Sept. 3-4, 2001 - Rainbow Farm Owner Tom "Boss" Crosslin & Partner Rollie Rohm Killed by FBI


This Day in Cannabis History:


Rainbow Farm was a 420-friendly campground in Vandalia, Michigan run by gay cannabis activist Tom "Boss" Crosslin and his life partner Rolland "Rollie" Rohm. The Farm hosted several cannabis-related events during the mid to late 1990s, including Hemp Aid on Memorial Day weekend and Roach Roast on Labor Day weekend. The events drew celebrity activists and performers from around the country, including comedy legend Tommy Chong, country music star Merle Haggard, 60s rockers Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Michigan activist icon John Sinclair, as well as representatives from NORML and High Times—essentially making Rainbow Farm "the center of marijuana activism in Michigan" at the time.


Due to his decision to host these festivals and campaign for a marijuana legalization measure called the Personal Responsibility Amendment, Crosslin was targeted by local authorities. Cass County prosecutor Scott Teter launched an investigation into the Farm, which in May 2001 led to State Police executing a trumped-up warrant for tax fraud on Crosslin. After searching the property, police found nearly 300 cannabis plants and a number of firearms, causing Crosslin and Rohm to be hit with felony cultivation, possession, and weapons charges—carrying a possible penalty of 20 years in prison and the seizure of his farm under civil asset forfeiture laws.


While out on a $150,000 bond, Crosslin allegedly violated his bail agreement by announcing the farm would be hosting another event, and by failing to appear at his court date that August. Then, on Labor Day weekend, after he and Rohm set fire to the various structures on the farm, a standoff with police and press ensued. Armed with assault rifles, the duo reportedly began firing into the woods surrounding the property, and shooting at news copters, police vehicles, and surveillance planes. This prompted local police to call in the FBI, who surrounded the house with snipers.


On September 3, Crosslin reportedly pointed his rifle toward an FBI agent he spotting lying on the ground. In response, the sniper shot Crosslin five times in the head, and three times in the torso, killing him instantly. The next morning, at 3:45 a.m., Rohm contacted police and offered to surrender at 7 a.m. if they would bring his son (who had been remanded to foster care after their arrest) to see him. But shortly after 6 a.m., he too was shot and killed by a police sniper.


Sadly, due to their dramatic stand against authorities, Tom and Rollie met with a tragic end—two more victims of the disastrous War on Drugs...but their activism and bravery inspired many, and helped set the stage for Michigan's eventual legalization years later.



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