With the academic year winding down, student activists at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire—one of HIGH TIMES top 10 colleges for marijuana law reform activism in 2008—put their efforts into two events designed to inspire their fellow students and local community towards addressing the negative effects of the War on Drugs, both on campus and beyond.
On April 26, the Franklin Pierce chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy sponsored “Rock out with Your Lockout,” an all-night demonstration and concert planned to commemorate a far less fun “lockout” on campus in 2007. Two years ago, four students were barred from their campus housing for more than 30 hours by police who were awaiting a search warrant after a school employee discovered an alleged “marijuana grinder” during routine maintenance. The incident lead to spontaneous student protests, followed by a coordinated campaign of opposition from Franklin Pierce SSDP that eventually earned the chapter SSDP’s Campus Change Award.
Trailer 4 House Band, whose members were directly involved in the 2007 lockout, returned to “the scene of the crime,” and provided the “rock out” portion of an alfresco evening that included music, speeches, and more than a dozen students sleeping in tents. Despite continued controversy regarding the role of local police on campus, the event went off without incident.
On May 2, a day marked by marijuana marches across the globe, the Franklin Pierce SSDP chapter followed up by taking over the center of campus for an all-day event called “Dare to Think for Yourself,” bringing in speakers and exhibitors from across the country to challenge status quo thinking when it comes to the War on Drugs. Keynote speaker Tom Ballanco “rapped” with students about his work on high profile marijuana law reform cases, including defending medical marijuana patients in California, actor Woody Harrelson against the DEA, and hemp planting Native Americans living on supposedly sovereign land in the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
Other speakers included David Bienenstock, a Senior Editor at HIGH TIMES and author of “The Official HIGH TIMES Pot Smoker's Handbook,” Matt Simon, the Executive Director of New Hampshire Compassion, Eric Lineback, a Regional Coordinator at Vote Hemp, and Jean Coutu, Chair of Citizens Alliance Against Creepy Politics (C.A.A.C.P).
Headlining the event was Trailer 4 House Band, a former HIGH TIMES unsigned band of the week, who closed the show with their typical mix of roots, rock, and a bit of hip-hop, including cleverly crafted originals and re-imagined covers of the Rolling Stones and Sublime. The event also featured local acts The Mad Dogs and Crooked Gun.