Two Marijuana Activists Murdered By Federal and State Muscle
Thu, 06 Sep 2001
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Two Marijuana Activists Murdered By Federal and State Muscle (english) by Pete
Brady 7:00pm Wed Sep 5 '01 (Modified on 5:17am Thu Sep 6 '01)
Two prominent Michigan marijuana activists were shot dead Labor Day weekend,
during a police siege of the activists' "Rainbow Farm" compound in Vandalia,
Tom Crosslin, a 47-year-old events promoter who hosted pro-marijuana concerts
and rallies on his rural Southern Michigan land, was shot dead by federal and
state police on Monday. Rolland Rohm, 28, was shot Tuesday morning. Agencies
involved in the fatal siege include the Cass County Sheriff's Department,
Michigan State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Crosslin, Rohm and their allies have been sponsoring counterculture events,
including two High Times "WHEE" festivals, for several years. Entertainers like
Merle Haggard and The Birds graced the stage at Rainbow Farms happenings, which
were also known for their freewheeling recreational activities, such as the
famous "nude hippie mountain mud slide."
Police and other anti-drug minions had spent years trying to shut down Rainbow
Farms using techniques similar to those used against Oregon pot events promoter
Bill Conde, New York events organizer Rob Uncle Sam, and Washington
landowner-activist Gideon Israel. Crosslin had bitterly complained about police
roadblocks, undercover officers, and other harassment, which he believed were
being used to keep people away from his popular counterculture resort.
In May, police stormed Crosslin's 34-acre property and arrested him in
connection with alleged marijuana use and cultivation, as well as possession of
firearms. Crosslin and his attorneys insisted that the arrests were a
politically motivated attempt to shut down pro-marijuana activities that were
generally peaceful and posed no threat to the community.
Authorities responded by investigating Crosslin's accounting records and by
court-ordering him to abstain from holding any more marijuana-related events on
his land. They also initiated asset forfeiture proceedings, which Crosslin
described to friends as "the government trying to steal my property because
they don't like my political views."
Crosslin was out on $150,000 bond, facing 15 years in prison and the loss of
his property when he allegedly defied the court order and held a pot event at
Rainbow Farms in August.
Just before Labor Day weekend, officials told Crosslin his bond was going to be
revoked. Crosslin responded by setting fire to many of the buildings on his
property, and by allegedly shooting at media aircraft and police aircraft that
flew over his home as the situation became an armed siege. As Labor Day
weekend commenced, squadrons of FBI agents and foot soldiers surrounded the
farm. Although police reports about Crosslin's death were not delivered in a
timely manner and contain puzzling omissions, current reports indicate that an
FBI agent killed Crosslin Monday afternoon when Crosslin and another activist
discovered the agent on Rainbow Farms property. Police allege that Crosslin
pointed a gun at the agent before he was shot.
The siege continued because Rohm and other Crosslin associates refused to
surrender. Police say Rohm was shot early Tuesday because he too pointed a gun
at an officer. Friends of Crosslin and Rohm who were camped near the Farm in a
support encampment disputed police reports, saying that the dead pair were
legally walking on their own property when they were shot in cold blood by
Crosslin was widely respected in the North American marijuana movement and even
among his conservative non-pot smoking neighbors in Southern Michigan. He had a
20 year history of civil rights activism. He bought and restored a historic
brick house built in 1807 that had been used by anti-slavery "Underground
Railroad" activists during the 1800's, intending to use the house as an
educational "bed and breakfast." He donated thousands of dollars to local
charities, and worked hard to keep hard drugs, sexual harassment, and violence
out of his popular events, which sometimes drew as many as 20,000 visitors.
Cannabis movement videographer and potographer Chadman, whose digital photos
and movies have been widely distributed in cannabis media and mainstream media,
told Cannabis Culture that he had been to a dozen events at Rainbow Farm in the
last two years.
"Tom was a dedicated, caring guy," Chadman reported. "He wasn't a militia guy
or a gun nut, but he did believe in the Constitution and in freedom, and he
felt that if other people have a right to put on events where thousands of
people get drunk, shoot guns, tie cattle in ropes and otherwise act crazy, that
he had a right to provide a campground and entertainment for our non-violent
marijuana culture. He hated the marijuana laws, and felt that people being
busted for pot and the harassment of his events was a sign that America has
become a police state."
According to Chadman, Crosslin's resolve hardened after his arrest in May.
"He felt that the government was trying to destroy his beliefs and his
marijuana family," Chadman explained. "He told people that he was beginning to
think that he had to take this all the way, that he couldn't go on allowing the
government to attack him and his friends relentlessly without good cause, that
he had to 'go out in a blaze.' He felt that the government was trying to kill
him. I don't advocate the use of weapons or violence as a way of legalizing
marijuana, but Tom was pushed to this. He wasn't a violent man or a wacko. I'm
very sorry that he's gone and that the other guy has been killed as well. Tom
was a serious advocate for marijuana. I had great times at his events. They
were well-organized and real fun. It's so sad. I guess Tom just couldn't take
it any more. He decided to go out fighting. He's another casualty of this
stupid drug war."
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