Your Government: Making Rock Concerts Illegal, One Grateful Dead Tribute Band at a Time

Yesterday  Jimmy Tebeau, bass guitarist for The Schwag, a Grateful Dead tribute band, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and 200 hours of community service for tolerating drug sales during the music festivals he hosted at his southern Missouri campground. Under a plea deal that spares him a possible sentence of up to 20 years, Tebeau will also pay a $50,000 fine and forfeit his 250-acre property, known as Camp Zoe.

The federal charge to which Tebeau pleaded guilty, "maintaining drug-involved premises," applies to defendants who "manage or control any place" and "intentionally rent, lease, profit from, or make available for use, with or without compensation, the place for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, storing, distributing, or using a controlled substance." Hence it did not matter that Tebeau neither distributed drugs nor profited from their sale. In fact, he could have faced the same charge even if people merely used drugs at his events, known as Schwagstock and Spookstock. Tebeau reserved the right to challenge the use of this statute against the operator of a concert venue, which has potentially sweeping implications for just about any musical performance where the scent of cannabis perfumes the air.

Brian Doherty discussed this case a few months ago. The Drug War Chronicle has more background here.

[Thanks to Mark Sletten for the tip.] 

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  • John||

    Because if we let a bunch of dirty hippies smoke dope out in the middle of the Missouri woods, the terrorists have won. But future Presidents doing a little blow at Columbia and Harvard is perfectly okay.

  • Loki||

    Laws are for little people, not future presidents.

  • John||

    They certainly can't apply to my little special snowflake.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    BO made up for his crime by selflessly serving our country as president, unlike all those greedy people who work in the private sector for pr*fit.

  • Andrew S.||

    Were this comment from anyone else, I'd assume it was sarcasm...

  • ||

    So who had Federal connections and wanted his property?

  • Timrek||

    Obama's ex-dealer, now Harvard educated lawyer and political donor, I would assume. Ahhh...the War on Drugs, screwing the politically unconnected one toker at a time.

  • Paul.||

    I am no officially depressed.

  • nicole||

    Me too. This was shitty enough to begin with but the thought of losing 250 acres over it...

  • R C Dean||

    Fortunately, we have prosecutorial discretion to keep the owners and operators of various stadiums out of trouble.

    Seriously, no one can rent out a venue for any one of a number of genres without knowing good and well there will be pot smoked there. Equal application of the law would mean either (a) the end of public performances of a lot of music or (b) the forfeiture of just about every music venue in the country.

    I went to see Tangerine Dream at the Lincoln Center, for crying out loud. By this standrd, the management of the Lincoln Center should be jailed, and it should be forfeited.

  • John||

    But the people at Lincoln Center are the right people doing drugs. The drug war continues because it never or very rarely affects the middle and upper classes.

    There is no way in hell this rule will ever be applied to a Paul McCartney or Dave Matthews concert. But you better believe it will be to Dead Heads and hip hop venues.

  • nicole||

    Not to mention juggaloes.

  • ||

    Gah...I have to side with juggalos again?!?

  • nicole||

    That's the real tragedy no one is talking about.

  • ||

    Exactly! What about my feelings?!?

  • JW||

    Gah...I have to side with juggalos again?!?

    I didn't say anything when they came for the Juggalos, because I'm not a zero-class, half-witted douchebag.

  • John||

    I don't like to think about them. I know I should be outraged when the law treats them badly. But I can't help but think "their juggaloes".

  • ||

    Yes, you should be outraged John. How the law treats the likes of juggalos is exactly the standard we should use.

  • John||

    I know. I was being sarcastic.

  • ||

    Sorry, I am slow today. Ok, slower than slow.

  • R C Dean||

    Like, spacy Tony slow?

  • sarcasmic||

    we have prosecutorial discretion

    Rule of Man.

  • Zeb||

    I haven't been going to a lot of concerts in the past 10 years or so, but from the few I do attend, it seems like even the big venues are a lot less tolerant of pot smoking than they once were. Even after smoking bans were starting to be in place in many states, it seemed like as soon as the lights went down it was smoke if you got 'em. Now, it seems like there are always security people on the look out for the slightest puff and removing people. I bet a lot of that is because of this sort of law.

  • some guy||

    And it wouldn't just be concerts either. NASCAR, NFL and MLB stadiums would easily fall under this law too.

    Hell, what about public parks? Are we going to start taking down city parks departments and the national park service under this law? Everyone knows what happens in Camp 4 at Yosemite. No one tries to stop it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Does this mean that a landlord with pot smoking tenants can have their property stolen, er, forfeited?

  • ||

    Yes. Remember the motel owners in Mass who are fighting to keep their property from being stolen on the pretense that drugs were dealt on the property?

  • John||

    I thought that was prostitution. But yes, basically it is illegal to run a cheap low rent hotel.

  • Paul.||

    Yes.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Yes, it does. Any pretext will do when the political class wants to steal property.

    -jcr

  • Tulpa Doom||

    And if you try to expel the drug dealers from your property, and they turn out to be undercover cops, you will be shot dead and the legal system will look the other way.

  • Coeus||

    They were cops. Don't you know that you're supposed to know when cops are present at all times? And then only assert your legal rights if they say it's OK to do so? Oh, also (almost forgot) if you don't, fuck you. (I think that last must be in some police training manual somewhere, I see it a lot).

  • DK||

    Maybe he should have spelled his name as Tebow and asked for a sacramental exclusion.

  • Loki||

    potentially sweeping implications for just about any musical performance where the scent of cannabis perfumes the air.

    IOW all of them.

  • sarcasmic||

    Does the prosecution have to prove that the owners knew what was happening?

    Or has the drug war done away with mens rea?

  • John||

    I am sure they did. It is not a mens rea issue. It is that the drug war has made a crime of not preventing someone else from committing a crime. No proof he ever sold or used. Just let people use drugs on his property. That is scary.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    There's probably some sort of "reasonable person" standard at work. A reasonable person knows that a Dead-related concert is likely to have drug use, so they would have to take extra steps to prevent it.

    Stupid law, of course, but that's probably the "logic" behind the case.

  • R C Dean||

    Of course, reasonable people know that damn near any concert is likely to have drug use.

  • Enough About Palin||

    This is what we get for stealing the darkie's music.

  • nicole||

    Or has the drug war done away with mens rea?

    Oh there's no question that it has. See here, for example, penultimate paragraph.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Do we need that? "Possession with intent to distribute" should give the game away. If you have X amount of drugs, you're a user. If you have X + n, you're a dealer, which is worse, because PROFIT.

  • ||

    What happened is he told his staff to kick out people dealing coke, heroin, and nitrous and not worry about the pot and mushrooms, and then some of his staff stabbed him in the back and became government witnesses.

    So basically he got fucked for trying to engage in harm reduction.

    Oh from what I've seen online re: this story most deadheads are fascist bootlickers who think this guy "got what he deserved."

  • John||

    Oh from what I've seen online re: this story most deadheads are fascist bootlickers who think this guy "got what he deserved.

    Really?

  • Coeus||

    Guy standing in front of a minivan with grateful dead stickers on it:

    When you like, have kids man, you'll understand. Or something.

  • Brett L||

    I used to see this Caddy with a Grateful Dead sticker on it where I used to work. Then I'd hear that goddamned Henley song in my head, and want to smash the fucker up.

  • Coeus||

    As a Caddy owner, I would've wanted to do it just for putting a sticker on it in the first place.

  • jasno||

    Depends... deadheads come in many flavors. A New Yorker deadhead friend of mine still believes Obama is the fucking messiah despite being friends with Jimmy. Hell, just look at how the remaining members of the Grateful Dead have fallen all over themselves to support Obama.

    But there are a whole shitload of deadheads who 'get' it.

  • Coeus||

    Or has the drug war done away with mens rea?

    Actually, I believe that the parents of hot, slutty 15 year olds did that. But it's damn near across the board, now.

  • Brett L||

    I believe that the parents of hot, slutty 15 year olds did that

    Pretty sure I always had a guilty mind w/r/t that particular group.

  • Coeus||

    Dude, homecoming was last weekend. My mom came down to visit so we went out to eat. The restaurant had like 10 different homecoming parties. Apparently, homecoming dresses for highschool students look exactly the same as when I was in highschool, except they all stop 2 centimeters below the buttcheeks.

    It's odd feeling like a dirty old man before you're 30.

  • Zeb||

    While it is usually inappropriate to act on it, there is nothing wrong with being attracted to sexually mature teenagers. It's the most natural thing in the world.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Raping and pillaging is natural too, but you don't see libertarians doing that eithre.

  • ||

    As stupid a comment as could be expected from you, Tulpa Dumb. Set that bar!

  • Zeb||

    Hence the "inappropriate to act on it" part.
    I'm just reacting to the all too common notion that attraction to legally underage people is some sort of pedophilia.

  • Coeus||

    Oh, I agree. Shit, 17 is legal in Texas. And I have no problem with that (well, except that it might be a little too high).

  • ||

    Heh. Wait until you are my age. You grow into it.

  • ||

    mens what?
    When is the last time you sat and watched criminal court?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Looks like I have to book a new opening act. Turns out that Liza Minnelli impersonator was really Liza Minnelli [shudder].

  • Paul.||

    :o

  • ||

    For you, Hugh.

  • Hugh Akston||

    That's a great picture of you, Episiarch. You must have spent all day shaving.

  • ||

    Happiest day of my life, Hugh. I just wish our marriage hadn't unraveled so fast.

  • Brett L||

    "That's what we all want i'dn it? Government approved Rock'n'Roll? Fuck it! The Quayle Monster's here, we might be up 'til 11!"
    -- Bill Hicks

  • Coeus||

    There goes the only cool thing about the Juggalos.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Hey, it's not fascism when it happens here.

  • entropy||

    Fuck. He caved.

    Now they're going to go after more of them. So long to music festivals.

  • Zeb||

    The Camp Zoe website oddly says nothing about this. Was it seized as well?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Hey. How come this article didn't say that Romney would be just as bad? Reason is just a bunch of Republican shills.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I'm sure it's in there somewhere. My whistle word decoder got stuck in the garbage disposal.

  • dave b.||

    Unfortunately, my hometown was one of the first to proescute event promoters and managers for drug use at music venues. Bonus cameo by Joe Biden in the link in case you didn't hate him enough already.

  • Raston Bot||

    No, it's cool. This guy was a real villain... his arrest was needed. He promoted the event as a time for drugs...not music. If it had been musically promoted, the crowd would have been less than one-half of the number that attended. Drugs are bad enough without mass gatherings promoting them. According to some old guy on Facebook FTA.

  • ||

    wait a second..
    a draconian, overbroad, "strict liability'esque", FEDERAL LAW that overreaches and criminalizes essentially innocent behavior, pursuant to the WAR ON DRUGS???

    COLOR ME UNSHOCKED at another bullshit federal antidrug law that smells draconian and nasty

  • Brandybuck||

    Two guesses as to which candidate all the Deadhead are supporting this time around. Ooooh! You got it right in one guess!

  • ||

    assume arguendo, he's "guilty as charged"

    iow, assume that he ----

    "maintaining drug-involved premises," applies to defendants who "manage or control any place" and "intentionally rent, lease, profit from, or make available for use, with or without compensation, the place for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, storing, distributing, or using a controlled substance."

    ------

    so what? did HE sell the drugs? no. so, should he be responsible if others did at his event EVEN IF HE KNEW it was a frequent occurrence, at his concerts. if ever a case for jury nullification...

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Tebeau will also pay a $50,000 fine and forfeit his 250-acre property, known as Camp Zoe.

    What are the chances the pigs will turn it into their own little playground?

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