In honor of all the drug policy
reform activists who worked so hard, but did not live to see
the day of freedom and realization. They are true heroes of
liberty and justice.
1: Don Topping, Cheryl Miller, Tom Crosslin and Rollie
Rohm, Peter McWilliams, Genie Brittingham Erstad, Joe Hart,
Ian Hunter, Robert Randall, Gil Puder, Jim
2: Laura Carden, Robert Lunday, Norm Major, Ralph
Seeley, Ken and Barbara Jenks, Kirk Hampton, Keith David
Whitaker, Roland Heyne Jr., Christie Bohling, Tom
Smith, Brownie Mary Rathbun, Tom Flowers, Buddy the MIA POW,
Steven Smith, Steve Michael, Alan Martinez
4: Ron Crickenberger, Judith Cushner, Mary Gennoy,
Cecilia Franceschini, Pope Micky, Kioshi Kurimaya
Hawaii / 1929-2003
Medicinal marijuana, advocate and retired University of
Hawaii professor Donald Topping died June 29, 2003 at age
73. He had battled cancer for about 15 years.
Born in West Virginia., Topping spent more than half his
life in Hawaii. For 35 years he worked for the University of
Hawaii as a linguistics professor and administrator. Topping
also researched Micronesian languages, wrote and edited the
Chamorro-English Dictionary and served as director for the
Pacific and Asian Linguistics Institute and the Social
Science Research Institute.
Topping co-founded the Drug
Policy Forum of Hawaii in 1993 and served as its
president for 10 years. The group pressed for the
legalization of medical marijuana and persuaded former Gov.
Cayetano to back a bill to legalize medicinal marijuana in
Hawaii. His use of medical marijuana led him to be one of
the first people to "come out" in the Cannabis
"His last work was his favorite," his wife, Priscilla,
said. He really liked "educating people about the dangers of
drugs and telling them the truth." Topping believed that
"everyone deserved to live in peace and dignity, and no one
should be left behind," Priscilla said. "He's the kind of
man who believed in the rights of the common person." Family
and friends will scatter Topping's ashes at his favorite
surf spot off Diamond Head. Services are private, but
contributions in Topping's name may be made to the Drug
Policy Forum of Hawaii.
New Jersey patient advocate (with her husband, Jim).
Medicinal marijuana activist and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
patient Cheryl Miller died June 7, 2003 from pneumonia and
other MS-related complications. She was 57 years old.
Miller, along with her husband Jim, was a tireless
lobbyist in support of the legalization of marijuana for
medical use. The issue was a personal one to Cheryl, who ate
marijuana to alleviate symptoms of MS.
By 1997, she had been strictly homebound by her condition
for over 10 years, before she and her husband participated
in that year's Boston-to-Washington "Wheelchair Crusade" for
medical marijuana. Cheryl was called a "prop" of
marijuana-legalization advocates by Rep. Bob Barr (7th
Dist., GA) in October 1999, after her husband was arrested
in the doorway of Barr's office in Washington, DC during a
medical-marijuana demonstration. Capitol police, who broke
up the rally and charged Jim Miller with demonstrating
there, opted not to bust Cheryl also, who was lying next to
her husband in Barr's office doorway, immobilized with
advanced multiple sclerosis. They were protesting Barr's
efforts to prevent citizens in Washington DC from having
their votes counted on the 1998 medical marijuana
In a posting to the Cherylheart
Project website, husband Jim wrote the following tribute
to his wife and best friend: "Cheryl made her life an open
book so others could have a better life. ... She was never
afraid of the consequences of what we did to help fight
medical marijuana prohibition. She was afraid of being able
to help seriously ill people, and not doing so. She was a
teacher, and I learned from her. I am learning still. We
must not mourn her passing without celebrating her life.
Cheryl gave us a lesson that is ours to use or ignore. Don't
be afraid of doing what needs to be done. You should
however, be afraid of being able to do something, and not
taking a swing. For a person that could not move her arms
for many years, Cheryl took some pretty big swings. I will
not let the example she lived go unused. She will be with me
Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm
Vindalia, MI, Rainbow Farm activists and festival
organizers. Died 2001
Grover T. (Tom) Crosslin lived for the cause of marijuana
legalization. In 2001, he and his partner Rollie Rohm both
died for it. They paid the ultimate price in the struggle
Crosslin, 46, was owner and operator of Rainbow Farm, an
alternative campground and concert site in Newberg Township
outside of Vandalia, Michigan. Over the years he hosted
numerous marijuana reform events, which local authorities
tried repeatedly to stop. Crosslin felt that he was
protected by the First Amendment, but the state was moving
to seize Rainbow Farm under civil asset forfeiture
proceedings, claiming that drugs were being sold there. A
local judge issued an injunction barring Crosslin from
holding any further marijuana-related gatherings at the
campground. Then, in a move that pushd the pair's situation
from intolerable to unbearable, Michigan child welfare
authorities had taken Rohm's 12-year-old son, Robert, and
placed him in foster care after the May raid. They decided
to burn the structures down before they would let the
government steal them. It turned out to be a fatal
Crosslin was shot and killed on his property by an FBI
agent in the afternoon of September 3, 2001. His long-time
partner, Rolland Rohm, was shot and killed early morning
Sept. 4 by Michigan State Police on the property. The
shootings ended a stand-off that had begun on August 31.
Just as public attention was turning to the massacre at
Rainbow Farm, the 9/11 attacks occurred, and suddenly their
story was lost amid the tragedy in New York City.
Many reformers are crying out for justice for these two
martyrs to the cause of free speech and drug policy reform.
For more information go to Human
Rights and the Drug War or visit the Rainbow Farm
New article in Playboy magazine reveals horrors of the
Rainbow Farm assinations:
California. Died 2000 at age 50
Peter McWilliams was a best-selling writer and publisher
of many self-help and other books. Among his best-known
works are How to Survive the Loss of a Love, Life 101
and Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do. Having
repeatedly pulled his life together after hardships and
bouts with depression, he wrote books to help others rise
In March1996, Peter was diagnosed with AIDS and cancer,
and felt that medical marijuana saved his life by making his
days bearable and allowing him to take his other
medications. The marijuana stopped his relentless vomiting,
relieved the gut-wrenching nausea, restored his appetite and
lifted his spirits. Peter told himself that if he lived, he
would devote his life to getting medical marijuana to all
the sick people who needed it.
Well, Peter did live, and after voters passed Proposition
215, he decided to help patients obtain medical marijuana
there in accordance with State law. Unfortunately, he ran
amiss of federal law. With no legal defense in federal
court, and facing a 10-year sentence, McWilliams pled to a
lesser charge and got five years. While awaiting his
sentencing, Peter was forbidden to use medical marijuana and
choked to death on his own vomit.
For this AIDS patient, the government's denial of the
medicine that controlled his nausea became a death sentence.
Some reformers consider his judge guilty of murder by
judicial decree, since he had been advised in advance that
McWilliams might die if deprived of medical marijuana. For
more information, go to Human
Rights and the Drug War or visit the McWilliams Memorial
California, She Who Remembers audio archives.
Genie Brittingham Erstad, known as She Who Remembers was
a respected political activist, public speaker, hemp
activist, friend, radio talk show host, and talk show
archiver for Pacifica Network radio station 90.7 KPFK Los
Angeles (Pacifica is 100% Corporate Free Public Radio).
Genie collected and recorded these hard core underground
audio archives for KPFK and distributed them herself on
cassette under the name She Who Remembers for over 12
Her tenacious recording of events and radio broadcasts
has been combined into an audio archive of wide scope and
great value to researchers and historians, as well as being
a point of interest and opportunity for anyone who cares
about drug policy reform, industrial hemp, or a myriad of
A collection of her works are still available online.
here to find out more.
Key West Florida. Died 1999
Joe Hart was the coordinator of Medical Cannabis Key
West, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran and recipient twice
of the Purple Heart, five bronze stars and the air medal for
service. Hart belonged to more than a dozen clubs that sold
marijuana for medical use. He died from AIDS-complicated
multiple myeloma at the Veterans Administration Medical
Center in Miami on August 21, 1999.
Joe Hart who was arrested by state and federal agents in
1998 for possession of medicinal cannabis with intent to
sell. Approximately 25 state and federal agents smashed
their way into his residence during the raid. Kay Lee, known
affectionately as Grandma Lee, worked with Joe during hia
last year at the Medical Cannabis Key West club.
For more information about Medical Cannabis Key West or
ways in which you can assist in its mission, please
telephone Medical Cannabis Key West at (305) 293-1865. You
can also visit its current coordinator Kay Lee's personal
website or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
to be placed on her e-mail list.
And to Joe Hart: Your mission continues!
Vancouver, Canada, hemp activist and religious use
advocate. Died 2002
n the early 90's, Hunter co-created Vancouver's early
rave scene above the legendary dealer's café
Crosstown Traffic and hosted a show on Vancouver Co-op
Radio. With Dana Larsen, Hunter founded the short-lived
Total Hemp Corporation in 1992. Hunter helped Marc Emery to
found Hemp BC in 1993.
Hunter also met Reverends Tucker and Baldasaro from the
Church of the Universe -- members of which believe marijuana
is the tree of life -- and was ordained. Later, Reverend
Hunter split from the Vancouver crowd and moved to BC's
capital city of Victoria, on Vancouver Island, where he
founded a hemp store called Sacred Herb.
The good Reverend Hunter shocked the Victoria scene with
his vivid character. He popularized the term "4:20" by
holding sacramental cannabis gatherings in the local park at
that time of the afternoon. He also ran for mayor, endured
arrest on cannabis charges and eventually challenged those
charges as violations of religious freedoms enshrined in the
constitution. Ian died in a boating accident.
More about his colorful contributions to reform can be
found at http://www.hempbc.com/articles/2654.html.
Virginia, first patient to receive federal Medical
Marijuana via the IND program. Died 2001
Robert Randall and Alice O'Leary, shown together here,
were co-founders of ACT, Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics,
the first non-profit organization dedicated to reforming the
laws prohibiting medical marijuana use
In 1976, Randall made legal and medical history when he
persuaded a federal court in Washington, DC, that his use of
marijuana to treat his glaucoma was a medical necessity. At
the same time, he petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration for permission to legally use it. In
November, 1976, Randall became the first person in modern
U.S. history to obtain legal, medical access to
Randall's struggles launched the modern medical marijuana
movement in the US. The federal government attempted to cut
off Randall's supply in 1978, but he sued to be able to
continue to use marijuana for his glaucoma-and won again.
His victory compelled the federal government to establish
the Compassionate Investigational New Drug, or "IND"
program, under which he was able to gain access to a
non-approved drug, namely cannabis. He continued to receive
U.S. government-supplied joints until his death on June, 2,
Randall was instrumental in the case which resulted in
DEA Administrative Law Judge Frances Young's famous decision
calling on the DEA to reschedule marijuana. He wrote
numerous books, some with O'Leary, and worked to get the IND
program extended to more patients.
more information, read this excellent article by Kevin
Zeese. Send Rob Randall memorial donations to:
Hospice of Southwest Florida
5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34238
Vancouver, Canada, law enforcement officer and
reform advocate. Died 1999
Vancouver Police officer Gil Puder died of sudden cancer
syndrome in 1999. Puder's life was changed when he shot and
killed a street level drug dealer and realized that such
deaths need not to happen at all. His battle against the war
on drugs began when he wrote an article for the Vancouver
Sun arguing that drug addiction is a public health crisis,
not a law enforcement challenge. His book, Crossfire
-- A Street Cop's Stand Against Violence, Corruption and
The War On Drugs, by Gil Pruder, published by Douglas
& McIntyre, Vancouver, was published in March 2000.
The Chief of Police in the Vancouver Police Department
was not happy and ordered him to have 'no contact with the
media' unless it was authorized by him. Rather than concede
to their threats, Gil went on to become a media figure, a
champion of medical marijuana, and an award winning reform
can see him in action in a series of online video
California, Internet activist extraordinaire. Died
Activist, friend and computer wiz kid, Jim Rosenfield,
passed away Friday, December 17, 1999, of a heart attack.
His wife, Victoria says he died happy; doing the thing he
loved most, ballroom dancing.
Jim started Think for Yourself in 1992, to present voices
dissenting from the official prohibitionist viewpoint, that
we must suppress the use of drugs by criminalizing drugs
users and trade in drugs.
"Dissenting views have been suppressed through a powerful
government-sponsored campaign of intimidation, demonization,
ridicule and harassment. The World Wide Web now makes it
possible to combat the government campaign and to present
this material to all who are concerned," he promised. His
forsight proved to be prophetic.
He was one of the reform pioneers of the worldwide web,
and with Cliff Schaffer, he conceived and published online
the developed DRCNet, The Drug
Reform Coordination Network, Think for Yourself, and the
(World's Largest Online Library of Drug Policy). For more on
his contributions, see http://www.drugsense.org/jnr/jrosenf.htm.