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Smoked out: Dana Beal freed on bail

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | In the end, it was the “giant joint guy” who helped bail out Dana Beal.

After getting busted in January in a broken-down SUV hauling “quite a lot” of cannabis, according to the sheriff’s office, veteran drug legalization activist Beal spent two months behind bars in Gooding County, Idaho.

Having literally just returned from war-ravaged Ukraine — where he worked with a military psychologist exploring the use of ibogaine to treat brain-injured and burned-out soldiers — Beal, 77, apparently was considered a flight risk. So his bail was set high at $250,000.

In the end, Adam Eidinger and Don Wirtshafter teamed up to back Beal’s bond, and he got out this past Saturday. Eidinger, who formerly did publicity for Dr. Bronner’s Soap, is a cannabis rights activist who led the push to legalize weed in Washington, D.C., in 2015. Wirtshafter, an attorney, curates The Cannabis Museum, in Athens, Ohio.

As for the giant joint, it’s inflatable, 55 feet long, and has made cannabinoid cameos at national political conventions — a bit like a ganja Goodyear blimp, though admittedly doesn’t float very high off the ground.

“We lost it,” Beal said of the super-sized spliff, which is in a storage unit somewhere in Queens. “They have others elsewhere. We only have one.”

Beal was speaking from his hotel room in Twin Falls, Idaho. Eidinger is footing the bill. Now that he’s out, Beal is pining to return to Ukraine and continue his work there on ibogaine, an allegedly addiction-curing drug derived from the African iboga root. However, according to him, Trevor Misseldine, the hard-nosed prosecutor of tiny Gooding, County, Idaho, population 15,598, is dead set against him going back to the embattled Eastern European nation — regardless of whether, as Beal argues, ibogaine could turn the war’s tide.

“They don’t want me to go out of the country,” the veteran Yippie activist related. “He doesn’t know about ibogaine and he doesn’t particularly care. He doesn’t want ibogaine to get to Ukraine because it’s illegal in the U.S.”

Indeed, ibogaine is a controlled Schedule I drug, like heroin, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Beal admitted there are issues with the sanctioned substance potentially causing heart arrhythmia at higher doses — which he claimed could be counteracted with magnesium.

“Eidinger’s already been to Ukraine a couple of times, so he could take the ibogaine,” Beal said, mulling another option.

“It’s a matter of military necessity and it’s important,” he stressed. “I can get enough ibogaine to Ukraine to make 175,000 candy bars. I can sell them for $2 to $3 each,” he added. “I would make enough money to never have to sell pot again.”

That goes back to why Beal was in Idaho in the first place, riding as a passenger in an old SUV with Montana plates that broke down in a state that obviously has not legalized pot yet.

“I needed money,” he said.

The vehicle’s transmission failed.

“I should’ve gotten a rental,” he reflected.

At a marijuana rally during the 2016 Democratic National Convention, a giant joint was emblazoned with the message “Hillary, Deschedule Cannabis,” referring to removing it from the government’s list of dangerous and addictive drugs. Hillary Clinton of course lost the election to Donald Trump. President Joe Biden, in his recent State of the Union speech, endorsed marijuana reform. (Photo by John Penley)

As Beal tells it, “I was talking [on the phone] with the major marijuana guy in Kiev about legalizing marijuana in Ukraine. The cops rolled up on us before we could get a tow. I didn’t come out of the car because it was cold. It was the polar vortex.”

So, instead an officer poked his head inside the vehicle — and it was like a drug-sniffing K-9 locking on a load of dope.

“I made the mistake three hours earlier of smoking a joint,” Beal admitted, “otherwise there was no pretext to search.

“The pot belongs to the guys in Oregon,” he explained. “I was going to sell the pot — but it did not belong to me. I didn’t buy it yet.

“I had no idea he had mushrooms in wax” in the car, either, he added, though not pausing to explain who “he” was.

“They’re paying people to buy pot in Oregon,” he said. “That pot cost $100 a pound. Do you know how much I was going to make when I got back to New York? A bunch.”

A pound of pot currently sells for around $500 to $1,000 — so, yes, a bunch.

According to, the amount of weed was 26 pounds, which is “one pound over the limit that would turn into a mandatory five-year sentence if he’s convicted.” However, Beal later clarified that it was actually 52 pounds — but that the charging document listed it as above 26 pounds.

It was a small haul compared to the 186 pounds of reefer he was caught trucking through Wisconsin in 2011, for which he served several years in jail, during which he had a near-fatal heart attack.

Why exactly Beal needed cash this time was to buy more iboga root in Africa and bring it to Ukraine again. For now, though, he planned to fly back to New York while awaiting trial. If he took the deal the prosecutor was offering, he could have gotten off with one year in prison.

“Now I’m back to five years,” Beal reported, “because I didn’t take the deal. I’m going to fight it.”

As The Village Sun has previously reported, Beal claims ibogaine can grow new neurons in the brain, helping soldiers with traumatic brain injury and battlefield fatigue, even curing Parkinson’s disease. His reading material while in jail was a book on molecular pharmacology, the same one he read more than 10 years ago while doing two years in lockup after that previous cross-country cannabis trucking bust.

In fact, Beal said, ibogaine has already been used by some Ukrainian troops in combat, to devastating effect — obliterating a Russian regiment.

“They fought them for 12 hours and repulsed the attack. Their soldiers are super-accurate,” he said of the Ukrainian fighters’ ibogaine-enhanced aim, “with a weird sixth sense and heightened pattern recognition. It makes super soldiers. This is ‘X Files’ stuff.”

Meanwhile, he said, like the Nazis in World War II before them, “The Russians are giving their soldiers meth.” Ibogainized soldiers, though, would beat up on ones hopped up on methamphetamine, he assured.

“In Gabon, they use it for hunting,” he noted. “They can stand there for 40 hours and not move. The game thinks they’re a tree.”

Beal would love to wow the court by sharing all of this at trial.

“The guy wants to focus on pot,” he said of the prosecutor. “They’re not looking for extenuating circumstances. They’re not looking for some noble goal. They’re not looking for a regiment wiping out the Russians. Naturally, they’re not going to let that into trial,” he said, “or the jury would give me a standing ovation and a medal.”

Some of Beal’s friends had wanted Charles King, the C.E.O. of Housing Works, to bail him out. But, as King told The Village Sun, Housing Works does not bail out anyone and would not make an exception for a high-profile person like Beal.

“This goes back to 1994 when they kicked me out of Act Up,” Beal noted. “Act Up does not support ibogaine.”

Act Up was founded to end the AIDS epidemic. Currently, though, the group is more focused on protesting in support of the Palestinians in Gaza, Beal noted.

In the meantime, the Idaho prosecutor is keeping ahold of Beal’s cell phone and laptop computer, to the Yippie’s chagrin. He had planned to barnstorm through Idaho preaching pot legalization.

“My marijuana PowerPoint is on there,” he said of the laptop. “I can’t travel around and give speeches.”

In one positive for Beal, President Biden in his recent State of the Union speech, touted marijuana reform. It’s an issue that could help decide the election, the activist claimed.

“I’m calling on every marijuana smoker in America to vote for Joe Biden,” he declared, “so we can put Trump in Guantanamo. We’re all going to vote for him.”

Beal, who used to be based out of 9 Bleecker St., the former Yippie headquarters, is known as “a godfather of pot.” Every year, he led the city’s Million Marijuana March for legalization. Clayton Patterson, the Lower East Side documentarian, said Beal deserves more credit for his crusading work on weed legalization and now on the more complex issue of ibogaine.

“Dana Beal is a really historically relevant person,” he said. “And he, Rob Sisco and Howard Lotsof are the ones who carried the ibogaine story for years. They got it to Deborah Mash, and that’s how it got into the New York Times,” he noted, referring to the March 5 article, “Powerful Psychedelic Gains Renewed Attention as a Treatment for Opioid Addiction.

Beal said he wasn’t interviewed for the article only because he was in jail.

“Dana is unknown to these new people, these pot shops,” Patterson scoffed. “But he’s the one who carried the torch.”

Beal said, in fact, he currently is applying for a microgrow license — to grow and sell pot — from the New York State Office of Cannabis Management. But, clearly, his obsession right now is elsewhere — on ibogaine and super soldiers, on beating Russia and Trump. And a little ibogaine — a “microdose” — according to Beal, could even help give Biden the mental mettle to beat The Donald this November.


  1. Larry H Larry H March 31, 2024

    Idaho should give a deal for Dana to do community service, and not a jail sentence.

  2. bill bill March 22, 2024

    I just wonder why Dana is so pro war

  3. Natalia Spiegel Natalia Spiegel March 16, 2024

    I have the same question: Why is Dana’s “daughter” still collecting bail money for Dana when he is out on the streets? Maybe for a one-way ticket to the Ukraine? That would be a relief…

    • Kenny Toglia Kenny Toglia March 18, 2024

      Because he still owes money on bail. And just by the way, calling Dana’s daughter his “daughter” is pretty despicable. Do you have issues with your own “father”?

    • Dimitri Mugianis Dimitri Mugianis March 18, 2024

      Maybe because he’s a 77-year-old man who has dedicated his life to trying to make this fucked-up country in the world a little bit better, and he doesn’t have a dime to show for it.

      I don’t always agree with him, but I can say that for one thing he’s not a greedy man, and he deserves a break. This is fucking terrible.

      • John Penley John Penley March 18, 2024

        He can be a hard man to love, but we all do and we all have benefited from him and his activism. He called me the other day and seems to be in good spirits. Long live Dana Beal!

  4. John Penley John Penley March 15, 2024

    I hear that a big Hollywood producer has contacted Dana’s Public Defender and wants to make a movie about his life. I think he plans to stay out on bail there and start marching around town with a giant joint and hopes they offer him a better plea deal to get rid of him. Also heard that he loves the free breakfast at the motel he is staying in and seems pretty happy now that he is out of jail. GO DANA!! BEAT STATE!!!

  5. Alan Jules Weberman Alan Jules Weberman March 14, 2024

    I turned Dana on to pot at Michigan State University in 1964. I created a potenstein monster

  6. Grace Grace March 14, 2024

    Funds are needed for lawyers. This will be a fight, and may help Idaho activists to change the laws there.

    • John Penley John Penley March 14, 2024

      According to what I have heard, Dana has a good public defender who likes him. The 1-year deal he has been offered is pretty good and the time he was locked up until he was bailed out counts, so with good time off he would probably do a short time in jail. To hire trial attorneys and take it to trial would be very, very expensive and the odds are Dana would get at the very least 5 years. I don’t think Dana could do 5 or more years in State Prison. Advising him to raise and spend thousands of dollars for lawyers is probably a big waste of money and he really has no grounds to win this case. Since Dana had been smoking cannabis and the trooper smelled it and Dana himself said so, the only grounds he really has to fight this are search and seizure, which won’t work.

      • Alan Jules Weberman Alan Jules Weberman March 20, 2024

        He gets five days off a month in jail. No good time in prison. He would have to do the nickel. He hopes there’ll be a pot smoker to hang the jury. But pot isn’t the question — it’s turning Idaho into Portland. Penley had a good analysis.

  7. Kathryn Adisman Kathryn Adisman March 13, 2024

    Good piece!

  8. Peg Leg Pete Peg Leg Pete March 13, 2024

    What happened to the over $10 ,000 raised on the Go Fund Me for Dana ? As of now it is still collecting donations.

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