he would “purposefully possess marijuana to incite his own arrest” by simply holding a bud in his hands at a public location in Keene, New Hampshire.

Carroll, who says he doesn’t smoke pot, claims the action was meant “as a protest against the drug laws of the country” and to “demonstrate the absurdity of putting a human being in jail for a crime with no victim.”

“The drug war is an unconstitutional and inhumane breach of individual liberties which claims many victims, and dollars, each year,” he said.

The New Hampshire Free Press covered the event:

After announcing his intention to possess marijuana, Carroll arrived at Railroad Square in Keene with around 40 fellow activists. The event was planned for 1:00 on Jan. 10th. By 1:15, Carroll thought that the event was over without arrest, but then at 1:20, two Keene police officers arrived and arrested the nonviolent protester. All 40 activists followed the two officers and their victim to the police car, and then to the station. Carroll was charged with a Class B Misdemeanor and released. He is scheduled to appear in Keene District Court on March 3rd. He does not plan to pay any fines stemming from the arrest.

In a bizarre affront to his free speech rights, Ian Freeman, a Free Talk Live radio host, is facing legal action for merely discussing Carroll’s marijuana protest on his radio show and blog.

Freeman, serving a suspended sentence for an unrelated incident involving an old couch on his lawn and a grumpy judge, received a Motion to Show Cause from the government forcing him into a hearing which could see his suspended sentence revoked and put him back in jail for 90 days – just because he promoted, attended, and videotaped Carroll’s civil disobedience stunt.

Freeman, whose real name is Ian Bernard, was targeted under a largely unknown statue of New Hampshire law which apparently makes the promotion of civil disobedience illegal. Section 626:8 – Criminal Liability for Conduct of Another, states that “A person is an accomplice of another person in the commission of an offense if: (a) With the purpose of promoting…the commission of the offense, he…aids…in planning and committing it.”

Watch video of Andrew Carroll’s act of civil disobedience and arrest

Watch video of Ian Freeman explaining his situation

View more video about Andrew Carroll at Free Keene



  1. Anonymous on

    Just not TOO free. I mean you can’t expect to be able to actually possess any plant that grows can you?

  2. Anonymous on

    it would be sweet to have forty people packed into a super tight circle, so that everyone was touching the same bud. Then 40 people could get charged with “possession” of the same gram of weed…. too funny. or maybe they could each get charged with 1/40th of a gram. it’s kind of sad that the forty people just sat there and watched this kid go to jail. Imagine if a thousand people gathered in a park, each one holding a piece of string. In the very center of the park, tied to all the strings was a tiny bud, just a single bowl pack. Legally the cops would have to arrest and detain all thousand people, and for what? Less than half a gram of a flower that our first president grew and praised as the finest agricultural crop in the land. Now imagine that we did this same thing every day for a week. It would tie up the criminal justice system for the entire city (not in itself a good thing, but it makes the waste of resources painfully obvious) After all, it’s easier to ignore the drain on the taxpayer when arrests are all spread out. A thousand a day, every day, for such an absurd quantity would be surreal. Maybe enough to change things, who knows. Ooops, better watch out, I’m inciting civil disobedience here! HaHa!

  3. T Collacott on

    You need to read the story again , cause you are confused about the facts , His act of holding ( not waving around ) the Pot in his hand was NoT intended to help the legalization of POT , it was an act of civil disobedience , to make a point about how crazy it is to jail someone for a crime with no victims . Yes he’s protesting the drug laws also , but that was not his only issue , he doesnt even smoke Pot . He’s raising awareness and for you to call his behavior juvenile , and that its a setback is absurd . Get your facts straight .

  4. baked n fried on


    i think it was a nice move

    but yeah 40 people holding buds would have been funnier and more powerful

  5. mrtoohigh on

    To say that this “puts the effort a step behind” is a very shallow and poorly thought out comment in my opinion. How does making the public aware of the ridiculous nature of drug laws put anything behind? How does any publicity showing the support for the end of marijuana prohibition put the effort behind? Sitting around doing nothing (and I am not saying you do that, I don’t know you personally) puts the effort behind. Paying taxes puts the effort behind.

    I we had more Andrew Carrols in this world marijuana would already be legal.

    What we as a cannabis community should be ashamed of is the fact that a non-user is willing to go to these measures while some of us dedicated users sit by and do nothing.

  6. mrtoohigh on

    The police chose their job and they have to be held responsible for their actions. The two police officers that arrested andrew had a choice to make. They could have done the right thing, not arresting and disturbing and innocent human beings life, or do the selfish thing which is do their “job” regardless of whether is was the right thing to do just so they can earn a pay check. They could very well be working at a cable company call center or at a gas station or a bank. They chose to become cops knowing the ridiculous nature of the majority of the laws in our country. If they were truly interested in keeping americans safe they would be out investigating rape cases and murder cases, the real crimes.

    “Doing their job” is a cop-out, no pun intended, and is not acceptable in the least!

  7. Bong Pixie on

    The point was to show how ridiculous it is to have a law against being in possession of a plant. Andrew doesn’t even smoke marijuana and was still willing to demonstrate how insane it looks to watch someone getting cuffed for holding a piece of a plant in his hand.

    “Would have been better if they had all 40 of those people in possession.”

    I thought the same thing after I read the article. Can you picture police arresting a crowd of people who are only holding buds?
    That would be a great protest…I can see it now…

    Police are supposed to enforce the law, but they’re also allowed to use their discretion to decide how they will exercise their power.

  8. Anonymous on

    That is a huge step in the right direction!

  9. Anonymous on

    i am a chronic pot smoker and for decriminalization but, cops are people like you and me that go to work every day to do a job. so you can’t blame the police they are simply just doing a job that they get paid for just like you and me. If the police didnt show up and they were told about it then someone should be fired for not doing there job. You cant expect them to choose what laws they want to enforce.If someone said they were going to be down there holding a big crack rock then the cops would have been there right away. Also, i live in massachusetts and we just voted as of january 1, 2009 marijuana was decriminalized for a posession of one ounce or less. If caught a fine of up to $100 dollars is issued as well as seizure of pot……altleast its a step in the right direction….

  10. Anonymous on

    Would have been better if they had all 40 of those people in possession.

  11. foam on

    These cops need their budget cut if they don’t have better things to do. Good thing we have guys like Keene!!

  12. hairyone on

    get real

  13. Anonymous on

    these fascist police know they can harass and lock up us people who make a personal choice. everytime someone sings in the land of the free and the home of the brave i laugh at what a crock of shit. also there is this cult of haters that fly all over the country waving and singing hate stuff. there sites such as and but the cops never arrest or harass them. i sure hope obama changes thing.the drug war is a fraud. its a cash cow for the police force who for many years having been making there quota as business world would say through persecuted innocent drug users. its sickening. end the war on drugs its a fraud free us all free consciousness …