At least, that’s the argument from chemist and advocate for psychedelic substances, Casey William Hardison.
Hardison is representing himself before a Teton County Criminal Court.
The forty-nine year old is a self-educated anthropologist who has devoted his time to studying consciousness and the relationship between humans and entheogenic and entactogenic drugs since 1993.
Hardison was arrested in Yorkville, California in August of 2020 and extradited to Teton County, Wyoming. He is charged with three counts of Delivery of a Controlled Substance and two counts of Aggravated Assault and Battery.
In 2018, Hardison was involved in a failed sting operation by Wyoming authorities who tried to arrest Hardison while he was selling several pounds of cannabis to an undercover police officer. There was a high-speed chase and Hardison eluded capture.
Even so, cannabis advocates argue the current laws and Hardison’s subsequent arrest are a violation of the US Constitutional law.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous that people are still getting criminalized for this,” said Bennett Sondeno, Treasurer for the Wyoming branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “Prosecution and law enforcement see it as easy wins, and some of them see it as a moral high ground.”
According to a recent poll, 85% of the Wyoming population supports legalization of medical cannabis use and 75% supporting decriminalization cannabis all together.
Despite the polls, Sondeno remains wary, “Although the population is now ready for adult use, at least in the majority, I don’t think that the legislature is there yet. If we see any movement on medical or decriminalization at this session that would be spectacular.”
Wyoming is neighbored by three states with legal recreational cannabis use, but the state still has some of the nation’s harshest cannabis laws. Even small amount of possession is punishable by up to 12 months in prison.
“We don’t have great laws with respect to cannabis but I suspect it’s going to get better soon,” said Sondeno. Currently, there are bills for medical cannabis and decriminalization of cannabis in the works being put together by the Wyoming Legislative Service Office. According to Sondeno the bills were delayed because of COVID-19, but will be introduced in late May or June of 2021.
Hardison has had trouble with the law before.
After setting up a research laboratory in his bungalow in the United Kingdom, he was arrested by authorities in February of 2004 and charged with possession with the intent to sell LSD and DMT, the smuggling of MDMA from the UK to the US, and the production of 2C-B, DMT, and LSD.
After his release in 2013, Hardison spoke about the incident to Vice Reporters saying, “I felt there was absolutely nothing wrong with what I was doing. I thought: There’s no way that a law can make me guilty by statute for an act that was intrinsically innocent. That said, I certainly wasn’t delusory about the idea that they were going to try to punish me for what they thought I’d done wrong.”
Based on his view that there is a fundamental flaw in the Western World’s view on drugs and using similar arguments from his 2006 UK appeal, Hardison that alcohol and tobacco fall under the definitions of a Schedule 1 substance as having both a “high potential for abuse” and “no accepted medical use,” and yet Wyoming law preserves the liberties of the substance manufacturers, and punishes any possession of drugs outside of that realm.
The motion to dismiss the case is still pending and Hardison’s trial is scheduled to start January 25, 2021.