43rd Anniversary of 420

A  group of students at San Rafael High School in California became known as “The Waldos” because they could be frequently found sitting on a wall in the school yard they’d made their regular hangout spot. They could also be frequently found imbibing cannabis and were widely known as the school’s biggest potheads.

One day in late spring 1971, someone approached the Waldos in the schoolyard during lunch hour with a piece of paper on which had been scrawled a map of Point Reyes Peninsula. “My cousin is in the Coast Guard and he planted this patch of marijuana,” he said. “But he thinks his commanding officer is onto him, so he says anybody can go pick the patch.” The Waldos were very excited indeed. This called for an almost immediate “safari,” which is what they called road adventures. They especially loved Mexican safaris as they almost always produced weed. But it was never free like this! One or two Waldos had an after school activity, so they couldn’t meet immediately after school. And they had to meet as close to the parking lot as possible, so they could quickly pile into one car and head for the patch. So it was decided to meet at 4:20 pm at the statue of Louis Pasteur at the entrance to the parking lot. And for the next few hours, whenever they spotted each other in the hallway, they gave a little salute and said the words, “Four-twenty, Louie,” to remind each other not to miss the appointment. When they met at the statute at 4:20, they smoked a joint, piled into their car and headed off to seek the pot patch.

Younger kids in the high school picked up on the ceremony and began holding annual events at 4:20 at the top of Mt. Tam, but when they began making flyers and distributing them at local Dead shows in the Bay Area, the rangers shut down the April 20th ceremony.

But one of those flyers came to my attention when I was editor of High Times, and I immediately made 4:20 a central part of everything I was doing, which included The Freedom Fighters, the Cannabis Cup, the WHEE! festivals, and my daily routine at High Times.

A hippie looks at 60

(To the tune of “A Pirate Looks at 40” by Jimmy Buffett)
Mother, Mother planet
you make me feel so small
spring, summer, winter procession
and, of course the fall
We’ve done it all
We’ve seen it all

Now the winter worsens
birds fall from the sky
fish and frogs are dyin’
the bees are cryin’
what the hell is goin’ on?
somethin’s wrong
somethin’s wrong

Yes, I am a hippie
60 years too late
don’t tell the neighbors
or put it on facebook but
I used to live in the Haight

ran away to the Haight

got schooled in the Haight

Well, I’ve done my share of smokin’
inhaled my share of grass
breathed enough tar and gases
to fill a zillion bags
never meant to last
never meant to last

And I have been stoned now
for over ten years
rolling fatty after fatty
and drinkin’ some beer
but I need to stop smokin’
I’m practically chokin’
Need to stop smokin’
maybe, just a few days
for just a few days
(instrumental solo)

I go for sour diesel
or chemdog when I can find it
long as it’s kind bud
organic and well cured
you know, the super kind
just takes some time
just takes some time

Mother Mother planet
After all the years I’ve found
an occupational hazard is
when an occupation’s just not around
feel like I’m down
gotta head uptown
I feel like I’m down
gonna head uptown
(sound of vaporizer bag filling as music fades out)
copyright Steven Hager 2011

Proof of God’s Existence

Religions are all rivers flowing to the same sea.

All matter is made of energy, and energy systems can harmonize (tune up). When you hug or kiss someone, your two energy fields (auras) are joined into a single field. Likewise, when you sit at family dinner, the family can harmonize into a single energy field and that’s one reason why family dinners can be crucial in raising well-adjusted children. The earth is a self-regulating energy system. Since my definition of god is “everything” and I believe there’s an energy field created by everything, I have no doubt of god’s existence. In Native American terms, the Great Spirit flows through all things. It makes no difference what name you put on this energy field, the fact it’s there is proof that it exists. I can’t really accept the concept of god as a white-haired gentleman who sits in the clouds with angels around him and sends people to heaven or hell.

Who is Steven Hager and what did he have to do with 420?

I’m a writer, journalist, filmmaker, event producer and counterculture and cannabis activist, and was born and raised in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.

My first start-up was in 1965. I created The Cap’n Crunch Courier, a humor xerox zine given away free at Urbana Junior High. Three years later, I created The Tin Whistle, a monthly newspaper eventually distributed in four high schools in Central Illinois. I obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater (Playwriting) and a Masters of Science in Journalism, both from the University of Illinois. After graduation, I moved to New York City, worked for a number of magazines before becoming a reporter for the New York Daily News. During this time, I began researching the hip hop movement of the South Bronx and sold my original story Beat Street to Harry Belafonte, and the film with the same name was distributed by Orion Pictures. In 1984, St. Martins’ Press released my book, Hip Hop, the first history of rap music, break dancing and graffiti art. I followed that book with Art After Midnight, an examination of the New York club scene and its influence on artists, primarily Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf.

In 1988, I was hired as editor of High Times magazine where I created the Cannabis Cup, the world’s most famous cannabis awards ceremony, and the Freedom Fighters, the first hemp legalization group. I also created a garage-rock revival band called the Soul Assassins (check out the music at http://theoriginalsoulassassins….). In 1990 I began promoting 420 as a counterculture ceremony and played a leading role in spreading the 420 phenomenon around the globe. For 15 years, I regularly appeared at college campuses as part of a debate on the legalization of cannabis, alongside former New York DEA chief Robert Stutman. The event, known as “Heads versus Feds,” began in 2001 and visited more than 350 colleges in fifteen years, regularly drawing standing-room crowds. Bob and I became known as “The Ultimate Odd Couple,” and have became friends despite the cultural gap between us.

The national hemp group I created in the late 1980s, The Freedom Fighters, held council at 4:20 PM for years before the numerology caught on and we successfully snatched the flag and Liberty Boy spirit from President Reagan (until the Tea Party snatched it back decades later). I blogged very little for the first year or so, but a couple years into it, I began using the blog primarily to share my deep political research. Some recently told me my title had become misleading because it’s not a blog about cannabis per se, although the disappearance of cannabis from religion is the major conspiracy I’m currently researching. Just a long-winded explanation for why I changed the blog name today. The tin or penny whistle was one of the most inexpensive melodic instruments invented and sold for a penny in England in the nineteenth century. It’s appropriate because I am a whistleblower on intel’s Tin Foil Hat Patrol. And please don’t get scared by the truth. The oligarchies have been running the show since the dawn of civilization, and true democracy may never appear in our time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t chart a course for future generations to follow. Without an understanding of political realities, there is no enlightenment. And enlightenment is fun.