Every month for the last five months, cannabis activists, advocates, and supporters gather together in downtown Philadelphia in a pro-marijuana protest they have dubbed Smoke Down Prohibition”.
It’s been peaceful for the last four rallies, but that changed last Saturday. Philly police waited for the crowd to spark their ceremonial spliffs, then rushed the mic and pulled guest speaker and Libertarian talk show host Adam Kokesh from the stage, arresting him in front of his supporters on charges of resisting arrest.
Kokesh, who had attended the reefer rally in the past, was not smoking at the time he was arrested but has been outspoken in his support for marijuana legalization, his opposition to the Iraq War, and his strong backing of gun owner rights.
His supporters point to a highly publicized “armed but peaceful” pro-gun rights 4th of July march from Virginia to Washington D.C. as a possible motive to silence Kokesh with what they see as trumped up charges in this latest arrest.
The internet was abuzz following the news, when grainy cell phone footage of the event was released showing Kokesh being dragged from the stage by the cops, and physically detained along with at least one other man – which has led to some conspiracy-like theories from Kokesh’s supporters.
In the video, the police clearly ignore the dozens of sparked-up protesters that they have to wade through to get to the stage, apparently fixated on the man behind the mic. But as officers move to detain Kokesh, the camera spots a second man being grabbed by Philly police. In the video, police lead the second man toward Kokesh. As Kokesh keeps hold of his microphone, the second detainee seems to try an stuff something into Kokesh’s rear pocket or waistband.
Some have said the man – who viewers identify as New Jersey Libertarian politician Don Dezarn – was passing off something like n ACLU legal information card. But others say it’s a sinister setup and that the man was planting evidence on Kokesh.Blog and Facebook comment sections dedicated to the case are a war zone of differing opinions and accusations.
View the video below:
Following Saturday’s events in Philly, Kokesh supporters immediately sprang into action on his official Facebook page, giving out the phone number to the Philadelphia Police Department and encouraging a “phone bombing” of the lines demanding Adam’s release. According to his friends and family, he has not been in touch with anyone since his arrest.
Kokesh and event organizer N.A. Poe spent the weekend in a federal prison cell, with a bail hearing set for this afternoon.
Adam Kokesh was a corporal in the Marines and a veteran of the Iraq War. He hosted a television show on RT News, and still hosts his own radio show and podcast called “Adam vs. The Man”. No stranger to handcuffs and holding cells, Kokesh was arrested twice in 2007 during anti-war protests. The New Mexico native ran an unsuccessful Congressional campaign in his home state in 2010, but soon set his sights back on activism.