Professor Emeritus Julian Heicklen and about 100 supporters gathered at the main entrance of Penn State University at High Noon Thursday for their fifth consecutive weekly protest against Marijuana Prohibition.

According to the State College Police, Heicklen and four others will be charged with possession for smoking at last week's rally. They will be notified by mail of the exact charges and the date of their hearing. Consequently Heicklen refrained from smoking at this weeks' protest and he asked his supporters to follow his example.

Heicklen read from a prepared statement, "I will not be smoking today and I request that none of you do so. Our goal is to get into the courts and we have met that goal. Five of us will soon receive notices of arrest. Our aim is not to break the marijuana laws but to nullify them. ...If we receive fair, impartial, and speedy trials by a jury of our peers, we shall proceed by that route. If not we will consider other alternatives."

Heicklen's weekly protests have attracted national media coverage as well as the support of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup said, "I think its a very courageous act he's doing and it's in the best traditions of the Civil Rights Movement in this country. Civil disobedience has always played an important role in shaping public policy...until more people like the good professor are willing to stand up and say the truth, and take the heat we may never get rid of these laws."

Stroup said that if the case goes to court, NORML's Legal Committee will likely file an Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) brief in support of Heicklen.

Stroup also said that NORML will be able to assist Heicklen in research, filing briefs and bringing expert witnesses to testify at trial.

Heicklen said he will continue the Thursday, High Noon protests and he urged the crowd to continue attending, "Your presence is necessary. It demonstrates support for the arrestees and acts as protection for them."

ALSO: 18 Year-Old High School Student Suspended for 3 Days Without Hearing for Being Arrested with Heicklen

(The following is an excerpt from the public statement of professor Julian Heicklen.)

"There was one unfortunate occurrence as a result of last week's events. Ken Keltner, one of the arrestees, is a student in the State College Area High School. He is in the Delta Program, which has an open lunch hour. Students are permitted to leave the school property during their lunch hour, which is what Ken did to participate in the Smoke Out."

"Kathleen Kelly, Director of the Delta Program, approached Ken at about 11:30 on Friday, February 13, 1998, and showed him a newspaper clipping that reported his arrest. She said that Ken was in violation of the school drug and alcohol policy, which forbids drug or alcohol use by students during school hours. She suspended him for 3 days on the spot without a hearing. She accompanied him to his locker. He got his books and went home. He was told not to return to school until Wednesday, February 18, 1998. Ken called the school at 1:00 PM on Friday, February 13, 1998, to ask for an appeal. Ms. Kelly denied him an appeal."

"On Wednesday, February 18, 1998, after the suspension period was over, Ken received a letter in the mail notifying him of the suspension. In order to remain in the program, Ken was informed that within 10 days he must have an assessment by a licensed drug and alcohol facility and that he must comply with the recommendations of that facility."

"The public schools have a right to make and enforce regulations on school property. They have an obligation to protect minors that are under their care. However, they do not have the right to regulate the behavior of adults that are not on school property. Ken Keltner is 18 years old and is an adult. He was not on school property and violated no school regulation by being off the school property during his lunch hour. He was suspended without a hearing based on a newspaper report. He was denied the right of appeal."

"The public schools are not law enforcement agencies, nor are they instruments of social policy. Their job is education. What they did in this case was to deny Mr. Keltner three days of education, which it is their obligation to provide, so that they could act as a law enforcement agency, which is not their function. This is a classic example of a police state in operation. Not only is it oppressive, but it loses sight of the interests of those it was meant to serve."

"This is the tyranny that our movement is trying to end. On Sunday, February 15, 1998, I made separate telephone calls to Connie Martin, Chair of the State College Area School District, and two other School Board members, Sue Werner and Donna Queeney. I discussed this matter with them and advised them that if they would rescind the suspension, I would let the matter die quietly. All three of them informed me that the School Board did not have the authority to rescind an administrative decision. Imagine that!"

"Then I called School Superintendent Bill Opdenhoff and repeated my comments. He said that he would look into the matter. However the suspension was not rescinded."

"We are in the midst of a national nightmare. The struggle to recover our moral compass will be long and difficult. With your help and support, we will succeed."

-- END --
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Issue #30, 2/20/98 Medical Marijuana Support Fund Established | Gingrich Calls Clinton's New Drug Strategy "The Definition of Failure," Pledges GOP Legislative Package | World Health Organization Suppresses Report Finding Marijuana Safer than Alcohol and Tobacco | Needle Exchange Volunteer Arrested in New Jersey: Letters are needed! | Protesting Penn State Professor Julian Heicklen, Four Others to be Charged -- High School Student Suspended for Three Days Without Hearing | Ex-Michigan Gov: Drug Lifer Law Inhumane | Medical Marijuana Activists to Open Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Across Eastern Canada | Interview with Canadian Medical Marijuana Activist Peter Young | Classmates of UK Home Secretary Straw's Son Hand Him Petition for Legalization of Cannabis | Job Opportunity: Drug Policy Foundation seeks Public Policy Director | Editorial: Bill, Newt, and the coming battle over the war
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