7/6/98 I left my home at about 11.20 am to pick up some people to attend the weekly Monday protest at the court house in Bellefonte Pa. Moments after I left home I noticed that a Pennsylvania State Police Car was on my tail and following very close. As I continued up the highway and started an ascent up the side of the mountain, the officer dropped back about quarter of a mile. Then he suddenly accelerated and passed me like I was parked, only to catch up to slower moving construction traffic just up the highway, seconds later I was on his tail. When we reached the top of the mountain the construction vehicles moved to the right as did the police car. The officer stuck his hand out the window and made a gesture which I took as a signal to pass, so I safely passed and the officer pulled out and pulled me over.
At first he just stood and stared at me, He seemed mesmerized by my hemp shirt and the huge images of marijuana leaves on the front. I had to ask him twice if I could help him with something. He finally told me that I had passed in a no passing zone and asked for the usual documents. He took them and wrote me an official warning for a traffic violation. He then asked me if I had any drugs or weapons in the van. I said I did not. He asked" if he could look in the van" (it has no windows) I told him he could look. He asked me out of the van, then he frisked me and told me to sit on the guard rail where he could see me, which was good because I could see him as well. I watched as he emptied the glove box on to the floor. I saw him find a hand rolled cigarette. He smelled the cigarette put it back and continued to search dumping all the containers and boxes in the van on to the floor. He came out with a hand full of MADD ribbons and asked me why I had them. I told him that support MADD and I sometimes handed ribbons out at events. He asked what kind of events. I said mostly political protests. He asked about the envelopes full of pro-marijuana literature. He asked "how I could be anti-alcohol but pro-marijuana." I said my political stance was for "choice and informed and responsible use of substances" He asked me "Do you smoke pot?"
I said I did a lot, when I was younger. "Why did you stop?" he queried. I had to give it up when it became politically incorrect. He asked if I currently smoked?" I said, "only at protests."
He returned to the van again. When he finished he came out of the van and frisked me a second time. He then took his canine into the van so he could search as well. I saw no indication of any sort of interest from the dog. He then put the dog back and went into the van for a fourth time. This time he came out with the cigarette and asked what it was. I told him it was a hempen joint which contained no THC. I told him it was the same material that my shirt was made from.. He said his dog had hit on it. He asked me where I gotten it from. I told him that I received it from a gentleman at the July fourth protest in Washington D.C. He asked me if I had smoked any, I told him not today, but I had tried it in DC. He asked if I had gotten high from it? I said no it tasted like shit, did nothing, except smell like marijuana when burned. He asked me what I had planned to do with it. I said that I had planned on taking it to Dr Heicklens protest today. He said that "Heicklen was a kook that was stirring up trouble, while he was trying to fight a war on drugs". I told him that political Protest was the foundation and a right in this country and we were all practicing that right. He field tested the substance and said that it contained very small amounts of THC. He did not however test my shirt, The officer then said, "He would keep it for now and was going to have it lab tested and reserved the right to come and arrest me for it at a later date". He also produced a electrical clip he said was found in my van. He asked me if it had been used to smoke marijuana. I told him I wasn't sure but it looked like it had resin on it. 11:55 He told me I could go (the protest was scheduled for noon) But cautioned me that he could recognize my van and would be pulling me over again, so I better not plan on carrying any Marijuana around.
Now I know a lot of you say that I have the right to refuse a search of my vehicle. But you must also note that that the courts have ruled that refusal amounts to reasonable suspicion and that the officer can hold you until a proper search warrant is obtained or in some states continue the search with or without your permission. I actually did not consent to a search, I agreed to let him look in the van and gave the officer no reasonable cause to search and quite likely could get off if charged. Point being knowing that they are going to search regardless, you have a better chance of going home if you cooperate. I am sure if I made him get a warrant I would be in jail at this moment awaiting bail money...
Now a paranoid man would think that this was all very orchestrated, planned conceived and acted out to prevent me and my riders from attending the protest. This would mean that my or my compatriots phone or computer lines may be bugged. A sane rational man might believe that it is all nothing more than coincidence. I reserve to make the decision about my sanity until after the protest at Central Pennsylvania Art's fest. I am waiting to see if the letter people come knocking upon my door for that answer.
John Galt Jr.