Authorities Break Up Annual Weedstock Festival

Authorities Break Up Annual Weedstock Festival
Posted by FoM on May 26, 2000 at 18:57:47 PT
By Sarah Wyatt, Associated Press Writer
Source: Star-Tribune
Sheriff' s deputies broke up the annual Weedstock festival promoting legalizing marijuana Friday, ordering several hundred people to leave. One of the event' s organizers was among a dozen people arrested. About 50 officers dispersed the 300 to 400 people who gathered at a farm in the town of Fairfield for the event. Some officers used megaphones to tell people to leave. 
" I drove 163 miles. Now I' ve got to turn around? What' s that? This is the worst, " said Sterling Shore, 21. He and Irinia Alexandru, 20, had driven their motorcycle from Bartlett, Ill. Sauk County Sheriff Randy Stammen got a court order to close the music festival and campout. " We don' t want to break up the party, but we are following a court order, " Stammen said. Attendees chanted statements such as " Where' s Janet Reno, " and " Protect our rights." Authorities arrested event organizer Ben Masel, saying he was in contempt of the court order shutting down the event. Masel said his rights were violated. " These people seem to think they can stomp all over the Constitution, and they' re wrong, " Masel said. Later, as he and others gathered in Baraboo where the county courthouse is located, Masel said it was the first time in 13 years that a court order succeeded in shutting down a Weedstock site. People camped out on the festival grounds began leaving shortly after authorities arrived. Police put up a barrier reading " Weedstock closed by court order." Joe Mayer said concert-goers were peacefully assembled to stand up for a cause. " We might all be dope smokers but we' re all peace-loving dope smokers, " said Mayer, 23, of Eau Claire. " We just want to party in this field." After letting people leave voluntarily for three hours, police and sheriff' s officials went into the festival site and gave people final warnings. When officers went in, most people were peaceful and " started packing real fast, " the sheriff said. " There were 11 who didn' t want to leave and were warned for a final time. They didn' t leave and they were arrested, " also for contempt of court, he said. Authorities planned to maintain a presence at the farm through the weekend to keep people from trying to get back on the grounds, Stammen said. The festival was scheduled to end Monday. Masel and other festival organizers refused to get a county permit to hold the event. Masel said since organizers had a permit from the state, a county one was unnecessary. He also said the county' s ordinance requiring the permit was unconstitutional. The county issued an abatement order Thursday, saying holding the festival without a permit violated a county ordinance. This year' s festival was the 13th Weedstock. Authorities received 96 complaints about the 1999 Memorial Day weekend festival. The sheriff' s office reported 49 arrests during the weekend. The toll included 43 traffic citations and 28 drug investigations, the office said. In 1998, there were 27 arrests for marijuana and 43 for traffic. Baraboo, Wis. (AP)Published Friday, May 26, 2000 Copyright 2000 Associated Press.Related Articles & Web Sites:Weed Stock Drug Policy Forum Of Wisconsin Approves Abatement Order for Weedstock Blows Smoke at Anti-Marijuana Laws Madison Festival Seeks To Raise Awareness Great Midwest Marijauna Harvest Festival 
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Comment #2 posted by Loafin on May 22, 2001 at 10:02:49 PT:
Constitutional rights
Folks, I love how we can all rally behind our cause and push for the legalization, or at the very least, de-criminalization of a simple plant. However it disturbs me when I hear how every action (or lack thereof) by our government is considered unconstitutional. It seems that there has been a very lazy interpretation of the constitution; that it grants us complete and entire freedom to do whatever the heck we'd like to do. The constitution does nothing of the sort. In essence, it creates the three branches of our government and opens the door for future amendments, or changes, to the original setup. Unfortunately, common sense and a lack of corruption are not requirements for laws to be enacted. Fear, complacency, and ignorance are what allow the nonsense laws to remain.  Fear of getting "busted" for standing up for your beliefs (notice I didn't say "rights", we don't have a right to pick a plant and smoke it). Complacency in that we are still able to obtain the plant through the underground network that spans through all cities and rural areas. And ignorance in that we do not know how to fight the injustice set forth by our elected officials. So many turn to saying that these laws are unconstitutional, but to argue that point with a lawyer or a law-maker you would surely lose. Even though these laws are based in fictional claims of health hazards, the law-makers intend to keep these bogus health scares alive. Partly to cover their own butts for filling the publics head with trash about how "dangerous" it is for so many decades. Partly because they have not developed a suitable system for taxing this product. Unlike tobacco, hemp needs no special proccessing for it's smokable parts. They can't figure out how to keep a stranglehold on the plants' growth, so they outlaw it altogether. Think of all the taxes that you must pay every year, and in some cases daily (sales tax) to support all the individuals who are in jail for such heinous crimes as possession of Marijuana, possessing (not using) a firearm, prostitution, and other victimless crimes. The money that would be saved from not prosecuting, housing, investigating, and harrassing those guilty of victimless crimes could be used to fund projects to teach people about the hazards of addiction and unsafe acts. Marijuana prohibition is unwise, not unconstitutional...
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Comment #1 posted by Soch on May 27, 2000 at 00:32:05 PT
Weedstock 2000 shut down
One key point not mentioned in the article is that Masel had obtained an ex parte order from Judge James O'Miller, on behalf of the Sauk County Circuit Court, restraining Sheriff Stammen from enforcing the ordinance. Masel was arrested while trying to show this document to the Sheriff. In short, the shut down of Weedstock was illegal.
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