Stonner News of the Week
Befor i share this artical with you I would like to say that this is a very near and dear subject. I want you to take this seriouse and do all you can to help. These people at Rainbow Vally Farm are great people and we all should strive to be at there side or at least help them in there time of need aginst the persicution of the G.
VANDALIA, MI--Rainbow Farm, southwest Michigan's hippie haven, has been busted, and their Hemp Aid festival Memorial Day weekend is in jeopardy.
About 50 hooded state and local police raided the farm here on the morning of Tuesday, May 8, and arrested co-owner Tom Crosslin and his partner, Rolland Rohm, on charges of manufacturing marijuana with intent to distribute, gun possession and maintaining a drug house, says Rainbow Farm spokesperson Gideon Israel.
Authorities have obtained a temporary injunction to stop the Hemp Aid festival, slated for May 25-28, says Israel, and a court hearing is scheduled for May 21. "We still plan to have it, but we're going to see if we're going to be able to," says Rainbow Farm stage manager Derrik DeCraene.
If convicted on the pot-manufacturing charge, Crosslin and Rohm could face up to 15 years in prison. The state attorney general's office and Cass County Prosecutor Scott Teter have also filed papers to forfeit the property.
According to Israel, the raid was set in motion when a "disgruntled employee" complained to the state tax bureau about irregularities in the way Rainbow Farm paid its part-time workers. Police obtained "a prosecutor's dream come true"--a warrant to search the premises for tax records. When they found a "personal use" quantity of marijuana in Crosslin and Rohm's house, he says, they waited to get a more extensive warrant and then "tore the place apart," finding a few pot plants.
Police also arrested three men for allegedly dealing at Rainbow Farm events--Michael Royal, 37, of Defiance, OH; Aaron Brown, 22, of Allegan, MI, and Andrew Rasmussen, 20, of Bay City, MI--and are seeking a fourth, James Schmidt, 29, of Lake Zurich, IL. Police told area media that the four had sold marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine to undercover agents on the farm several times over the last two years.
Israel says none of the key people at the farm knew any of the four. While marijuana-smoking is open--actually, more like celebrated--at events like Hemp Aid, the Labor Day weekend Roach Roast, and last year's WHEE festival (cosponsored by HIGH TIMES), Rainbow Farm does not allow dealing or hard drugs on the premises.
Michigan State Police issued a statement saying a "two-year investigation" had revealed "extensive drug activity" on the farm. It noted that the property "had been the site of five festivals, bringing together musical bands, speakers for the legalization of marijuana, as well as hundreds and thousands of users and sellers of drugs." State Attorney General Jennifer Granholm called the events "little more than an excuse for drug dealers to peddle their wares from a carnival booth instead of a street corner," and Teter said, "These people were basically thumbing their noses at Michigan and federal drugs laws and the local law enforcement agencies in the area... We took decisive action to bring an end to the Rainbow Farms Festivals."
Prosecutor Teter has had a long-running feud with Rainbow Farm, unsuccessfully trying to block the 1999 Hemp Aid event. He claimed that the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism, which received $1 from each ticket to publish the Columbus Free Press quarterly and support pot activism in Ohio, was not a genuine nonprofit. Free Press editor Bob Fitrakis said that the state of Ohio mysteriously lost the group's incorporation papers the week after Hemp Aid '98, but that Teter dropped the lawsuit after the institute produced its own copies two weeks before the 1999 festival.
"I've found your magazine on several search warrants over the years," the prosecutor quips to HT.
State police also charged that 17-year-old Konrad Joseph Hornack of Eau Claire, who was killed April 21 when he crashed his car into a school bus carrying a high-school girls' softball team, had just come from Rainbow Farm's 4/20 party.
"Rainbow Farm's festival attendees thought what they did on private property was no one's business except theirs and fellow festival attendees," Detective 1st Lieutenant Joseph Zangaro said in the statement. "They were dead wrong! That was proven on April 21."
"It's a warning for anyone who puts on events, because if there's just one domino, they're coming after you," says Gideon Israel. In 1998, federal authorities used similar tactics to seize "Rainbow Valley," land he owned and used for festivals in Thurston County, Washington.
"It's one thing to have a hemp rally at a courthouse or public park. It's another dimension to bring the hemp movement to your own home and property," Israel tells HT. "That's what makes Tom Crosslin so special. He put his whole farm on the line to bring an end to the Drug War."
For information about where to send contributions to the Rainbow Farm defense fund, contact:
59896 Pemberton Rd.
Vandalia, MI 49095
Phone: (616) 476-2808