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Hunger Strikers Protest Marijuana Laws


July 1993

Two hunger strikers, one free, the other imprisoned, are fasting to protest marijuana laws and policy-maker inattention to the many industrial uses of hemp (AP, 'Spacey' Hunger Striker Protests Marijuana Laws," American-Statesman [Austin, Tex.], 6/17/93, B1).

Brett Stahl, 24, is fasting in front of the Hays County, TX jail where fellow activist Jeffrey Stefanoff is serving a six-month term for marijuana possession. Both Stahl, on the outside, and Stefanoff, in his cell, began fasting when Stefanoff began serving his term on June 3. Stefanoff was arrested two years ago when he and six others walked into the sheriff's office with marijuana to be arrested in a peaceful protest. Stahl had been arrested for walking into the state comptroller's office to buy tax stamps for the marijuana he was carrying.

Stahl has lost 10 pounds in the two weeks since his fast began. He said he will continue until his physician advises him he must stop. Stefanoff said he will continue indefinitely, unless President Clinton publicly accepts a letter and brochures discussing uses of the hemp plant. Stefanoff has been placed in the prison infirmary, and authorities said that if his condition deteriorates, they will seek a court order to force feed him. Hays County Sheriff Paul Hastings said Stahl will be permitted to camp in front of the jail as long as he remains peaceful.