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Dana Beal goes from ibogaine in Ukraine to pot bust in Idaho

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | It sounds like something out of a James Bond novel — though it’s hard to imagine anyone actually thinking this up.

Dana Beal, 77, one of the “godfathers of pot legalization,” was recently in, of all places, war-torn Ukraine, where he is working with a military psychologist to explore ibogaine use to treat soldiers’ traumatic brain injury and battlefield burnout.

A leader of the second-wave Yippies (Youth International Party), Beal has long advocated using ibogaine, which is derived from an African root, to cure addiction for everything from heroin to nicotine. He was known to allow “dosing” of people with ibogaine at 9 Bleecker St., the Yippies’ former headquarters. The Noho building is now home to Overthrow boxing gym, which is named after the Yippies’ newspapers that they left behind.

Returning to the U.S., Beal apparently hit the road again right away, this time to truck weed cross-country back to New York City, as he has done many times in the past. And, as has happened before, he got busted.

“Right now, all I know is that the vehicle died in Gooding, Idaho, and he was arrested,” said Aron Kay, the notorious “Yippie Pie Man.” “It’s still federally illegal to take it across state lines.”

Dana Beal holds the bullhorn for another cannabis legend, the Philly Weedman, during the 2016 Philadelphia D.N.C. (Photo by John Penley)

The news on Beal’s work with ibogaine in Ukraine was first reported by the Intercept. The limited information about Beal’s Sept. 15 arrest is from an article by celebstoner.

According to celebstoner, a sheriff said that Beal was caught with “quite a lot” of cannabis. He had 186 pounds in tow when he was arrested in Wisconsin in 2011; he did several years in jail for that one, during which he suffered a near-fatal heart attack. Beal was also arrested in Humboldt County, California for hauling pot, but that time they let him off the hook.

Idaho, though, is definitely not a tolerant state on marijuana. Possession there of more than 25 pounds with intent to distribute brings a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a $50,000 fine. Beal’s bail was set at a steep $250,000.

“Idaho is Klan country,” Kay noted, ominously.

Former East Village activist John Penley, a longtime ally of Beal’s in fighting for legal weed, noted the Yippie leader doesn’t drive, so someone else must have been arrested, too.

“Dana’s been doing this for years,” Penley said. “He’ll go somewhere where he can buy cheap pot. It’s generally not too good pot, but people buy it because it’s cheap. He’s been busted for it five or six times.

“I don’t know about the Ukraine ibogaine,” he said of the dueling storyline, though adding, “It’s incredibly fascinating.

“It’s just too bad,” he said. “I feel bad for Dana because, at his age and the serious charges he faces, I don’t know if he’ll get out alive. He went through Idaho, which is one of the strictest states on marijuana.”

Ken Toglia, another activist friend of Beal, said his understanding was that Beal was arraigned at 1 p.m. Wednesday and is being held in Twin Falls, Idaho.

“He had just returned from bringing ibogaine to Ukraine,” he said. “The C.I.A. has known it’s a super-soldier drug since the 1950s. A low dose is a stimulant. A large dose immobilizes you and makes you confront your id.”

Radio journalist Paul DeRienzo said he spoke with Beal about a month ago. He said Beal had gone to Ghana to buy ibogaine, intending to take it to Cancun, Mexico, to sell it to a treatment clinic there. According to DeRienzo, on his return trip, Beal flew from Ghana to Madrid, but Mexican authorities would not allow him onto the connecting flight to Cancun, based on his prior drug convictions and feeling that he was trafficking a drug.

“He wanted to go from Madrid to Mexico but they wouldn’t let him go,” he said. “So he got on a plane to Romania, which was as close as he could fly to Ukraine, and then took a train to Ukraine.

“Dana has said, ‘I’ll go to the ends of the Earth to bring the cure.'”

19 Comments

  1. Pat Wills Pat Wills February 5, 2024

    Dana has been, for nearly 60 years, the opti-mystic embodiment of Einstein’s dictum:
    “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

  2. Aron Kay Aron Kay January 23, 2024

    Deschedule not reschedule

    • John Penley John Penley January 23, 2024

      Looks like Aron has been smoking too much Cannabis to make a comment anyone can understand?

  3. Mark McAllister Mark McAllister January 22, 2024

    Yep, should definitely have detoured around Idaho, but if he can postpone his trial another couple years, perhaps he’ll have a better outcome with all the Californians moving there😀 Best of luck to him either way!

  4. ( Bonnie Tocwish) ( Bonnie Tocwish) January 22, 2024

    Oh Dana. ♥️ your passion sometimes gets the best of you. We love you & we’re all pulling for you to stay healthy & get out of jail. Soon. And to stay out of prison! 🙏🏽✊🏽☮️

  5. clayton patterson clayton patterson January 19, 2024

    Someone should write a book on Dana. Hs has contributed so much to different movments that are important to him. Got to admire his dedication to the causes he believes in. Causes that do not make him rich, but do help many people.

    If I could make a wish on his behalf it would be rent a truck in working order. This truck dies. Another time a bust was for a broken taillight. Or a fight at a rest stop. It was never good police work that got him busted. RJ was with him on a run and they rolled the van. He is still dealing with neck injuries.

    Dana should not be in jail. He should be honored for his activism. He is a true cultural warrior. I admire Dana – his commitment – his dedication to helping people with addiction problems. Make no mistake, he has paid a heavy price for his work.

    • Bonnie Tocwish Bonnie Tocwish January 24, 2024

      I love this. All true.

      • John Link John Link February 2, 2024

        Happy Birthday!
        Free Dana Beal, yet again!

    • Amanda Dávila Amanda Dávila February 14, 2024

      Well said.

  6. John Penley John Penley January 19, 2024

    I want to make a public appeal to Charles King, who opened the first legal cannabis dispensary in NYC, to put up the bail money to get Dana out of jail while he awaits trial. King knows Dana and is someone who could do this to help him. Dana has a record of not jumping bail and returning to court, so King would get the bail refunded at some time in the future. I would also like to ask Dana’s friends and supporters to buy cannabis from the Housing Works dispensaries to help King and Housing Works replace the bail money if he helps Dana get out on bond.

    • John Penley John Penley February 15, 2024

      I think Dana is still in a stinkin county jail unable to make bond ? If so , then I guess Charles King [ now one of NYC’s biggest Cannabis dealers ] has declined to help ???

  7. John Penley John Penley Post author | January 18, 2024

    This is a link to a US government report on Ibogaine treatment for Veterans with traumatic brain injuries: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38182784/

    This is a link to a recently published study by Stanford on Ibogaine treatments: https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2024/01/ibogaine-ptsd.html

    This is a link to a Military Times story about Ibogaine treatments for Combat Vets. I am a Navy Veteran with PTSD related to my Military service. I use the Veterans Administration for all my medical care and receive a disability payment from them. If the VA approves Ibogaine for PTSD treatment I will get it: https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2024/01/05/ibogaine-shrub-helps-vets-with-traumatic-brain-injury-study-finds/

  8. Alan Jules Weberman Alan Jules Weberman January 18, 2024

    I feel sorry for the driver. He was getting much money out of the deal. It was allegedly 169 pounds.

    • John Penley John Penley January 19, 2024

      Do I know the driver ?

  9. JacDog JacDog January 18, 2024

    With his experience he might have detoured around Idaho.

  10. Alan Jules Weberman Alan Jules Weberman January 18, 2024

    This is going to be a tough one to beat but he will.

  11. Alan Jules Weberman Alan Jules Weberman January 18, 2024

    You can make a career out of FREE DANA BEAL

    • RBM RBM January 19, 2024

      He needs to stick to a plan. I think there was a “no driving” order due to snow, so why did THEY drive that way to begin with? But the law doesn’t make sense anyway. Pot should not be a Schedule 1 drug. Reschedule now, please, New Jersey, DEA, Congress and Biden administration. Great points, John. – RBM

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