Origins of the Hemp Movement


When I came to High Times, most of the pro-marijuana rallies originally organized in the seventies had died out. There was one flame left, however, in Ann Arbor, and it was flickering.

In 1987, I got a plea from some students living in a dorm at the University of Michigan, asking High Times to come out and rejuvenate their annual event, which had shrunk to a handful of die-hards. I knew NORML had engineered the demise of all pot rallies by claiming they were counterproductive and produced negative images (hippies smoking pot). There was a split inside NORML between the hippie activists and the lawyers who controlled the group.

I soon established the first national hemp rights group, The Freedom Fighters.

Jack Herer sent an 80-page manuscript to NORML titled, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, but NORML was not interested. They thought Jack was exaggerating the environmental benefits of hemp (which he was). Doug McVay, an intern at NORML came to visit and gave me a copy of the manuscript and I decided to run with it.

Eventually, I flew out to the valley in California where Jack lived. I wanted Jack to help establish the Freedom Fighters by becoming our leader. I planned some excerpts of his material and cover stories about hemp for High Times.

I wanted High Times to publish Jack’s book and Jack agreed I was the ideal candidate as editor. Jack also agreed to lead the Freedom Fighters and I photographed him wearing our signature tricorn. The idea of wearing tricorn hats was intended as a publicity stunt to draw attention to hemp and away from recreational cannabis. It also solved the “image problem” and added a fun element to the rallies. The Freedom Fighters marched into the rallies in a ceremonial fashion in an attempt to take back the American flag from the right wing. It was an attempt to flip a switch in the collective unconscious.

At that first meeting, Jack and I discussed a Hemp Tour across the Midwest, that would start at the Hash Bash in Ann Arbor, and include the University of Illinois, as well as Madison Wisconsin, where Ben Masel was busy creating the Midwest Harvest Festival.

The Freedom Fighters held their first national convention a day before the 1989 Hash Bash. How many attendees can you identify? And how many of the state chapter heads from the convention went on to do big things in the cannabis reform movement?

Lies About Alzheimer’s


There’s an article in the New York Times today pointing out advances in dementia detection have greatly outpaced treatment and most patients feel they have few options confronting their impending spiral of doom.

The testing is expensive, by the way, and not covered by insurance. Unfortunately, our medical establishment has a very strong disposition against medical cannabis. When the government and/or pill companies get around to finally funding some studies, cannabis will probably be proven the best possible medicine to stave off dementia. Even today, however, many doctors will tell you a Prozac prescription may help ward off symptoms. But then Prozac comes with a lot of unwanted side effects, like decreased libido and a 5 to 10% chance of psychotic reaction and/or suicidal thoughts. That number would be more exact but the companies who paid for the research shredded the results. In fact, 9 out of 10 studies on SSRI’s had to be shredded before they could enginner 1 % with amazing results. Well, truth be told, the results weren’t that amazing as SSRI’s work no better than sugar placebo pills. So I guess that explains why half the country is being put on SSRI’s, the eventual downstream damage of which will not be fully known for decades?

But you don’t have to pay thousands for a brain scan or a Prozac prescription. Just started eating some high quality cannabis oil as a preventive measure. It works.

The Truth About Food

In 1983, a joint team from China, Cornell University and Oxford University began a 20-year study into the relationship between diet and disease. The results were astonishing: heart disease and obesity are the result of food toxicity and malnourishment and do not even exist in those communities that consume primarily fresh vegetables and fruits. In 2004, one of the lead researchers, T. Colin Campbell, published The China Study, a book summarizing the results of this massive research effort. This book should have made the front pages around the world, yet few seem to realize its significance.
A few doctors, however, took note and began treating heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity as food-borne illnesses. Predictably, many of their extremely ill patients completely cured themselves of their health problems simply by switching to a plant-based diet and avoiding processed foods. These results were recently dramatically revealed in the documentary, Forks Not Knives, released in August, 2011 and now available on Netflix and Amazon Prime. These miraculous cures often took as little as three months to take effect.
One is left to ponder why this obvious solution to childhood obesity is currently being ignored? And why do most of our schools offer nothing but deadly food to our children? The current situation is very similar to the 1960’s, when most intelligent MD’s realized smoking tobacco had already created an explosion of lung cancer. Yet this information was largely ignored as the tobacco companies continued to reap huge profits for decades, despite the trail of misery and death created by their products. Now we have a trail of misery and death created by our food industry. I do not believe the current food industry is capable of reform, and will only seek to keep increasing its profits through factory farming of animals and bioengineering toxic products to protect their monopolies. We need a massive conversion to organic farming, ban GMO’s, and remove subsidies for corn, wheat and soy beans (the three most toxic crops at this point).

If there’s anyone out there reading this who’s had any success introducing healthy food to school cafeterias, I’d appreciate hearing from you. Since marijuana will soon be legal, I’m looking for a new cause to work on, and getting a safe alternative menu introduced into our school systems asap is high on my list.

Will Pot Be a Straw to Break the Hoodwink’s Back?

For ten years I’ve been predicting that prohibition would soon fade away as fast as the Berlin Wall collapsed. All it was going to take is one state to pass legalization, just like alcohol prohibition quickly dissolved after New York State refused to recognize it.

I used to do 20-40 college debates a year against former NY DEA chief Bob Stutman. We became friends over the 15 years it lasted, crisscrossing the country together. We actually influenced each other.

I always attempted to organize a chapter of SSDP at every school I visited, and did so about half the time, although I don’t know how many actually manifested. We went to over 300 schools.

The high point on each debate came when I requested some real religious freedom in America as my use of cannabis has often been ceremonial. I also advised the students to create an annual ritual on April 20th every year, and hold a silent prayer for peace in the drug war at 4:20 PM. At first, nobody knew what the hell I was talking about, but around 2000, the plea began getting laughs and applause as the audiences were finally figuring out 420.

With the collapse of the cannabis hoodwink, maybe people might start getting mad about being fooled for so long about the imaginary dangers of cannabis, when the real danger was prescription pills.

Maybe some will even start agitating for a real 9/11 investigation, since that first one was an obvious cover-up, just like the Warren Commission report.

If you want to understand how mind control works, look no farther than the widespread belief that anyone who disbelieves the official government version of 9/11 is a deluded crackpot.

This is a view perpetuated by Noam Chumpski and all designated spokespeople for the official left-wing, who can be recognized by their frequent appearances on television, major book deals and so on.

You have to wonder why the leading influencers of the left and right all sit comfortably inside the Council on Foreign Relations, where a lot of the dialectical management takes place, and the conversations are private.

In reality, Dubya obstructed a 9/11 investigation from day one, at first refusing to appoint a commission, and then suggesting Henry Kissinger lead it. Kissinger has business relations with England, Israel, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, and if you study the facts of 9/11, you’ll quickly learn Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were providing aid to the operation, while the Mossad and British intelligence were conducting surveillance.

Any intelligent person should be howling at this point, and demands for an independent investigation should have rattled the halls of Congress. Instead we got a handcuffed investigation that never tracked into Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or Israel, even though many Mossad spies were picked up immediately after the event and quickly shipped back to Israel.

The most respected Jewish newspaper, The Forward, interviewed Chip Berlet when the spies filming the Twin Towers collapse were picked up in New Jersey, in a van that tested positive for explosives, and then quickly sent to Israel. Nothing to see here, said Berlet essentially, just keep moving.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking, why is the Forward calling Chip Berlet for a quote about Israeli spies being sent back to Israel? Are they saying he’s some sort of expert on Mossad activities?

It’s really funny because Berlet first contacted me after my original JFK article came out. I’d just been contacted by Bo Gritz and Fletcher Prouty, who both thanked me for writing the article. I responded by interviewing Gritz about US involvement in the heroin trade in Vietnam. Although Gritz was the most decorated soldier to come out of that war, he became greatly disillusioned with the system after Khun Sa told him Richard Armitage (personal envoy to then President George H. W. Bush) was the biggest customer for raw opium.

Berlet soon wrote a piece titled “Right Woos Left” in regards to the fact renegade sides from the managed dialectic were slipping off the leash and sharing incriminating information about corruption inside the system in an attempt to expose the team orchestrating major crimes for profit.

Maybe you think I’m delusional for thinking such a team exists, embedded deep into the world’s oligarchies. But I don’t see how any rational person can object to an independent 9/11 investigation, since the first one didn’t even mention Building 7.  Not a single gumshoe reporter from any mainstream publication spent one day investigating the crime of the century. That can change.

And as a coda, let’s consider the interesting career of Ford-Foundation-funded Chip Berlet, who, according to Kris Millegan, was posing online right around 9/11 as Sean McBride, a person disseminating evidence of Israeli involvement in 9/11, while, at the same time, Berlet was leading the charge to brand all such accusations as antisemitic. See, that’s how you work a dialectic and create a mind control matrix.

And that is how spooks play their games.

A Bitter End to the Sixties


I attended college for free in San Francisco in the early 1970s, enrolling in San Francisco City College and studying theater and journalism. After I got kicked off that student newspaper, however, I got heavily into creative writing and became a huge fan of Anton Chekhov, although I was also influenced by current trends in theater, especially the work of Harold Pinter and Edward Albee.

Soon, I transferred to the University of Illinois theater department and became a budding playwright, although I only ended up writing one play. My instructor, Kenneth McLean, was so impressed that he staged this one act play, assigning Randi Collins to direct. I remember my first meeting with Randi. She was a talented director but couldn’t make sense out of my play the first time she read it, as she had no experience with blue collar life. I guess it seemed like meaningless dialogue going nowhere, but after I helped Randi select a cast (we were lucky to get some of the best actors in the department), I gave Randy some notes regarding the subtext behind many of the lines. I remember telling Ken Benda, who was playing the lead character, Lonnie, to talk fast, and John Hickey, who was playing Gerald, to talk slow. The dynamics between these two provided most of the comedy in the opening minutes of the play. Soon, however, the darkness of a world with no future emerged and Randi began to sense the futility the play was attempting to capture. John Dunn went on to have a successful theater career in New York.

Much to my surprise, Ken McLean submitted the script to the American College Theatre Festival and it was accepted, so we all got to travel up to Milwaukee for another performance. It was supposed to be a reading, but we put on a fairly polished production. I remember how stunned that audience was after the play. Several other playwrights congratulated me and let me know my work showed tremendous promise, although the moderator of the discussion group afterwards felt it was just a fragment and not a fully realized play, which provoked a huge disagreement from some of the audience.

After the performance, we all went back to the dorm where we were staying and I told some ghost stories to the cast. Randi, my director, got so scared she had to leave the room and was scared to be alone with me for the rest of the trip. That’s when I discovered I had a flair for scaring the shit out of people.

I never wrote another play, though, as I seemed to get it all out of my system with just this one. But when I went back to take a look at the script recently, I was amazed at how well it holds up. In the mid-1970s, a lot of young people were graduating high school or even college without much of an idea of what to do next. Most of the jobs that were available to us were very boring factory jobs, most of which have been moved overseas today, so the situation for the current generation is even more bleak. Meanwhile, the sixties counterculture revolution seemed pretty much over by 1975, having been completely co-opted by the mainstream. There just didn’t seem to be any future for many young people, a situation that seems to be repeating itself with this generation, which is why I think theater students today might enjoy staging this script again. I’d certainly love to see another performance someday, which is why I put the script on for free.


Charlie Manson’s Attempted Comeback

On April 14, 1985, while in prison in Vacaville, CA, 48-year-old Charles Manson (B-33920 L-301) released his first commercial record album from material previously taped in 1971 in San Quentin. On March 29th, he wrote some PR letters to the media, including High Times where I was working part-time, helping out then-editor John Howell, who’d just taken over from the recently-departed Larry Sloman.

“The photographs in your magazine make me cry,” wrote Charlie. “but I love looking at them all the same. Keep it UP!”

You know the Helter Skelter theories about provoking a race war to usher in the new age apocalypse were actually originally fomented by the Process Church of Final Judgment (a British spinoff from Scientology). They were the spookiest of all the cults that invaded the Haight. But Charlie’s murder spree actually had two motives, neither to do with race war: One was to get the recently-jailed Bobby Beausoleil released by staging some copycat murders similar to the one Bobby was charged with, proving Bobby was innocent (and the real killer still at large), and the other was to seek vengeance against Terry Melcher who’d scuttled his record deal soon after getting a glimpse of Charlie’s dark side at the Spahn Ranch. Unfortunately for Sharon Tate, she’d recently moved into Melcher’s former home.

As for the letter he sent High Times, aside from pushing his record, Charlie was promoting a new organization, World Wide Understanding, PO Box 90, Nantasket Beach, MA, as well as the group’s 9-point statement of purpose, which I found interesting as it seemed to indicate Charlie was now attempting to capitalize on some of his skills, which apparently included phone sex and occult wisdom:

First: Interested in the ECOLOGY, MUSIC, SEXUALITY or the OCCULT? W.W.U. provides a service where people of similar interests can contact each other with as much privacy and anonymity as desired.

Second: A place for exhibitionists to share their sexual uniqueness with the voyeurs of the world.

Third: A fourm [stet] to explore and exchange thoughts and ideas about sexuality, music and the occult.

Fourth: Learn, teach and share in sexual arousal and gradification without physical contact, free from the worry of unwanted pregnancies and veneral [stet] disease.

Fifth: Learn how to overcome jealousy and still have sexual variety.

Sixth: Venture into new thought and territories exploring the body and the mind.

Seventh: Share your fantasies and have fantasies shared with you.

Eighth: Learn that sex in not a tool to manipulate the opposite sex.

Ninth: Learn not to label or stereotype yourself or anyone else.

PS. Save a tree, eat a beaver. Today the GOOD WITCH from the East will be set FREE to come West.