Dana Beal is not the first person facing a prison term to say that if you’d just let me go, I won’t do it again and will do good things for mankind.
But he may be the first to get people to travel from New Zealand and New York to make that case for him.
Beal, 65, is one of the original Yippies, a counter-culture group from the ’60s that specialized in tweaking the establishment. They’re the bunch who disrupted the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago (though better-known Yippies, like Abbie Hoffman, led that violent protest).
Beal, whose residence is the Yippie Museum in New York City, is best known for organizing annual rallies for the legalization of marijuana.
In recent years, he’s focused his attention to legalizing ibogaine, a hallucinogenic extract from a West African shrub that Beal claims can cure all sorts of drug addictions, and cure them more effectively and less expensively than traditional methods.