Boycott High Times & Boycott the Cannabis Cup

I was fired by High Times for requesting a small raise to cover the cost of my kid’s braces ($250 per month). At the time my take-home pay did not even cover the rent on my apartment, and I had a disabled family member I was taking care of that required an additional location, and was a single dad with two kids. They dismissed any possible raise, even though the cannabis cup I created was making millions, and the magazine circulation had shrank to unprofitablity without my leadership. This angered me so much that I requested a buy out on the ten percent of the company I owned. They said, see what you can get. I got four offers at $250k per share, half my shares. High Times fired me, threatened me with litigation, seized all my archives, and forced me to give up the shares for less than a quarter on the dollar. And then they didn’t even honor the bullshit deal.

Why was I so angry at High Times? Mostly because I’d recently got back from lunch with the head of Lion’s Gate and his top execs and they had greenlighted a $2-million movie called High Times Cannabis Cup, and after that lunch, Lion’s Gate hired a screenwriter, who met with me and the producers, and wrote a brilliant script that was a comedy, yet it included all my concepts on ritual theater, and non-violence, and cannabis ceremonies, and really gave props to the Temple Dragon Crew, and the Temple Dragon Band, and used the candles in the film. This was going to be my vindication after being chained in a cellar for seven years by High Times, only High Times squashed the film by saying they had to take out the Temple Dragons and all their magic.

They couldn’t even respect my humble little attempt to tell the world that the true story of the holy grail involves cannabis.

Stand up for the counterculture and stand against the corporate greed fest. Boycott High Times and boycott their unholy, money-grubbing Cannabis Cup. Please help spread the word.


And you had a chance to be one of the owners of High Times?

Did you know there are only four shareholders left at High Times? The founder’s great dream of a nation of workers didn’t really manifest exactly on course, but the few shareholders there are get together every year and plot the course for the year and discuss every aspect of all things marijuana. And, of course, we get to see all the financial information and hear the inside stories on whatever sagas are rumbling through the undercurrent of that scene. Lots of juicy gossip that you can never reveal.

I am selling 8 shares this year and since there are 67 shares  in circulation they represent around 12 percent of the company. Trust me, once pot becomes legal, the value of these shares will explode. Someday, this company will go public, and when it does, anyone holding a share will become rich in the process.

How Warner Brothers fumbled a revolution

Bandit_of_Kabul_cover_sample-480After Woodstock erupted in the summer of 1969, every community in America rushed to create laws banning rock music festivals from their counties. This was a directive from on high because it happened everywhere and very quickly.

The campaign was greatly aided by a murder committed by a Hell’s Angles while the Rolling Stones launched their satanic anthem, Sympathy for the Devil, at the Altamont Speedway festival in 1970. In fact, most historians place the decline of the counterculture as starting with that moment. The Maysles made an incredible movie and its pretty clear the Stones were playing with matches while the Angels were playing with blowtorches.

Meanwhile, before Altamont took place, Warner Brothers was already plotting for months on how to capture the center of energy on the counterculture revolution so it could be properly mined for profit, a plot that involved putting the Grateful Dead and Merry Pranksters (two of the stars of Woodstock) on tour across America in a series of free concerts, and eventually send the hippie circus over to England, in a sort of reverse English invasion, as if the hippies were American’s answer to the Beatlemania/Gimme Shelter dialectic, as if the CIA was plotting to upstage Tavistock.

But when Altamont took place, the Grateful Dead were widely blamed for introducing the concept of the Hell’s Angels as a reliable security detail, due solely to their prior relationship. According to Paul Krassner, however, the concept of the Hell’s Angles as bouncers was actually introduced by Emmett Grogan, founder of the influential Diggers movement, who made use of improvisational ritual theater as reverse mind control. Before Grogan would provide a free meal, he’d make a person step through a skeleton doorway to signify their passage into another dimension, where the profit motive didn’t exist. I am sure that doorway helped break down some mental barriers.

Burning Man runs a similar ritual on arrivals, but they charge an outrageous $400 per person for something Peter Schumann provided for decades for free? And Schumann (founder of the Bread & Puppet Theater) also gave away bread he baked every morning, bread smeared with garlic and oil. I’ve never been to Burning Man because I wouldn’t cough up $400 to spend a week in the desert, even with the LA party scene. If Grogan was alive today, he’d be standing at the Gates and protesting the rip-off.

But there are some key elements documented in this new book just released by Trine Day, the best publisher in America. The book is the Bandit of Kabul and the new details concern the Grateful Dead being kicked off Warner’s Medicine Ball Caravan simply because they were scapegoated for Altamont. The Pranksters were removed because Kesey had re-emerged from Mexico and Warners did not trust Kesey, thinking he might attempt a real counterculture revolution instead of the comfortable dialectical profit stream they were looking for.

So Warner’s great follow-up plan to Woodstock was a huge bust. A French directer looked for cowboys and naked hippies, while completely ignoring the magic of Kesey’s last minute substitute Wavy Gravy, who has since proved himself one of our greatest saints. Today the movie is mostly know as the only film footage of High Times founder Tom Forcade, who dogged the caravan as it traveled across American, staging a counter-festival at every stop.

The NSA needs to be reigned in by Congress

ff_nsadatacenter_fI have no doubt there are terrifying secrets lurking at the top of the National Security Agency, an agency badly in need of reorganization and reform.

Thirty years ago, no one even knew this agency existed. But in 1982, James Bamford published The Puzzle Palace, the first time a journalist mentioned an agency that had grown larger than all other intelligence agencies combined. The growth and influence of the NSA over the decades has been astonishing. This concentration of secret power is not a good thing for democracy and neither is the NSA’s new $2 billion data center in Utah (above), scheduled to go online in September.

Right before 9/11, Bamford released an update on the NSA and exposed a 1960’s Pentagon plan to kill innocent Americans so the deaths could be blamed on Cuba (Operation Northwoods). The idea was to use this incident to justify a full-scale invasion of Cuba. The plan was never implemented and JFK refused to go along, but there were plenty of Chiefs ready to implement. Freedom of Information Act requests had revealed the plot.

Back in 1986, when I first learned about the NSA, I was in Salk City, Wisconsin, on assignment for High Times. A police officer named Robert Mueller had been charged with executing a man after handcuffing and throwing him to the ground in his driveway. The man was a suspected marijuana user. During the trial, some interesting facts emerged: Mueller had worked for the NSA in England where he’d had a nervous breakdown. He believed he was a secret agent working directly for President Ronald Reagan, who was sending coded messages through newspaper headlines. Mueller believed Reagan had instructed him to start killing drug users in a recent nationally-televised speech, one that delivered the famous message: “Just say no.”

I was traveling alone in Wisconsin, interviewing anyone who would talk to me about Mueller’s case, and I got pretty paranoid since I felt super exposed in that small town and worried some local cops, friends of Mueller’s, might take an interest in me. I had no idea how far the rabbit hole went, but it seemed possible Mueller was subject to mind control beyond the usual boot camp, which is pretty advanced mind control on its own as it spits out teenagers ready to kill strangers on command, an act that runs against the grain of humanity. I was deep into Iran/Contra at the time, and watching Ollie North testify on TV with great interest. I did not yet realize John Kerry was a member of Skull & Bones though. It would take years for me to come up to speed on deep politics.

There was only one freelance reporter trying to unravel the secrets of the NSA back then and his name was Danny Casolaro. Danny had developed sources inside the NSA that were helping him, which just goes to show the corruption is not institutional, but the work of a cabal at the top of the pyramid. After Danny began documenting the hidden history of trading in guns, drugs and pirated software, he was “suicided” after several warnings failed to scare him off the trail.

I was stunned when a former High Times writer, Ron Rosenbaum, wrote an article in Vanity Fair claiming Danny was paranoid and chasing ghosts and actually did commit suicide, even though Danny was receiving constant death threats and had recently told his family not to believe he would ever kill himself. Ron could have exposed the NSA at the time but instead slagged off Danny? In fact, all claims Danny was making have either turned out true or gained more traction over time.

Even if an investigation of NSA abuses could happen, it would likely become quickly compromised, just as the previous Congressional investigations into political assassinations were sandbagged from the inside. These cases are not that hard to crack if honest efforts are made. The NSA is guarding a treasure trove of government misconduct and the unlocking of its files would provide a clear view of corruption at the highest levels of government, as well as answer vital questions concerning every major conspiracy story of our time.

If we ever want to return to a real democracy, we’ll have to shed the concept governments need secrets. Freedom and transparency go hand in hand. Every single piece of government business should be available to view on the internet the second it is concluded. This is the only way to disarm the secret societies operating on the inside. Of course, the old money establishment will never give up their secret police and many professional spooks are already operating outside government control, but their power would shrink immensely if they could no longer hatch plots from inside the Federal security apparatus.

When the Franklin Credit Union got busted out by CIA black ops, the local state senator, John DeCamp, wanted an Omaha police chief investigated by the FBI. Only when he visited the FBI office, he quickly learned that police chief was a prominent official in the Mormon religion and untouchable. (In case you didn’t know, the Mormons have taken over much of the FBI, and they watch each other’s backs.)

It just makes me wonder why this new data center had to be built in the heart of Mormon country. The Church of Latter Day Saints was born at the same time a wave of fear concerning Freemasonry swept across America and the secret rituals and rites of those two organizations are similar in many respects. In fact, the first alternative third party in America was the Anti-Masonic Party, which blew through the country like a breath of fresh air. It would be great if someone would launch an Anti-NSA party, but any operation like that would not exist long without getting completely co-opted.

Gunshots at Marijuana Rally


How sad the Denver rally was marred by violence and instead of a message of peace, the global news is now reporting: “gunshots at marijuana rally.” For me, this is a great tragedy.

Abby from Daily Beast called me on 4/19 and interviewed me for over an hour. She seemed fascinated by my history of spiritual use of cannabis, although I cautioned her there was a pretty intense filter in the national media on any of this info, and if she planned to write about it, be prepared for censorship from on high. She laughed off that idea, but strangely, her story has yet to appear.

The Denver rally began ten years ago, one of the first large mass April 20th events. Now we have so many. In 1990 I discovered an annual ritual was taking place near the top of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County. At the time, I was reading about Soma and had decided the story invented by Gordon Wasson that Soma was a mushroom was false, and Soma was actually cannabis, just like it was obvious to me cannabis was manifesting real ceremony and ritual in Marin, headquarters of the hippie counterculture after the Haight was over-run with undercovers, violence, hard drugs and nasty ops. From 1995 until 2003, the center of energy on spreading 420 ceremonies was the Cannabis Cup, especially the Temple Dragon Crew, who were so fanatical about honoring 420 they did it twice every day, at 4:20 PM and 4:20 AM. Having a picture taken at the Quentin hotel lobby under the clock at 4:20 AM was one of the biggest 420 ceremonies around for years before the rest of the world picked up on it.

That’s why I could never understand why Steve Bloom, who actually appears in some of those early 420 photos at the Quentin lobby, tells people High Times, the Cannabis Cup, and me in particular, “had nothing to do with spreading 420?” After having spent 30 years trying to get the spiritual rights issues around cannabis recognized, and then have that entire life’s campaign dismissed by someone who actually saw the thing assembled is saddening. But then Bloom voluntarily quit High Times when I was brought back the third time, just because he couldn’t work under me again. So I understand where the vibes are coming from.

I guess Bloom posted that quote from Mike Edison on the wikipedia page for 420 saying I pushed the Waldo’s story and then took it to “cult-like extremes.” That is really hilarious. Yes, I organized events around 420, and at 4:20 PM, I would sometimes ask the assembled multitudes to form a circle, hold hands, and OM for world peace. That’s a traditional hippie ceremony begun in North America by The Brotherhood of Eternal Love on the West Coast and Allen Ginsberg on the East Coast.

Like I was telling Abby from Daily Beast, I found out about marijuana by reading On the Road, and the key moment in that stream of consciousness is a spiritual moment in Mexico provided by a few hits of marijuana. That book sent my generation looking for marijuana because we wanted to have a spiritual moment like that, especially since all of us had recently lost our religions and needed something real and honest we could plug into.

During this crucial time, when the counterculture was re-discovering the sacrament of peace culture, what happens? A major op is launched by Gordon Wasson to declare the magic mushroom as the key to spirituality? And he heads off down to Mexico to take mushrooms with a shaman and it ends up on the cover of Life magazine? Suddenly, it’s all about mushrooms again? This is obviously the same op Wasson pulled on Soma. Could it be possible that when the Roman empire took control of Christianity, which up until then had been a poor people’s religion based on world peace, and when Constantine put that cross on his army’s shields, he also switched up the sacraments? The poor people got alcohol, while the priests got mushrooms, but cannabis? That had to be strictly forbidden because cannabis manifests peace culture, and the Roman empire was never about peace.

So Wasson was an op. He worked for J.P Morgan, who put together the mostly European cartel that bought out Andrew Carnegie and took over the American economy. And the war on marijuana runs much deeper and much longer than most people realize.

It’s funny how the minute the Boston Marathon Bombing took place, the mainstream press complained that conspiracy theorists were already crying “false flag.” Yeah, unfortunately, terror is a political instrument and history has shown it’s probably more often a false flag than not, especially when completely innocent civilians are involved.

After I attended my first Rainbow Gathering and stood in a circle OMing for peace with 15,000 people, my mind was blown and I realized if only we had more ceremonies like this, we might actually get some positive energy going in this direction. So I organized a lot of peace circles for the next 30 years and tried to teach the youth about hippie magic. But I live in New York City, where hippies are not really very popular, and the minute I started manifesting these ceremonies, I was branded “a cult leader” by people that wanted to take my job? If I am a cult leader why am I a single dad with two kids struggling to survive? Where is my army of zombie robots and why aren’t they carrying me around in a sedan chair feeding me grapes all day? In fact, I never tried to organize a cult or anything close and I have zero dogma to push, only a desire to spread loving energies to help heal all the hate, but of course, this is dangerous, or at least lame and stupid, eh?

A fascinating story appeared today about the history of the Jews. Apparently, they were the first culture to attain universal literacy and it marked them for persecution because they were well-educated, well-read people living among people who could not read or write and had zero education. This created tremendous tensions and it would take centuries for the rest of the cultures to catch up. So they had a tremendous leg up and you can see that advantage still manifesting today. Meanwhile, they still make the best scapegoats, when, in fact, just because they own the bank, that doesn’t mean they own all the money in the bank. Gordon Wasson, the key player in trying to hold back the rise of cannabis and peace culture, was working for J.P. Morgan, not Lord Rothschild.

The Xerox Art Movement of 1980-81


Between 1980 and 1981, a lot of emerging artists knew the Zeitgeist was changing and were experimenting with new media hoping to catch whatever wave might come along. For a year or two, Xerox art became the rage for many. In fact, Jean Michel Basquiat was doing it before he started painting on canvas, and the form may have even helped him segue from writing cryptic poems in the street to inventing his own image vocabulary based on opening up his inner child. Tom Forcade, the founder of High Times, by the way, was an influence on Jean’s teen years because Forcade was the most legendary character living downtown in the 1970s. Jean dumped a box of shaving cream on his high school principal, something that might have been inspired by Tom throwing a pie inside Congress during an investigation on pornography a few years earlier. One of Jean’s biggest boosters at the time (Glenn O’Brien) was momentarily Editor of High Times, and wrote the first major article on the new writers like Jean and Fab Five, although no one thinks of Jean as a writer today as he quickly backed away from that scene.


Of all these Xerox artists, Keith Haring was one of the most political, using Burrough’s cut-up technique to rearrange headlines from the rabidly right-wing New York Post to convey shocking messages (left). Haring was also very prolific. Anytime he did something, Keith usually went all-in, and his short-lived Xerox phase was no exception. Kenny Scharf might have been living with Keith at the time, although maybe they were just in school together but he also joined in with his own Xerox art (below).


Vapo Jet is the title of this piece, and it has to be one of the most phallic of all Kenny’s early work. The Fifties mom wearing Jetson-style sunglasses quickly became a recurring archetype in Kenny’s personal iconography. I wonder sometimes if my Xerox art collection is worth anything? None of the pieces are signed and it’s pretty easy to make forgeries, although I’ve never tried.


Keith eventually switched from cutting up Post headlines to inventing his own personal iconography, and that switch took place during the short-lived Xerox art movement. By New Year’s Eve 1980, Keith’s new vocabulary was fully formed (left). Meanwhile, Kenny went to soak up the vibes at Stonehenge that spring and made a color Xerox that shows him with Samantha and Bruno.








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.

Soon after becoming editor, I got a plea from some students living in a dorm at the University of Michigan, asking High Times to come out and rejuvenate the annual event, which had shrunk to a handful of die-hards. I’d recently been introduced to an unpublished manuscript, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, and soon flew out to the valley where Jack lived. I wanted Jack to co-found a new legalization group with me. (NORML was not really interested in rallies at the time, as the images of old hippies created an image problem for them. NORML had also passed on Jack’s manuscript, which he’d offered to let them publish, and thought Jack’s claims were exaggerations.)

Of course, I wanted High Times to publish the book and Jack agreed I was the ideal editor. Jack also agreed to my plan of creating the Freedom Fighters. The idea of wearing tricorner hats as a publicity stunt to draw attention to hemp and away from recreational cannabis use was a big part of my initial vision. It also solved the “image problem” and added a fun element to the rallies. I wanted the Freedom Fighters to march into the rallies in a ceremonial fashion, in an attempt to take the flag back from the right wing. It was a very obvious attempt to flip the switch on the sigils they had been working by claiming the founding fathers as ours. At that first meeting, Jack and I discussed a Hemp Tour across the Midwest, that would start with the Hash Bash in Ann Arbor, and include my ala mater, the University of Illinois, once the center of hemp processing in Illinois, and then home to a very strong NORML chapter led by Debby Goldsberry, (current Freedom Fighter of the Year).

Jack and I created the organization and held our first national convention a day before the next 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?