James Getman

Hempsters demonstrate against the war on drugs.

Davenport, IA July 27, 1996.  The streets of downtown Davenport were infiltrated by a platoon of freedom fighters wearing tee-shirts that read "Bix smokes," armed with 10,000 flyers that describe the world renown jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke as a marijuana user.  Thousands of survivors from the Bix 7 Mile foot race and attendants of the Bix jazz music fest were eagerly snapping up the hand bills.  Meanwhile a few blocks away, a hundred hempsters demonstrated on the lawn of the Scott County Court House.

A press conference hosted by Chris Rice, Quad City Hemp Coalition organizer, explains the demonstration's purpose is: to denounce the police macing and beating of hempsters at the May 18th QCHC rally at Davenport's Credit Island; as part of the Uniting Spirits march to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago to protest the war on drugs; and to educate the public of the role marijuana played in the jazz music community.  Speakers included QCHC Chris Rice, libertarian candidate Robin Miller, and Zenger Editor Jackson Clubb.

Chris Rice told the crowd how police at Credit Island started the riot when they wrenched a purse from a woman's hands dispite her protest against search without consent.  Rice continued with how he was beat while being arrested for interferance with the search and how police claim that he broke a police officer's leg during his arrest.  Chris further told of his up coming trial and said, "The cops don't have a leg to stand on."  Read about Credit Island rally on the net at http://mojo.calyx.net/~olsen/NORML/QCHC/qchc.html.

Libertarian candidate from illinios for US Senate, Robin Miller talked about the Libertarian Party platform entitled First Step Towards Freedom; included within he said, "Pardon everyone convicted of nonviolent drug offences ... to empty federal prisons of the marijuana smokers and others who are of no threat to society."  Miller pledged, "The Constitution is our contract with America."

Jackson Clubb encouraged people to go to Chicago and participate in the Uniting Spirits march to the Democratic National Convention.  Clubb said that he was run out of town in the 1970's for organizing rallies and selling tee-shirts that read "Quad Shitties" depicting a cop beating a hippy.

Others told how Henry County Illinios is one big drug war atrocity, where victims are intimidated by police into consent to search and are railroaded through court to jail.  A woman discribed how she served 12 terrible weeks in the Henry Co. jail for one joint.  Mr. Rice told of the excitement of cross country travelers when they see fields of wild marijuana; only to end up in jail for picking ditchweed that gives you a headache.

No law enforcement was visible at the rally, except for two friendly Sheriff Dept. deputies who passed through on bicycles.  The demonstration concluded with 100 protesters carrying signs chantting, "Hay Hay HO HO, we don't want your drug war, Bix smoked reefer," and "We smoke pot and we like it alot."  Local press report "Hemp Fest Peaceful."