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Can Smoking Pot Be Considered a Form of Free Speech?

Activists lit up in protest of the War on Drugs—now they face severe charges.

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Whether Goldstein can persuade the court to accept his argument remains to be seen, with supporters watching closely.

“Obviously not all public marijuana smoking is intended as an act of civil disobedience, but when part of an organized public protest, this should certainly be protected speech under the First Amendment,” said Keith Stroup, founder and legal counsel of the national NORML organization.

 “The use of civil disobedience, as a tactic . . . has a long and proud history in this country, and can be terribly effective,” he said, citing the civil rights movement, gay rights advances and anti-war protests.

“This tactical option obviously requires some courageous, committed individuals willing to face arrest and jail time in order to make their point,” Stroup said. “Chris is the one looking at a possible jail term, and who has shown the courage of his convictions.”

While he would prefer to avoid spending six months in prison, Goldstein expressed no regret for putting himself in the line of fire in an attempt to move the needle on marijuana prohibition. “It’s up to us to do it,” he said. There are no plans to cease the monthly

Aaron Kase is a freelance writer from Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter at @Aaron_Kase.