N.Y. medical pot activist cuffed on cannabis charge in California


Longtime New York medical marijuana advocate Dana Beal is back in the joint — this time in California.


Beal, 70, was arrested on two pot charges Saturday night in a rural area about a hundred miles south of the Oregon border, a Trinity County Sheriff’s source told the Daily News.


He was jailed on suspicion of misdemeanor possession of cannabis for sale and felony attempt to transport marijuana across state lines, the source said.


Beal, a veteran of the Youth International Party, or Yippies, had been living in Manhattan after his release from federal prison in 2014. He was convicted of transporting more than a hundred pounds of marijuana in vans pulled over in Nebraska in 2009 and Wisconsin in 2011.

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He suffered a heart attack while in custody in 2011 and nearly died, friends told The News.


One friend said after his release, Beal raised funds for a clinic in Tibet that uses Ibogaine, a derivative of a West African plant, to treat opioid addiction.


“I’m not sure what he was doing in California, but he was probably visiting friends and getting people to help him with the clinic in Tibet,” the pal, fellow New York activist Aton Edwards, told The News.


Edwards, 56, said he was concerned Beal might deteriorate quickly behind bars.

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Beal was jailed on suspicion of misdemeanor possession of cannabis for sale and felony attempt to transport marijuana across state lines, the source said.

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“He’s a cardiac patient, and interrupting his medicine could make him very, very sick. I’m afraid for his health,” Edwards, who lives in Brooklyn, said.


He called Beal an “American hero” who advocates for AIDS and cancer patients in New York.


“He’s selfless. He still wears boots he’s had for 40 years. He’s a monk, he just doesn’t have a robe,” Edwards said.


Other supporters took to Facebook to post “Free Dana Beal” messages.

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“He needs to get out. When he had his heart attack in the slammer, he almost died,” friend and fellow Yippie Aron Kay, 68, told The News.


“I hope he gets a bail reduction to take care of his legal situation properly. You can’t do too much inside,” he said.


A spokeswoman for the Trinity County District Attorney said Beal was due for his first appearance in court Tuesday. No formal charges were filed as of Monday morning, she said.


A spokeswoman for the Trinity County Sheriff did not immediately respond to a call seeking more details on the arrest.

Tags:
marijuana
medical marijuana
drug busts
california

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