Burning Rainbow Farm

A fast-reading and fascinating expose on civil rights, Michigan small towns, marijuana culture, and the encroachment of government on our personal lives. Burning Rainbow Farm is a cautionary tale that all Americans should be aware of and concerned about.

On the Labor Day weekend before September 11, 2001 a battle for American civil liberties took place in a small, blue-collar town in southwestern Michigan. BURNING RAINBOW FARM: How a Stoner Utopia Went Up in Smoke is the gripping true story of how a peaceful campground in rural Michigan became the setting for a five-day standoff with the FBI and a battle over the role of government in our daily lives.

In 1993 Tom Crosslin and his partner Rollie Rohm opened Rainbow Farm, a well-appointed campground with a mission: to advocate the decriminalization of marijuana. Rainbow Farm festivals featured top entertainers and bands and drew over 5,000 blue-collar libertarians, hippie liberals, evangelicals, and militiamen.

In May 2001, Tom and Rollie were arrested for growing marijuana in their home, and Rollie’s 11-year-old son was placed in foster care. Their anger mounted, and on the Friday of Labor Day Weekend, Tom and Rollie didn’t show up for a court date. Michigan’s two best-known hippies holed up at Rainbow Farm and planned to burn it to the ground. County officials called the FBI, and within five days both Tom and Rollie were dead. The FBI claims both men pointed their weapons first. Eyewitnesses say otherwise.

Dean Kuipers investigates exactly what happened during the years leading up to that explosive weekend. Through interviews with friends, family, law enforcement officials and farm employees, Kuipers tells their whole story for the first time, which was obscured by the events of September 11 and forgotten by the rest of the country.

“An excellent look at the marijuana subculture, deluded or not, aspiring to the Middle-American mainstream.”—Kirkus, starred review

“[Kuipers] doesn’t cross the line from sound journalism into advocacy, while letting the story unfold through superbly detailed characterizations and skillful pacing”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Read this book and weep. It reminds us that the War on Drugs created the template for America’s brutal foreign policy of today and continues to tear at the very fabric of our national life.”—John Sinclair, White Panther Party founder and former manager of MC5

Read a short interview with the author up at: The Metro Times


Read The Washington Post article: “Was Rainbow Farm Another Waco?”

Listen to an NPR interview with the author Dean Kuipers at: Killings at Rainbow Farm: NPR Weekend Edition

“Burning Rainbow Farm is a gripping cautionary tale of what happens when the War on Drugs turns into a shooting war. More than that, Dean Kuipers has given us a deftly reported glimpse into America’s blue collar rural stoner subculture — and he’s worth reading for that alone. “– Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch

Read the First two chapters online at the Metrotimes: Rainbow’s End

On June 19th Dean Kuipers stopped by the Book Beat on his national tour. Click here to get an author signed copy right away!BURNING RAINBOW FARM


Dean Kuipers is the deputy editor of Los Angeles City Beat and the author of I Am a Bullet and Ray Gun out of Control. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times, and Playboy. A native of Michigan (twenty miles from Rainbow Farm), he now lives in Los Angeles.

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