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