Neal Smith



One of the nation’s most active, visible and voracious fighter of freedom crossed over today from complications of lung cancer. Ben was 56.

I first met Ben in the late 1970’s, as a friend of Gatewood Galbraith’s in Kentucky. Ben travelled the country, preaching the gospel of freedom for all. I next saw Ben when Hemp Tour came through Indiana in 1989. When he spoke, and he usually did in a very laid back style, he made you think. He made you feel the pain of the oppressed, and he made you angry to think that humans could treat other humans that way.

Back in the days of the Freedom Fighters, the Council rarely made a decision without Ben’s input. Many was the time I sat in Council with him. He always spoke truth, and he always spoke from the heart.

I remember the Pine Lakes, Indiana show in the early 90’s when the Indiana State Police, in direct violation of law, entering private property in force just to see if there were any law violations. Ben organized a walking drumming, getting ahead of the pack of cops and drumming so everyone knew to conceal any possible illegal activity. Really pissed the cops off, but there wasn’t a thing they could do about it.

That’s the way Ben was. He would come up with creative ways of stuffing their attack, and of getting the message out. He went to jail many times for, what boiled down to, making monkeys out of officialdom. And doing it with flair!

His warrior spirit has gone on to better things. But he leaves us with a legacy of the thirst for personal freedom and the overwhelming desire planted in everyone he met, to make this a better planet for our having been here.

Ben, my brother, you are a true American patriot. Thank you for instilling the want and demand for our freedom and the courage to carry out our dreams.