Nebraska burns Beal; Gives pot activist 4 to 6 in the joint

Dana Beal speaking at a Global Marijuana March event in New York City.

Dana Beal speaking at a Global Marijuana March event in New York City.

BY PAUL DERIENZO  |  Medical marijuana activist Dana Beal was sentenced earlier this month to four to six years after being arrested in 2009 with 150 pounds of pot near Omaha, Nebraska.

According to Beal’s Nebraska attorney Glenn Shapiro he’ll be eligible for parole in two years, and with time served and good behavior, he could be out by next November.

Beal, 65, of 9 Bleecker St., was supported by friends who came from New York, California and as far away as New Zealand. Fellow cannabis activist Ed Rosenthal from Oakland, California, said it could have been a lot worse. Beal had faced a maximum of 20 years in prison, and the Saunders County attorney asked for a sentence of eight to 12 years.

“He has this problem,” said Rosenthal, “a conflict between the law and helping people.” But prosecutors claimed, as Rosenthal put it, “The guy is just a street dealer…and when he gets caught he says its medical.” Rosenthal called the accusation “insulting.” Prosecutors also said Beal should get a stiff term because he “lacked remorse.”

Michael Brinkley, an AIDS patient living in New York, testified on Beal’s behalf that he’s used pot “to halt H.I.V. disease progression.” Brinkley said the marijuana buyers club Beal supplied in New York has more than 1,000 members.

“If Beal is in jail the buyers club should be in prison, too,” he said, because, “We exploited Dana.”

Sheila Steinberg, also from New York City, said marijuana helps control her multiple sclerosis, moderating mood swings associated with the disease.

A member of the Yippies, a band of antiestablishment radicals with roots in the 1960s, Beal is probably best known for organizing the Global Marijuana March, held in New York City each May, and as an advocate of ibogaine, which Beal maintains can cure heroin addiction.

Marie Cotter, who came from Auckland, New Zealand, said Beal’s advocacy of ibogaine led to its legalization in her country, and as a personal note, she added, saved her son’s life. It was Cotter’s second trip to the United Stated on Beal’s behalf. She spoke at his 2011 sentencing to five years in prison in Wisconsin for a similar pot bust, at which Beal promised the judge his days of running medical pot across the country were over. After the Wisconsin sentencing in 2011, which broke down to two and a half years in jail and two and a half years probation, Beal was shipped to Nebraska to face trial on his marijuana bust there.

Shortly after his Wisconsin sentencing, Beal suffered a major heart attack where he claimed to be briefly dead and then brought back to life. He received a double bypass, and after a subsequent heart attack, a stent to hold his artery open. Beal said he continues to suffer from an untreated hernia.

The marijuana activist told the judge, “What I was doing is as obsolete as the Titanic, because of the legalization of pot as medicine in several states and recent legalization for recreational use in Colorado, which is next to Nebraska.”

Beal is currently being held under a “detainer” from Wisconsin and is expected to be sent back there to finish his sentence in that state.


DeRienzo is co-host of “Let Them Talk,” every Tuesday at 8 p.m. on the MNN Lifestyle channel

The Villager encourages readers to share articles:

Comments are often moderated.

We appreciate your comments and ask that you keep to the subject at hand, refrain from use of profanity and maintain a respectful tone to both the subject at hand and other readers who also post here. We reserve the right to delete your comment.

8 Responses to Nebraska burns Beal; Gives pot activist 4 to 6 in the joint

  1. Dana Beal was the main organizer of the Global Marijuana March (GMM) until he was incarcerated. 748 different cities have signed up from 65 different nations since 1999. GMM is an annual rally held at different locations across the planet. It refers to cannabis-related events that occur on the first Saturday in May, or thereabouts, and may include marches, meetings, rallies, raves, concerts, festivals and information tables.

  2. Me and Dana or Dana and I started the mass marijuana movement when he had the first smoke ins in Tompkins Square Park in 1967. Ginsberg and his affinity group – and believe me they had some strange affinities or infinities however you want to look at it – had the first demo in front of the woman's house of D (Dope) in 1965 for legalize pot- LEMAR. Then I had National Marijuana Day which Dana turned into International MD. Steve D'Angelo took it further. The dude is an okay honest guy. Got to hand it to him. He fought Nazis. Steve that is.

  3. Lawrence White

    It is interesting to note that many of those who are demanding lower taxes are often the ones who want to keep funding the disastrous war on drugs. Investigating, arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating low level drug crimes is not only a huge financial burden it permanently harms people's lives.

    On the other hand prisons are the only growth industry in some parts of the country. It turns out that the war on drugs is their bread and butter. As the old saying goes, if you want to find someone who is profiting from illegal drugs, find someone who wants to keep them illegal.

  4. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100% positive. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Appreciate it

  5. It refers to cannabis-related events that occur on the first Saturday in May, or thereabouts, and may include marches, meetings, rallies, raves, concerts, festivals and information tables.

  6. What’s up, its good piece of writing about media print, we all understand media is a impressive source of facts.

  7. It’s actually very difficult in this active life to listen news on Television, thus I simply use world wide web for that reason, and get the hottest news.

  8. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off
    topic but I had to tell someone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

1 + = three

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>