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Newspaper account of Dale R. Gowin’s 1990 arrest
The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, October 19, 1990







‘Pot’ use advocate arrested
Man charged with selling drugs to undercover agent

by SEAN KIRST,  Syracuse Post-Standard

An undercover sting operation in the university district Wednesday left a 1960s-style activist facing some ’60s-style drug charges, according to police reports.

Dale R. Gowin, 40, of 204 Harvard Place, was charged with four felony counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana after police said Gowin sold 1,000 hits of LSD — the hallucinogen known as “acid” — to a plain clothes policeman.

He was arrested at his home at 10:06 PM in a refurbished attic office, where he allegedly accepted $1,200 from an undercover officer in return for 10 sheets of paper holding 1,000 hits of acid. The office contained an intercom by which Gowin learned of each guest at his door, police said.

The individual doses were marked with either airplane or eagle logos, police said, in keeping with the colorful symbols often used to identify LSD on the street.

Investigators also found what they believe to be marijuana, amphetamines and hallucinogenic mushrooms in Gowin’s third-floor rooms. [Editor’s note: this is inaccurate; the “amphetamines” were actually legal ephedrine tablets, and the “hallucinogenic mushrooms” consisted of a single dried peyote button.]

Police, who discovered a large box [actually a thin manila envelope] bearing a California return address in Gowin’s attic workplace, said they suspect he obtained the LSD by mail.

Until a few months ago, Gowin operated “The Memory Hole,” an avant-garde Trinity Place bookstore that carried a wide selection of 1960s memorabilia and counterculture literature.

Dorothy Gowin, the defendant’s 70-year-old mother, resides with her son and his family at 204 Harvard Place. She said the store closed a few months ago for financial reasons.

While she said she remains unaware of the exact nature of the charges, she recalled that her son — who was still in the Public Safety Building jail Thursday night — has consistently been an outspoken proponent of liberalizing laws that control the use of marijuana.

“He’s always felt there were legitimate uses for marijuana, either as a mystical or sacramental kind of thing,” she said. “And he’s also supported limited legalization of LSD for psychological or ceremonial purposes. He would never touch a street drug like cocaine. Really, he’s an idealist.”

She noted that Gowin received media coverage for vehemently expressing those views at a public forum before the City-County Drug Abuse Commission in the late 1970s, when that body was hearing arguments on proposals to decriminalize marijuana.

Dorothy Gowin said the police who swept through her home “were decent enough,” noting they took particular care to avoid waking up a child who was asleep upstairs.

Still, she said, she was taken aback when the wave of plain clothes officers first raided the house.

“I thought they were a street gang,” she said.

Police said they found a number of books on the effect and safety of marijuana and LSD while searching Gowin’s home.


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