Skip to main content

Marijuana: Daily 4:20 Protests Spark Saturday Arrest in Keene, New Hampshire

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #602)

Daily marijuana legalization protests in the Central Square in Keene, New Hampshire, led to one arrest Saturday for marijuana possession and one Sunday -- but the victim in that arrest was later found to be smoking chocolate mint in his glass pipe and released without charges. The demonstrations began last Tuesday with a couple of dozen people gathering at 4:20pm to toke up as an act of civil disobedience and call for marijuana law reform. After Saturday's arrest, the protests continued, with about 100 people showing up Monday.

(YouTube and
The protests are being led by Free Keene, a local affiliate of the libertarian New Hampshire Free State Project. The project's stated goal is to persuade 20,000 libertarians to move to New Hampshire in a bid to shift the politics of the low-population Granite State.

Arrested Saturday was Richard Paul, 40, one of the protest organizers. Paul was arrested after police patrolling the square saw him smoking a joint. Protestors shouted at police, yelling "Leave him alone!" and "This is how they did it in Nazi Germany!"

After the arrest, about 50 protestors followed Paul and police officers to the police station, where they shouted through the door and sat in a circle smoking marijuana. No more arrests were forthcoming, though.

To confuse police at the protests at the square, some smokers smoked things other than marijuana. That was the case Sunday, when police arrested a protester identified only as "Earl" for puffing on a glass pipe. Embarrassingly for police, that substance turned out to be not marijuana but chocolate mint, and Earl was quickly released.

Protests continued this week in Keene and have now spread to Manchester. In the latter town, protestors sparked up in the presence of police, but failed to provoke any arrests.

Perhaps the cops have better things to do. And that's precisely the point.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


BenO (not verified)

Wow this is great! Imagine if this protest spread all over the country.

It's 420 Everyday in Keene (Day 4)

Fri, 10/02/2009 - 1:56pm Permalink
Sadie (not verified)

In reply to by BenO (not verified)

It would be great if the protest spread but too many people are afraid to stand up and say NO to this prohibition so many people who smoke are worried about their jobs and standing in the community ...too many people believe the propaganda spewed from the generations before.....

Fri, 10/02/2009 - 4:17pm Permalink
Bewitched (not verified)

In reply to by Sadie (not verified)

I'm working on being one of those people who have the resources and freedom to put themselves out there. I would be proud to come out of the closet, it's not a matter of social standing, I think half the people I ever talk to wouldn't care if they knew, and if it was just about me I wouldn't care so much about my job either, but for now I have 6 other little lives depending on me, so I can't risk getting fired. But I'm working on it and yeah, if every one of probably 75-100 million americans were to come out of the closet what could they do? Arrest us? Refer us all to drug counseling or children's services?

Fri, 10/02/2009 - 7:11pm Permalink
maxwood (not verified)

It may take time to spread because New Hampshire has a name-lead in acquiring a pro-hemp politics. However, Chicaaaaawgo has a chance because it can name the movement after the late martyr Fred Hampton.

Sat, 10/03/2009 - 3:07pm Permalink

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.