Casey William Hardison

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Casey William Hardison (born 1971) is an American chemist convicted in the United Kingdom in 2005 of six offences involving psychedelic drugs: three of production, two of possession, and one of exportation.[1][2]

Background[edit]

Hardison was born in Washington state in the summer of 1971.[3] He is committed to the entheogenic use of psychedelic substances.[4]

Research[edit]

In 2000, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies published in its bulletin Hardison's "An Amateur Qualitative Study of 48 2C-T-7 Subjective Bioassays." According to Hardison, 2C-T-7 is "a fairly novel entheogenic compound that has been used in a limited context as an adjunct in psychedelic psychotherapy since 1986."[5]

Activism[edit]

The Drug Equality Alliance, a nonprofit organization working to secure equal rights and protections for drug users, was set up by lawyer Darryl Bickler inspired by Hardison's legal arguments.[6]

Crimes[edit]

After moving to Brighton, Hardison illegally manufactured three class A drugs: 2C-B, DMT, and LSD.[7] Having set up a laboratory in his rented bungalow,[7] he used £38,386 worth of chemical ingredients to produce hallucinogenic tablets with a street value of up to £5m.[8]

Arrest[edit]

In July 2003, Hardison sent two packages to the U.S. During random inspection at the FedEx hub in Memphis, Tennessee,[9] officials found hidden between pages of a magazine four bags of MDMA, street name Ecstasy, a psychoactive drug used primarily as a recreational drug.[7][8] Thus alerted, British authorities monitored Hardison until arresting him near Brighton in February 2004.[8]

Legal proceedings[edit]

The case was complicated by the involvement of U.S. law enforcement agents, some of whom attended the trial as witnesses. Hardison represented himself in court.[2]

Pre-trial arguments[edit]

Hardison challenged the drug laws as violating his cognitive liberty and his rights to freedom of thought, therapy and religion,[4] contending that his basic human rights and liberties were violated by his arrest, detention and prosecution. In response, the judge of the Crown Court wrote, "I have come to the sure and clear conclusion that Mr. Hardison's arguments are misconceived and I reject each and every one of the Human Rights arguments."[10]

Trial and conviction[edit]

In March 2005, after a 10-week trial at Lewes Crown Court,[9] the jury found Hardison guilty. Calling him a "dangerous individual," the judge said Hardison was motivated by greed and set up his ‘illegal’ drug factory[1]—which a chemist from the Forensic Science Service called the most complex laboratory he had ever encountered[9]—in the UK because U.S. drug laws were "too hot." The court was told Hardison's father used proceeds of his son's crimes to buy a yacht.[1]

Sentence[edit]

In April 2005, Hardison was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment in the UK with a recommendation that he be deported upon his release.[2][7]

Appeals[edit]

In May 2006, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales rejected Hardison's first application for leave to appeal, finding that none of his grounds had sufficient merit. In his decision, Justice Keith wrote that Hardison's criminal enterprise "was not an amateurish operation in a garden shed. It was a careful and calculated attempt to introduce new synthetic drugs onto the UK market which could have reaped great financial rewards."[9]

Subsequently, the House of Lords (then the court of last resort for UK criminal law) refused Hardison's final appeal, and his similar appeal to the European Court of Human Rights likewise failed.[4]

Prison life[edit]

Hardison found drugs readily available in prison. "LSD, 2C-B, DMT, pharmahuasca, research chemicals, kratom, cannabis, home-brewed alcohol—I did a whole bunch of shit in there," he told Vice in 2014. "Drugs are more available in prison than they would be for the common man trying to find them on the street. And the British prison system is fairly gentle—it's pretty damn civilized."[3]

Release[edit]

Following his release from prison in May 2013,[4] Hardison was deported from the UK to the U.S.[3] After living in Victor, Idaho,[11] he moved to Northern California.[12]

Recent Years[edit]

Death of Anthony Birkholz[edit]

On January 17, 2017, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, after drinking heavily, Hardison and two other men consumed a substance believed by the Teton County, Wyoming coroner to be the psychedelic drug 5-MeO-DMT.[13] One of the men, artist and filmmaker Anthony Birkholz,[14] died from aspiration of vomitus secondary to food, alcohol and 5-MeO-DMT ingestion. The jury at the coroner's inquest found that Birkholz's death was accidental but could have been prevented.[13][15] Hardison called 5-MeO-DMT "a very rare, beautiful experience," but admitted he hadn't done any since the night Birkholz died. "Looking back now," he said, "I'm not so charmed."[16]

A day after Birkholz's death, Hardison launched a GoFundMe page, "Tony Birkholz Slips the Mortal Coil," raising $6,100.[17] "This campaign," Hardison wrote, "intends to raise memorial funds and to ensure his remains reach his intended destination. Any remaining funds will be donated to the Buffalo Field Campaign, West Yellowstone, Montana, in the fight to protect the last remaining wild buffalo." After several hundred people attended a vigil at the Pink Garter,[14] a music venue and cocktail lounge in Jackson, Wyoming,[18] Hardison said part of the $6,100 raised online paid for the open bar that night. None of the remaining $3,900, however, was donated as pledged to the Buffalo Field Campaign. In June 2017, a member of Birkholz's family filed a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center accusing Hardison of fraud.[14]

Arrest in Idaho[edit]

In February 2017, Hardison was stopped in Bellevue, Idaho, for speeding. After a drug-sniffing dog detected ‘controlled drugs’, police searched Hardison's vehicle. They found $7,928 in cash, about two pounds of marijuana, a half gram of cocaine and what was believed to be heroin. However, tests by the Idaho State Police labs determined that the suspected substance was not heroin.[11] Hardison admitted that half of the $7,928 in cash was the missing GoFundMe money collected to honor Tony Birkholz.[14] On March 21, Hardison pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the traffic stop.[11]

In August 2017, all charges against Hardison, including three felony counts and one misdemeanor, were dismissed after a judge ruled that the traffic stop was unconstitutionally delayed without reasonable suspicion, allowing a canine officer time to detect the presence of controlled substances.[12]

Attempted arrest in Wyoming[edit]

According to the Jackson Hole News & Guide, on August 6, 2018, police attempted to arrest Hardison for selling a large quantity of marijuana to an undercover officer. However, Hardisson eluded them after a high-speed chase.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "DIY chemist jailed for 20 years". BBC. April 22, 2005. Retrieved August 10, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c "R v Casey Hardison" (PDF). CPS Sussex Annual Report 2004-2005: 6. 2005. Retrieved August 10, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c "The Psychedelic 'Drugs Wizard' Who Ran One of England's Biggest LSD Labs". Vice. October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d "Erowid Casey William Hardison Vault". Erowid. August 2, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2007.
  5. ^ Hardison, Casey (Summer 2000). "An Amateur Qualitative Study of 48 2C-T-7 Subjective Bioassays". Bulletin of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). 10 (2): 11. Retrieved August 12, 2007.
  6. ^ "Drug Equality Alliance - Background". 2008. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
  7. ^ a b c d Cridland, Ali (January 21, 2005). "Drugs wizard gets 20 years". Brighton Argus. p. 1.
  8. ^ a b c "DIY chemist guilty of making drug". BBC. March 18, 2005. Retrieved August 12, 2007.
  9. ^ a b c d "R v Casey Hardison" (PDF). HMCS Court of Appeal of England and Wales. May 25, 2006. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
  10. ^ "R v Casey Hardison" (PDF). HMCS Lewes Crown Court. January 2005. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
  11. ^ a b c Thorne, Ryan (March 31, 2017). "Victor man pleads not guilty to felony drug charges". Idaho Mountain Express.
  12. ^ a b Murdock, Joshua (September 15, 2017). "Charges dropped in alleged drug bust". Idaho Mountain Express.
  13. ^ a b "Coroner's Inquest rules death of Birkholz accidental but possibly preventable". Buckrail. May 18, 2017. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  14. ^ a b c d Mieure, Emily (June 7, 2017). "Memorial cash confiscated by police". Jackson Hole News&Guide.
  15. ^ Chambers, Jessica Sell (May 31, 2017). "In Birkholz death, alcohol, drug abuse were largely glossed over". Planet Jackson Hole.
  16. ^ Mieure, Emily (May 24, 2017). "Inquest: Death wasn't natural". Jackson Hole News&Guide.
  17. ^ "Tony Birkholz Slips the Mortal Coil". GoFundMe. January 18, 2017. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  18. ^ "Cocktails & Creatives". Pink Garter Theatre. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  19. ^ "Cops say drug suspect eluded them in chase". jhnewsand guide.com. August 8, 2018. Retrieved August 8, 2018.

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