Saturday, July 30, 2011

Man sues for right to beg for money for marijuana


The "Weed Man" of Times Square demands his constitutional right to beg. Joshua Long - who carries a sign saying "Help! I need money for weed" - filed a federal suit complaining that his First, Fourth and 14th Amendment rights have been violated by repeated arrests.

"Though the First Amendment protects Mr. Long's right to stand on the sidewalk with his sign, he has been, and continues to be, regularly and wrongfully, arrested, charged and harassed by police officers," the suit says.

"These arrests and other harassment have diminished Mr. Long's ability to lawfully beg in Times Square." Long, 30, has been issued multiple summonses, arrested at least six times, pepper sprayed and harassed by police, according to court papers in Manhattan Federal Court.

"He certainly has the right to stand on the sidewalk and ask for money," said Long's lawyer, Matthew Brinckerhoff. "I can only conclude that the police don't like his message." Long is seeking a court order protecting Long's right to beg and unspecified damages and lawyer fees.

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