Site Of Marijuana Festival Could Be Subject Of Forfeiture

Property that was home to this year’s annual “Weedstock” music festival could be seized by law enforcement, according to statements made by a Wisconsin prosecutor.

Mark Peterson, Crawford County corporation counsel, said he warned festival organizers before the event that forfeiture laws permit authorities to seize property that has been a site for illegal drug use. Peterson is citing the 42 drug-related arrests made by police during the three-day event as evidence that illegal drugs were used on the premises. The site of the event was leased to festival organizers by a Ferryville farmer.

Rally organizer Ben Masel said that he and others would defend the farmer’s property if authorities tried to confiscate the land. “A First Amendment protected activity is not a basis for forfeiture,” Masel said. Organizers estimated that 3,500 people attended the weekend festival.

Although local sheriff William Fillbach told reporters that this years festival went “very smoothly,” Peterson said that he is still considering filing a petition in either state or federal court to initiate forfeiture proceedings.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751.