On August 31, 2001 the siege began on Rainbow Farm in Vandalia, Michigan. Five days later the owner of the Farm, Tom Crosslin and his life partner, Rollie Rohm were gunned down by the FBI. This blew up into a major media event. These two hemp activist had made major progress in changing the marijuana policy in the state of Michigan. Crosslin was killed Sept. 3, 2001, by an FBI sharpshooter and Rohm was killed the next day Sept. 4, 2001, leaving his burning home into the open air.
The siege of the Rainbow Farm was surely to be the hottest story of the year except that on September 11, 2001, 911 happened and the story of Rainbow Farm was buried. Up until that time, echoes of Ruby Ridge and Waco, was filling the media. The public was in outrage over how the whole incident was handled. But when 911 happened, all eyes were focused to terrorism invading our country.
Crosslin bought the Farm and 34 acres in 1993 in Michigan for $34,000 dollars. He had hopes of building a peaceful utopia for him and Rohm. Crosslin had an idea of having a campground on the Farm for friends and family to enjoy the freedom of their lifestyles, much of which was being able to openly use marijuana. In 1993 the two annual festivals began. HempAid on Memorial Day and Roach Roast on Labor Day, were the events on Rainbow Farm.
HempAid and Roach Roast brought in huge crowds of other post era hippies who were interested in the legalization of the use of marijuana privately. These festivals brought in representatives from the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws and music groups from all over the country. Thousands of people would attend these events to try to get the legalization of marijuana past in Michigan.
The Cass County prosecutor, Scott Teter, worked diligently to close down Rainbow Farm. It took years, after he took office in December of 1996, for Teter to be able to bring down Rainbow Farm. Teter would send in undercover police officers into the festivals and they would come up empty handed. Teter would set up road blocks to search vehicles that were attending the festivals to find marijuana. All this accomplished was to scare off campers that were going to attend the festival.
In May of 2001, the Rainbow Farm was raided by Michigan state troopers to support the state IRS on a tax warrant. For the next few hours the Farm was searched and 301 starter plants were found in a growing room in the basement and a loaded nine-millimeter pistol and two loaded shotguns were found. Teter arrived on the scene with then attorney general Jennifer Granholm, now Michigan’s Governor.
The final blow seemed to be when the Family Independence Agency came and took Rohm’s 12 year old son out of school and refused to let Rohm have custody of his son.
Facing imprisonment for manufacturing marijuana and firearms violations and with maintaining a drug house, on August 31, 2001, Tom Crosslin began burning down his buildings. News helicopters came in and so did the State Police. Shots were being fired at the helicopter and the police plane. This is when the FBI came in.
Tom Crosslin was killed on Labor Day 2001, while trying to get food. FBI snipers shot Crosslin in the head killing him instantly. Crosslin never fired his gun. It would only be one day later when Rollie Rohm would meet the same fate.
This incident at Rainbow Farm has still not been closed. Investigations were launched by the families, the prosecutor, the state’s attorney general, the state police, the FBI, even the Michigan Militia. There seems to be undeniable proof that these two men were gunned down not in self defense. There is also a wrongful death suit pending for Rollie Rohm.
Today the Rainbow Farm is aiming to be an instrumental place for the legal Michigan Medical Marijuana patients and caregivers.