Pubdate: Thu, 21 Jun 2001
Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)
Copyright: 2001 Bangor Daily News Inc.
Author: Brenda Seekins
Bookmark: (Asset Forfeiture)


POWNAL - The Maine Vocals' plan to hold a pro-marijuana festival in 
Cumberland County this weekend came to a screeching halt this week, 
but not without the group's leadership crying foul.

"She's overstepping," Vocals founder Don Christen said Wednesday, 
charging that Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson 
threatened landowner Andy Jordan. "We've talked to some attorneys who 
think we have a hell of a case.

"There will be more to come," he added, referring to the group's 
plans to consult an attorney who specializes in similar cases.

Earlier this month, Pownal selectmen denied the group a permit to 
hold the gathering on Jordan's land. Christen vowed to hold the event 
regardless, citing a constitutional right to assemble.

The Cumberland County Hemp Festival was scheduled to go on as planned 
until Jordan abruptly withdrew the use of his land.

"We had a lease," Christen said of the arrangement with Jordan. "She 
threatened him."

Anderson sent a letter to Jordan informing him that "it is my 
intention to seek a forfeiture of your property" if "evidence of 
qualifying crimes" was discovered during the event. She cited the 
state's right to seize property in connection with Class A, B, or C 
crimes "involving controlled substances other than marijuana 
committed during the festival."

Earlier this week, Anderson said her letter wasn't meant as a threat.

"She's not his attorney and he didn't seek any legal advice," 
Christen said of Anderson's letter. "A lot of people aren't familiar 
with the law. That would be enough to scare anybody - the threat of 
losing your land."

Christen claimed Anderson's reference to events "committed during the 
festival" is an acknowledgment the group had a right to hold the 

"[Jordan] wanted to go forward," Christen said. "This has cost us a 
lot. They've stopped a nonprofit organization, legally sanctioned by 
the state, from holding a fund-raising event."
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