Instead of beginning a 2 1/2 year prison sentence for marijuana trafficking, iconic marijuana activist Dana Beal has been released from custody after suffering a heart attack in a Wisconsin jail. Beal had been awaiting transfer to a state prison to begin serving his sentence when the heart attack struck September 27.
Yesterday, Beal posted this on his Facebook page:
A strange thing happened to me right when they were taking me to prison… They had to let me go cause I up and died on them (heart attack.) I have zero memory of what happened. I think the attack was triggered by a panic which caused shortness of breath because they never tell you they’re moving you (security). I had already been in the hole twice for saving food; twice for religious dispute over the Koran. Suddenly I’m on the floor and one of the same guys who put in last time is giving me cpr. They transferred me to the hospital in Dodgeville, which was inadequate, so I ended up waking up in St. Marys in Madison, under police guard. St Marys does hearts, and after about a week the DA and Sheriff let me bail out, cause Iowa county couldn’t afford to keep a deputy in Madison…. A few days later I’m doing a double bypass. After a week they kicked me out…
So instead of going to prison for 20 more months, it all became probation. I’m still facing Nebraska charges, and there’s no guarantee they’re giving me credit for the 9 mos I spent on hold in Wisconsin on their charges. They gave a co-defendent 17 mos. and he didn’t even exercise his right to put on a medical necessity defense. I may have to do the same sentencing hearing all over again, with different witnesses.
Beal had pled guilty to trafficking 180 pounds of pot in a bust that unraveled when his 1997 Chevy van got pulled over for expired tags and no tail light. But it was less than the four years the prosecution asked for and well below the 15 year maximum allowable under Wisconsin law.
When not fighting his own cases, Beal has built a career as an activist, first with the Yippies in the early 1970s, then as a founding organizer of the Global Marijuana Marches, and in recent years, as a crusader for the addiction-treating powers of ibogaine with his group Cures Not Wars.