Dana Beal

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Dana Beal speaking in Boston in 2009

Irvin Dana Beal (born January 9, 1947 in Ravenna, Ohio) is an American social and political activist, best known for his efforts to legalize marijuana and to promote the benefits of Ibogaine as an addiction treatment. He is a long-term activist in the Youth International Party (Yippies). He founded the Yipster Times in 1972.[1][2][3][4]

History and activism[edit]

Beal marches at the head of the New York City Marijuana March in 1994.
Jack Herer and Dana Beal at the September 1989 Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest in Madison, Wisconsin.

Chapter 4 of the 1997 book "The Ibogaine Story"[5] is a biography of Dana Beal with some additions. It states:

Dana was born in the same hospital in Ravenna, Ohio, where the dying students were later taken from Kent State. He counts among his formative experiences shaking hands with Jack Kennedy when he campaigned in East Lansing in 1960, and hitch-hiking in August '63, at 16, to Washington, D.C., in order to be near the foot of the Lincoln Memorial for the "I have a dream" speech. Two months later he organized his first demonstration of 2,000 people, in Lansing, when the Klan blew up four little Black girls in a church on Birmingham Sunday. The next year he did a brief stint in a state mental hospital because of his mercurial temper. Because he told shrinks he thought he was destined for something important, they said he was crazy. But that kept him from being drafted in January '65, a month with the highest proportion of casualties in Viet Nam. He also became a lifelong critic of thorazine and prolyxin. He escaped, got a job in New York, saved his money, and legalized his status in late 1965.

The Ibogaine Story also reports the following:

Inspired by a VOICE article on the Dutch Provos, he started the New York Provos with two friends, and called a smoke-in for Tompkins Square Park. The smoke-ins got bigger and bigger, and after a judge ruled a roll-your-own cigarette seen from a distance wasn't grounds for arrest, the Feds moved in an informer who wheedled Dana's personal acid stash out of him. When he was busted in late August 1967, 3,000 people marched from a Fugs concert, across Fourteenth Street, to the federal holding pen on West Street. It was Dana's first fifteen minutes of fame. In October [1967] the Provos gave out four pounds of pot at the "Levitation of the Pentagon." Then in December, the Provo Free Store on First Street was raided, and Dana was charged with a pot sale he didn't do. Convinced he couldn't get fair treatment, he fled to Mexico, then Canada, where he had to watch Chicago '68 on television.[5]

Dana Beal also helped organize some of the U.S. versions of the "Rock Against Racism" concerts.[6]

Global Marijuana March[edit]

Dana Beal sometime in the early-to-mid 1990s

The worldwide Global Million Marijuana March (GMM or MMM) event began in 1999 with Beal as the major organizer. It occurs on the first Saturday of May every year, and now takes place in hundreds of cities around the world in addition to New York City (NYC). NYC has had various marijuana rallies since 1967.[1][7][8][9] Beal has a long history of marijuana activism both inside and outside of NYC. In July 1972 in Miami Beach, Florida Beal was one of the organizers of a Zippie-led marijuana smoke-in outside the 1972 Democratic Convention.[10]


Beal has promoted ibogaine as an addiction interrupter. Beal asserts that addiction is a disease that can be treated with ibogaine.[5][6]

Beal helped to organize the Boston Ibogaine forum held in February 2009 at Northeastern University. During the forum, he gave a presentation on the chemistry and pharmacology of ibogaine.[11]

Social engagement[edit]

Beal's "Cures Not Wars" site included information on the Global Marijuana March and the use of Ibogaine in addiction treatment.[12] He also works on behalf of people with AIDS. Paul DeRienzo was a close associate of Beal's, as was Thomas King Forcade, the founder of High Times magazine. The book Blacklisted News, is available from the Yippie Museum Press, 9 Bleecker St., NYC 10012, where Beal lived, and which also houses the Yippie Museum.[13][14] The Yippie Museum Cafe and display area now occupies the first floor of Nine Bleecker Street, a landmark building designed by the partner of Frederick Law Olmsted, the man who designed Central Park.

Beal serves today on the board of the Yippie Museum.[15] It is dedicated to preserving the activities and artifacts of the Youth International Party. The Yippie Museum was chartered by the Board of Regents of New York State at their March 21, 2006 meeting.[16] As of January 2014, with Beal's release on parole from prison in Nebraska imminent, the 9 Bleecker Street building went into foreclosure. The occupants left, and the entire collection was being removed to storage.[17]

Dana Beal was given an Honorary Board Seat on the 'New York State Committee To Legalize Marijuana' on 4/20/2015 by Dennis Levy, the HIV+ African American President.[citation needed]

2008 arrest in Illinois[edit]

Beal was arrested June 3, 2008 in Mattoon, Illinois about 170 miles south of Chicago on suspicion of money laundering.[18] The Associated Press reported that he appeared before a judge on June 12, and was charged with obstruction of justice. He was released on $7,500 bail.[19]

According to The New York Times, police responded to a report of 2 women arguing at a restaurant. The 2 women were traveling with Beal and another man. Mick McAvoy is the first assistant state’s attorney for Coles County, Illinois. According to the Times, "Mr. McAvoy said witnesses told the police that Mr. Beal had placed bags beneath nearby vehicles. Mr. McAvoy said the police found two duffel bags containing more than $150,000 in cash. At that point, Mr. McAvoy said, a drug-sniffing dog was brought in to smell the bags." According to Beal's attorney, Ronald Tulin of Charleston, Illinois, the police said the money smelled of marijuana.[20] Beal has always said that the money was en route to support an ibogaine-based drug treatment clinic in Mexico.

On August 6, 2008 Judge Richard Scott found probable cause for a jury trial for Irvin Dana Beal, 61, of New York City and Jesse Balcom, 31, of Silver Spring, Maryland. The trial began in November 2008 on obstruction of justice charges, because it was alleged that Beal and his associate were hiding the bags of money in expectation that the police might search their van.[21] The outcome of the trial was that Beal pleaded guilty to misdemeanor marijuana possession and was fined $1,300. Obstruction of justice charges were dismissed. Federal authorities are seeking forfeiture of the money involved.[22]

2009 arrest in Nebraska[edit]

Dana Beal, Christopher Ryan, and James Statzer were arrested at 10:35 p.m. on September 30, 2009 in Ashland, Nebraska. Police claim that they were stopped because the conversion van they were in was driving erratically, and because the rear license plate was obstructed. Police allegedly found 150 pounds of marijuana in the van. All 3 face charges of possession with intent to deliver and having no drug tax stamp.[23] Ryan and Statzer were held on $100,000 bond each. Beal was held on $500,000 bond. According to the Omaha World-Herald Saunders County Attorney Scott Tingelhoff said that there was an effort on the web to raise Beal's bail.[24][25] He had to raise 10 percent ($50,000) in order to be released.[26][27][28][29] Beal is being represented in his case by Glenn Shapiro of the law firm Schaefer and Shapiro in Omaha Nebraska.

2011 arrest and conviction in Wisconsin[edit]

Dana Beal was arrested on Jan. 6, 2011 with 186 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop in Barneveld, Wisconsin. He and driver Lance Ramer of Omaha, Nebraska were held on $50,000 bond each in the Iowa County Jail in Dodgeville. Authorities won't release the police report because Federal officials say it might compromise a national drug investigation which runs "from California to New York, with multiple locations."[30][31][32][33]

On September 20, 2011 Dana Beal was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison. He was credited with 267 days already served for the time he was in jail. He was also sentenced to 2-1/2 years parole after getting out of prison.[34][35]

2011 heart attack and re-sentencing in Wisconsin[edit]

On September 27, 2011, the day he was to be transferred to a state prison in Wisconsin, Beal suffered a heart attack. He had a double bypass operation a week later. Due to the health issues and costs Beal was released on bail while in the hospital. He was re-sentenced on December 29. His prison sentence was reduced by six months.[36][37][38][39]

Beal turned himself in to the Wisconsin prison system on February 15, 2012 to begin serving his sentence. One week later he had another, minor, heart attack. The next day a stent was placed in a coronary artery.

2012 bench trial and sentencing in Nebraska[edit]

On April 20, 2012 Beal was moved to the Saunders County jail in Wahoo, Nebraska, where he had a bench trial on August 27, 2012 for the 2009 bust. On December 10, 2012, Judge Mary Gilbride sentenced Beal to 4 to 6 years in prison in Nebraska. At present, it appears that he will be released in November, 2013. An appeal has been filed in Nebraska.[40][41][42]

On 26 December 2012 Dana was moved from Nebraska back to Fox Lake Correctional Institution in Wisconsin.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Museum will have Abbie’s trash, Rubin’s road kill". By Lincoln Anderson. The Villager. Feb. 1-7, 2006. Article on Dana Beal.
  2. ^ "F.Y.I.". By Daniel B. Schneider. May 21, 2000. New York Times.
  3. ^ New York Daily Photo: Yippies. Yipster Times history. Archived February 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Neighborhood Report: Greenwich Village; House of Yippies: Chicago Convention A Recurring Dream". By Michael Cooper. April 7, 1996. New York Times.
  5. ^ a b c The Ibogaine Story: Report on the Staten Island Project. [1] 1997 book by Paul De Rienzo, Dana Beal, and Project Members. Publisher: Autonomedia. ISBN 978-1-57027-029-1. The full text is online:"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2011-12-14.  . The text can also be searched online here: [2][3]. Chapter 4 is titled "Dana Beal" and is a biography of him."Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2011-12-14. 
  6. ^ a b "Ibogaine: A Novel Anti-Addictive Compound. A Comprehensive Literature Review". by Jonathan Freedlander. Journal of Drug Education and Awareness, 2003; 1:79-98.
  7. ^ "Yippie Central". By Colin Moynihan, New York Times. April 29, 2001. Article on Dana Beal.
  8. ^ "Pot Smokers' March Is Out of the Park". By Mike Allen. May 3, 1998. New York Times.
  9. ^ "Smoke and Jeers. Million Marijuana March Protests NYC's Record-High Pot Arrests"[permanent dead link]. By Jennifer Gonnerman. Village Voice. May 5–11, 1999.
  10. ^ Marijuana Smoke-in Held Outside Convention Hall. July 10, 1972. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
  11. ^ Boston Ibogaine Forum[permanent dead link]. Feb. 14-16, 2009. Northeastern University Students for Sensible Drug Policy article.
  12. ^ "Cures Not Wars". Archived from the original on April 28, 2008. Retrieved April 28, 2008. . Dana Beal website.
  13. ^ "The Yippies Apply for a Piece of Establishment". By Deborah Kolben. March 16, 2006. The New York Sun.
  14. ^ Yippee! The Yippie Museum Cafe Gets Back Its Groove. By Sara Sjolin. December 9, 2011. The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com
  15. ^ YippieCafe.com - Yippie Cafe and Museum. Includes list of board members.
  16. ^ YippieMuseum.org - The Yippie Museum Cafe. Events, schedule, images, history. A photo of the museum charter is shown too.
  17. ^ Will Success Spoil Astor Place?. By Steve Weinstein March 5, 2014. December 9, 2011. The Village Voice
  18. ^ "Illinois: Yippie Leader Faces Charges". By Colin Moynihan. June 10, 2008. New York Times.
  19. ^ "New York medical pot advocate leaves Illinois jail on bail". By the Associated Press. June 12, 2008. Chicago Tribune.
  20. ^ "A Yippie Veteran Is in Jail Far From the East Village". By Colin Moynihan. June 11, 2008. New York Times.
  21. ^ "Trial for Beal in Nov. for alleged cash stashing". August 7, 2008. By Herb Meeker. Journal Gazette and Times-Courier (of Charleston, Illinois).
  22. ^ "Beal pleads guilty to marijuana charge". By Dave Fopay. May 19, 2009. Journal Gazette and Times-Courier.
  23. ^ State Tax Stamp Data for Nebraska. From NORML.
  24. ^ FREE DANA BEAL. A group on Facebook.
  26. ^ "Saunders Co. Officers Make Record Pot Bust" Archived 2012-02-22 at the Wayback Machine.. October 1, 2009. KETV.
  27. ^ "Another Ashland drug bust breaks record"[dead link]. By Suzi Nelson. October 1, 2009. Ashland Gazette.
  28. ^ "Pot advocate jailed" Archived 2012-09-07 at Archive.is. By Suzi Nelson. October 6, 2009. Omaha World-Herald.
  29. ^ "Law Enforcement: Veteran Activist Dana Beal Busted in Nebraska -- Supporters Rallying to Help". October 9, 2009. Drug War Chronicle.
  30. ^ Dana Beal Busted, Jailed in Wisconsin. Celeb Stoner, Jan. 10, 2011. Archived January 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  31. ^ Counter-culture 'yippie' with Madison ties in jail on pot charges in Iowa County. By Todd Finkelmeyer. The Capital Times, Jan. 14, 2011.
  32. ^ Dana Beal busted again. The Villager. January 13–19, 2011 issue.
  33. ^ Authorities Make Major Drug Bust In Iowa County Archived January 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.. WISC-TV (CBS affiliate television station for Madison, Wisconsin). Jan. 11, 2011.
  34. ^ Beal gets prison, extended supervision. By J. Patrick Reilly. September 22, 2011. The Dodgeville Chronicle.
  35. ^ Free Dana Beal, Free Ourselves. Facebook group.
  36. ^ Activist Dana Beal Sentenced, Suffers Heart Attack Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine.. [4]. By Phillip Smith. September 28, 2011. Hawai'i News Daily."Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  37. ^ Activist Legend Avoids Marijuana Sentence -- With Heart Attack. By Steve Elliott. Toke of the Town. October 27, 2011.
  38. ^ Iowa County frees jailed former 'yippie' rather than pay his medical expenses. By Todd Finkelmeyer. December 3, 2011. The Capital Times.
  39. ^ Beal to be resentenced in Iowa County. By Todd Finkelmeyer. December 12, 2011. The Capital Times.
  40. ^ Nebraska burns Beal; Gives pot activist 4 to 6 in the joint. By Paul DeRienzo, 28 December 2012, The Villager.
  41. ^ Yippie activist sentenced, gets prison time for hauling pot Archived 2013-01-31 at Archive.is. By Paul Hammel, 10 December 2012, Omaha World-Herald.
  42. ^ Marijuana advocate jailed Archived 2012-12-12 at the Wayback Machine., on 10 December 2012, KETV Omaha.

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