A crowd of about 100 people gathered to celebrate the 4/20 holiday at 4:20pm in front of the state house in Concord this evening. This years’ event was hosted by the NH Teapot Party, covering for the usual organizing of the 420 Foundation. Rich Paul, founder of the 420 Foundation and outspoken opponent of the war on drugs was convicted on Thursday afternoon by jury on multiple counts of cannabis distribution. He remains detained while awaiting sentencing, and today marked the first annual celebration without Rich since the rallies began in 2010.
While Rich was blasting his ideas through a bullhorn last year, the New Hampshire Drug Task Force as well as the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force were conducting an investigation into Rich’s not-so-discrete sale of cannabis. Multiple purchases totaling 81 years of prison time were made through a confidential informant who himself had been busted for heroin distribution. Despite the questionable ethics and honesty of the DTF, FBI, and the confidential informant, the jury did not find Rich’s victimless crime worthy of nullification. Unlike many involved in the drug trade, who profit from actions that they hide from public scrutiny, Rich’s openness made him an easy target, though he was incorrectly profiled as an easy mark. When told that his charges would go away if he would incriminate others for the FBI and DTF, Rich courageously stood on principle and said, ‘No’. In a way, Rich is going to jail in place of the unknown others whom he chose not to involuntarily substitute for his position.
About forty-five minutes before the revered hour, crowds began forming. Some chalked the courtyard as others bagged litter on the grounds. Frisbees and footballs were thrown freely, and young people chatted about expanded horizons in Colorado and Washington. There was not a police car nor bureaucrat in sight. When the time came, the usual pronouncement was delivered by Wendy, Rich’s girlfriend.
Photos from the event are beginning to appear online. Check Fr33manTVraw for continually uploading video from the scene. In addition to the loss of Rich’s freedom in the lengthy trial which commenced this week, nearby Massachusetts was shocked by the bombing of the Boston Marathon and subsequent manhunt which ended with a live capture on the 20th anniversary of the Waco massacre yesterday. With an end to the terror and images of militarized police south of the border, Saturday’s peaceful celebration was much needed.