Freedom Fighter Reunion; Hash Bash 2017

freedomfighterconventionBack in 1987, the marijuana rally scene had long since faded away, and it wasn’t until a group called the Freedom Fighters appeared that the modern rally scene took off. That’s because in the late 1970s, the media was using smoke-ins to mine images of hippies smoking joints in public, and these images were greatly alarming mainstream America, and were helping turn people against legalization. Because it was so difficult to distinguish hippies from burnt-out drug fiends on looks alone, NORML began a policy of not supporting smoke-ins. It was the birth of what became known as “the suits versus the stoners.”

I thought it was a silly policy by NORML because you can’t have a culture if you don’t congregate and hold ceremonies. So when I got a letter from some students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor saying their legendary Hash Bash founded by John Sinclair was down to less than a dozen die-hards and about to die, I took action by creating the High Times Freedom Fighters. The concept of wearing tri-corner hats and Colonial outfits was to help carry the new message about hemp and our founding fathers, while also costuming the members so that their appearance could not be held against them. The Freedom Fighters became instant magnets at every rally because news crews seek people in colorful costumes. Members were trained to start talking about George Washington and hemp as soon as any cameras were rolling on them.

14753363_10153757053487024_6239109113042836686_oTo encourage participation, members were given pins at every rally they attended and there was even one letter-writing campaign where you could get a pin with a blue Liberty Bell for every response you got from Congress. John Birrenbach gathered so many responses his tricorn became smothered in pins. I didn’t initially realize the implications of what we were doing, but the magic began manifesting on a big scale right away, and the costumes and Betsy Ross flags were certainly helping.

Within two years, the Freedom Fighters became the largest legalization group in the country and only required $15 to get a lifetime membership that included the Freedom Fighter Newsletter edited by Linda Noel, who was the original brains behind the Boston Freedom Rally. From their inception, the Freedom Fighters were wired into my Cannabis Cup, and a member elected by open council to attend the Cup all-expenses paid every year, an honor won by luminaries like Jack Herer and Gatewood Galbraith. It was bizarre when High Times told me to give up the organization saying it conflicted with my editorial duties. I’d amassed a volunteer army of over 10,000 members, and many were enthusiastic supporters pouring immense energy into creating new rallies and other cannabis events all over the country. It was certainly snowballing.

14642352_10154731718660921_9065905013702339237_nThis background is all in the way of announcing a Freedom Fighter reunion at the 2017 Hash Bash. I’ll be looking for a psychedelic bus to take us there, and a site where we can hold a proper ceremony honoring our departed hemp heroes. Jack, Gatewood, Chef Ra, and Tom and Rollie of Rainbow Farm.

We will also be doing inductions for the Pot Illuminati, my replacement for the long defunct Freedom Fighters.

Meet Hemp Myth-Buster Samuel Thayer

5027549581_1cb86fca16Samuel Thayer is a writer on wild edible plants who lives in Wisconsin. The only minor complaint I can find on his two books are they deal mostly with plants found in his area and don’t offer much to those living elsewhere in North America. I haven’t read either book, so I couldn’t say how reliable they are, but judging from his online postings, Thayer is a prolific, dedicated and capable scholar.

Thayer recently started a mission to “expose the hemp hoax” and created a website for this purpose. The major thrust of his site seems to be to paint Jack Herer as a muddled-headed nincompoop. Before going any farther into this controversy, it’s important to note Thayer supports hemp legalization and will not discuss the medicinal aspects of cannabis. He does, however, question some cherished beliefs of the hemp movement and since I helped launch that movement with Jack Herer when we created the Freedom Fighters around 1988, I feel compelled to respond.

jack herer photo by gregory dauer
Photo by Greg Daurer.

Initially, Jack actually asked me to edit the Emperor Wears No Clothes, something I certainly wanted to do at the time, although my company passed on that project. Had I been involved, however, the book probably would have looked a little different. Although I initially got swept up with Jack’s rhetoric, after I was interviewed for a documentary shown in Australia, I began to see potential problems.

In that interview, I’d repeated something Jack had told me: the word “Bangladesh” means “marijuana-land-people.” This was based solely on the fact “bhang” is a name for cannabis in India. But when people living in Bangladesh viewed this documentary, they contacted the media company responsible and complained. In fact, the origins of the names “bengal” and “bangla” are unclear, but the country is largely a construct of the British empire, which redrew borders along religious lines when they officially departed India. But virtually no one living in Bangladesh thinks the name of their country was taken from the word “bhang.”

So I knew there were some errors in Jack’s book. The basic message, however, was sound. The most important question Jack raised was: how come hemp virtually disappeared from the history books?

In the Middle Ages, when this campaign seems to have begun, the explanation was simple: The Roman Catholic Church had forbidden all discussion of the plant, as it was on the official list of substances considered proof of witchcraft. Since cannabis was known as a great healer to many cultures, it’s use was widespread when the Vatican crackdown began, a crackdown that may have coincided with the emergence of a group known as The Society of Smokers, who began writing secular music to celebrate their favorite hobby. At this time, the Vatican looked upon written music as something they should exclusively own and control. Unfortunately, the history of the Society of Smokers has virtually disappeared, although a few of their written songs remain. Rome’s resistance to cannabis may have also caused the plant to disappear from the Bible, even though it seems obvious today the burning bush was cannabis, as was the primary ingredient in the holy anointing oil of the Old Testament.

But just as disturbing, the rich history of cannabis in the United States also disappeared. Was the media campaign demonizing cannabis carefully calculated? Or did it just fall into place by happenstance? I’d suggest that the original master of propaganda, Edward Bernays, helped orchestrate public opinion against cannabis, at the same time he was promoting tobacco use, especially among woman. Could not these two campaigns have gone hand-in-hand to serve similar corporate interests?

Jack drew a line from Hearst to DuPont to Mellon to Anslinger and devised a theory around those associations, but zero evidence was ever uncovered that validated that conspiracy theory. The real story behind prohibition has yet to be uncovered, but would anyone doubt that certain crucial plants were made illegal in order to produce higher profits elsewhere? The East India Company learned how much more profitable opium was once it was outlawed in China.

At this time in history, hemp cannot produce biomass fuel or paper or fiber to compete with current industries. But considering paper mills are spewing dioxin and cotton has immense toxic chemicals applied to it every year, shouldn’t we be trying to develop more environmentally sound alternatives rather than trying to knock them down? We’d have a lot better statistics on the potentials of hemp cultivation if farmers here could actually grow it.

Most points Thayer makes seem like knocking down straw men to me. For example, does any activist care when cannabis was introduced to North America? And what difference does it make whether the Vikings, Pilgrims, or anyone else carried it to this continent? Certainly, once here, hemp was acknowledged as an important crop as the Tuscarora soon took their tribal name (“hemp gatherers”) from this plant, which just shows how important they considered its cultivation and use. The Tuscarora may have been the first tribe to smoke it.

We learned long ago, the Declaration of Independence was written on animal parchment, not hemp. In fact, there never was any controversy over that point or many of the other “hemp myths” Thayer debunks.

All this points to the need for a more scholarly and comprehensive look at hemp and its potential impact. Yes, the hemp movement spouted some silly nonsense in the early days, but most of that has already been acknowledged and revised. And most of the early confusion can be attributed to the dearth of reliable information available.

Jack was not really a scholar by trade, but he did his best to fill the information gap and even though some of his conclusions seem dubious and have since been disputed, today there are houses made of hempcrete and hemp foods on the shelves of every health food store in America. Would this have happened without Jack?

Ok, so some of his rhetoric was not 100% correct, but that’s a job for future scholars to sort out. Jack is no longer here to defend himself, or he’d be at the library right now dissecting every point Thayer makes, but I’m sure he’d give ground if more recent and reliable studies proved him wrong on some points. But that doesn’t mean hemp isn’t an important crop that needs to be brought back into cultivation. And one thing I learned about science: it can easily be colored by politics. So just as some activists exaggerate hemp’s potential, the prohibitionists keep busy exaggerating its dangers. There are lies, damn lies and statistics.

Meanwhile, one of the world’s most useful plants remains illegal. And anyone who really cares about plants must realize prohibition is a farce and always has been.

The Truth about the Tree of Life

Vatican_obeliskOne of the most powerful icons at the Vatican is the Egyptian obelisk brought to Rome by Emperor Galus, known today by his hated childhood nickname, Caligula, which means “little boot” in Latin. History is written by the winners and just as the Spanish Borgias were savaged by the Italian rivals replacing them, so has Caligula been tarnished by the assassins who took his place.

Did anyone tell you Caligula ended persecution of religion in Rome and allowed the Eastern traditions back into the city to re-build their temples? He also founded a parade to Isis that quickly became one of Rome’s favorite annual ceremonies, held every March 5th. Isis was adored by the common people because she represented eternal life, having brought the dead Osiris back to life through her mastery of essential plant oils. Most Jewish and Christian myths were built on top of previous Egyptian ones, a trail of ceremonial tradition and myth that stretches back deep into the darkness of pre-history.

These myths first emerge in written form in Sumer, present-day Iraq, which is where the Garden of Eden first manifests in history, although the myth likely existed for centuries as a verbal tradition. And the magic sigil representing the Garden of Eden was the Tree of Knowledge, which also became known as the Tree of Life.

I don’t know why, but there’s been a tremendous effort to establish this as a reference to a mushroom? Tree…Mushroom…? Sorry, I can’t swallow that disinfo and I firmly believe the Tree of Life is cannabis. This was the central debate Jack Herer and I had for decades, almost from the moment we met as I’d already become convinced Soma from the Rig Veda was cannabis before I met Jack, while he always believed the lie spread by J. P. Morgan’s Vice President Gordon Wasson that Soma was Amanita Muscaria.

tree+of+life+EgyptHere’s an early Egyptian depiction of the Tree of Life. Notice it creates either a seed oil or some sort of resin pouring into a bowl? Cannabis would have been known not just as a great source of food and seed oil, (and the best source of rope), but also a source of medicine and incense. Cannabis was probably the main ingredient in kyphi.

According to Plutarch, the Temple of Isis burned frankincense at dawn, myrrh at noon, at kyphi at sunset. And what plant do you think would have produced the most powerful incense after frankincense and myrrh? Why do those two resins come down through history without any confusion, while cannabis seems to have disappeared (or been purposely misidentified)? Many shamanic secrets were likely not depicted too close to reality in order to maintain a priesthood monopoly on ceremonial wisdom. So while I believe the Tree of Life is cannabis, I also believe depictions of the plant have been purposely coded and mystified simply because cannabis is the Queen of the Healing Plants and holds more power than any other plant. And to make matters even more difficult, there seem to have been serious attempts over the centuries to muddy these waters even further.

Tree-rescan-100dpiHere’s an earlier, Sumerian depiction of the Tree of Knowledge. You’ll notice the fruit of the tree contains seven segments or divisions and although this highly-stylized drawing looks nothing like a cannabis plant, the seven segments of the fruit may be a crucial clue to the plant’s real identity, as cannabis is famous for having seven fronds.

So seven may sometimes be a reference to cannabis, which would have been known to ancient healers as the number-one wonder medicine available. Seven can also be a reference to the seven chakras, the energy centers of the body. And wouldn’t you know, there’s an elemental power of cannabis that effects every chakra? So ask yourself: if knowledge of cannabis as an essential medicine for healing was known 3,000 years ago, why has it taken so long for this wisdom to re-emerge? Could it be there’s a force that doesn’t want people to have contact with this friendly, non-toxic medicine that can also open third eyes and raise telepathic energies while harmonizing cultures? Why has so much energy been raised to divert people away from user-friendly cannabis to more tricky and mind-bending mushrooms?

Tree+of+life+India+(wood+spirit)Here is the Tree of Life in the Indian tradition. Notice they collect some sort of harvest into a bowl.

So Caligula brought back the worship of Isis to Rome and the two major icons or sigils from her temple (the obselisk and the pine cone fountain) ended up being co-opted by the Vatican and are still in ceremonial use today.

And somewhere deep inside the Vatican perhaps some ancient documents exist explaining how to use cannabis for healing and illumination, documents that will likely never see the light of day.

(Excerpted from my book, Magic, Religion & Cannabis, click link below the video to order.)

Birth and Death of the Freedom Fighters

FFsteveI started a goof column called “My Amerika by Ed Hassle” when I first came to High Times, a tribute to my favorite deejay at the time, Bill Kelly, who’s Sunday afternoon radio show had become my favorite weekly ceremony, inspiring me to form my own band, The Soul Assassins.

Bill would read from the Weekly World News, including a right wing column called Ed Anger’s My America. Since hippies are considered the lamest thing possible in New York City (then and now), I parodied that redneck columnist by creating a hippie fascist who believed in UFO’s and was always pissed off about something. Of course, a huge segment of my audience thought Ed Hassle was a real person and agreed with all his hippie fascist ideas (just like many readers of the Weekly World News never realized Ed Anger was comedy). Ed Hassle founded the first national hemp legalization group, The Freedom Fighters. Members got an ID card and instruction manual that included where to go for the next rally and campground and how to dress for the event. All members were encouraged to bring Colonial costumes and carry drums or musical instruments or flags. Anything to make a more theatrical appearance.

The first Freedom Fighter rally was held at the Ann Arbor Hash Bash, where I revealed to the puzzled membership there was no Ed Hassle. Funny thing, a lot of them assumed it was really the magazine’s most famous columnist at the time, Ed Rosenthal. When I’d first discussed making a cartoon character for the column, I told Flick Ford to make him look like “Ed Rosenthal on acid with long hair and dressed like a typical deadhead.” So I probably created the confusion. But when Jack Herer signed on to become one of the founding members, I dropped the Ed Hassle character from the magazine entirely and published a one-page interview with me, where I revealed the truth and cleared up the misconceptions about the Freedom Fighters’ origins. Because what had started as a goof, had suddenly transformed into a dynamic political movement. That’s when I became a target of a few people in the establishment media, who claimed I was creating a dangerous cult similar to Hitler’s stormtroopers? All I knew was I had a tiger by the tail.

The Freedom Fighters were heavily influenced by the Rainbow Family Gatherings and the first place we assembled was the Hash Bash in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A local member, Thom, found us a campground and we set-up Rodger’s giant tipi, which had arrived from West Virginia in the Purple Bus. Chef RA and I ran the 24-hour free kitchen in shifts. We held council at 4:20 PM and also during breakfast and dinner. On the morning of the rally, most of us climbed in the Purple Bus for the ride into town. I often led the parade and carried the loudest drum, a tom-tom from my precious vintage 1960s drum kit used by the Soul Assassins.

I had no idea I was a budding shaman at the time, but looking at the photos, you can see the transformation. I was wearing a lot of psychedelic images and patching my jeans with psychedelic patches. A tricorn hat, moccasins and sunglasses completed the ceremonial outfit.

FFtogetherI always made a lot of psychedelic signs at the campground and carried a homemade bag around my waist with water-based paints and brush. I learned about customizing my environment from Kenny Scharf (and the Merry Pranksters), and I learned about the power of instant signs with sigils from Rainbow. First thing I’d do is make an elaborate recycling center in a central location. It made a huge impression to see such a lavishly decorated art installation that also served such a useful function. This center always had a free box, where anyone could drop off or pick up anything, a good place to share vital supplies. Of course, the cops would always show up and camp close by, despite the wickedly cold nighttime temperatures. We had tents and a tipi, while they had a lavish RV. Other spooks, however, were no doubt embedded inside our group.

But that was the magic of Rainbow. Everything was so open and loving it didn’t matter if someone was a spook! In fact, some suspected spooks were among the hardest working Rainbows! I’d always make a point of making friends with anyone I suspected of being an undercover. Undercovers sent into the Rainbow Gathering were just as likely to get zapped by the vibes and flip into Rainbow Family people as anyone else.

So that’s how I set up the Freedom Fighters. Everything was open and loving and nobody expressed any negative energy about anything within the group, which was devoid of machinations or power struggles. It was the people on the outside who created the problems. The Freedom Fighters reached a crisis point when someone on the outside sent a letter threatening the President and called themselves a Freedom Fighter too, which initiated a Secret Service investigation of my group, even though we were expressly non-violent and forbade weapons at all our events. The state leader in Georgia resigned after his home was broken into and all membership information removed. There were other incidents, including a break-in at my apartment. At the same time, the government launched a huge assault on the magazine’s advertisers, known as Operation Green Merchant. Paranoia abounded.

In three years, the Freedom Fighters accomplished a lot. The rallies we manifested became the biggest political events of our time and I’d amassed one of the largest mailing lists in the movement. But my company grew unhappy with the organization, so I gave the mailing list to NORML and that was the end of the Freedom Fighters and the end of my career as a political activist. I stopped organizing political events and started organizing ceremonies.

Some day I hope the Freedom Fighters hold a reunion.

The first Rainbow Gathering 420 ceremony

imagesI first met Jack Herer at a NORML conference in Washington, DC. There really wasn’t much of a chance for us to connect there since Jack and John Sajo were working hard on their initiative in Oregon. So shortly after I returned to New York City, and Jack returned to LA, I booked a ticket to visit him to share a vision I’d had after reading an early and brief version of The Emperor Wears No Clothes.

We met at a plush house with a pool in the back. This was not Jack’s pad, but something much more polished. We sat around the pool while I ran my tape recorder and went through Jack’s life story in 45 minutes or so. Then we moved back into the kitchen to smoke a joint and drink some ice tea.

While in the kitchen, I unhatched my scheme. I needed Jack to join the hemp legalization group I’d created through a cartoon character named Ed Hassle. What started as a goof, had suddenly morphed into a viable foundation for a national hemp movement. Using my background in improvisational ritual theater, I’d already had a vision of people marching for hemp freedom, led by a Colonial-style fife and drum corps wearing tricorn hats and flying American flags. Because the founding fathers were hemp farmers and recognized the strategic value of hemp, we needed to take back these symbols from the right wing, who had commandeered them unfairly for propaganda purposes. “I need you as a leader in The Freedom Fighters,” I told Jack. “By dressing up in Paul Revere outfits, we’re more likely to get on the television news, and if we get interviewed, we can talk about the history of hemp in America.”

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 12.43.52 PMNORML didn’t support rallies at the time, mostly because news photos of ragtag hippies didn’t project a suitable image for forging a broad-based pro-marijuana coalition. There was always somewhat of a divide between the Grateful Dead clan, epitomized by Jack, and the more conservative faction, some of whom were lawyers and felt the hippie era was over. I was willing to work with both sides, but bringing back mass rallies was key if we were going to educate the nation quickly about hemp saving the world.

I had a two-pronged plan: 1) Jack needed to go to the Rainbow Family Gathering with me. The Rainbow Family had already accepted marijuana as a legitimate sacrament, even though it’s use was not permitted near Felipe’s Kid Village. I’d recently gone to the Minnesota National (in 1990), and been zapped. My entire world view turned around as I realized the ideals of the 1960s were alive and we could live in a world without violence, if only for a few weeks a year. The gathering was the perfect place to incubate an environmental awakening around hemp.

2) We needed to attend the Hash Bash in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which was the last surviving great pot rally from the late 1960s. But the Hash Bash had dwindled down to a dozen die-hards, and they were worried the event was about to become extinct. Not only did we need to rebuild the Hash Bash, but we needed to bring back all the other Big Ten pot rallies in the neighboring states. “We’ll call it The Hemp Tour.” Some of this conversation ended up on that audio tape, so I plan to dig that out someday and transcribe it so I can prove these facts.

The Freedom Fighters rolled into the Vermont gathering in full force, but tensions in the camp prevented harmony and Jack didn’t attend far as I remember. The next national Rainbow Gathering was in Colorado and held at a very high elevation, and there was a long, uphill march to the site, followed by a long down hill march. I got pretty tired on the way in, because I pitched camp midway to main circle, on a ridge overlooking the entire gathering. I put my tent up in a small patch of trees and started erecting signs and flags. Jack trailed in near dark with about seven people in tow, none of whom carried camping gear or even a warm coat. Once it got really dark, they started wondering how they were going to survive the night. I suggested they keep close to the fire. Meanwhile, Jack had a huge medical emergency that started with something he ate and just escalated from there. He’d forgotten to bring his ulcer pills but didn’t provide that essential info to any of the CALM healers for around 48 hours, so nobody could figure out why he was in so much pain. I ended up taking a hit of acid just to stay up all night to help take care of him. It was just me and another brother feeding the fire to keep Jack’s entourage from freezing to death.

Since our location was right on the trail, and my psychedelic signs were effective, we drew some huge audiences to our daily 420 ceremonies and took advantage of the natural amphitheater that had initially attracted me to the spot. One brother saw my 420 sign coming in and got really excited. I guess he was from Marin county, because he said he wanted to name his tea kitchen 420 and encourage people to gather there to smoke pot, but was worried that might conflict with our own ceremony. “That’s ok,” I assured him. “Just let people know Jack Herer and Steve Hager are doing a 420 ceremony here every day. The major part of this ceremony was a sermon on hemp by Jack, who was still working on polishing his hemp rap. I’d already developed my approach, which was cannabis was the sacrament of peace culture, and 420 represented our holiday, one for celebrating non-violence.

When the Freedom Fighters marched into the Diag at the University of Michigan that year, Jack and I were all dressed up in our tricorn hats. Dozens of people had already joined our fledging organization due to full-page ads in High Times and the Freedom Fighters were all dressed up in amazing costumes. I saw Steve DeAngelo standing on the steps as we paraded in, flags unfurled and drums beating. He was beaming and later would tell me our entrance was the best moment of political street theater he’d seen in decades. The Diag ceremony happened at high noon, so we always had to find an alternative site for our 4:20 ceremonies.

Here’s some little known history of 420 ceremonies: They started with the Waldos in 1971, and passed to the next generation in Marin County, where April 20th ceremonies on Mt. Tam at 4:20 PM occurred for three years before park rangers shut down that ceremony. But from 1992 until at least 1998, I was the only person I know of who was advocating and organizing 420 ceremonies. And I was promoting these ceremonies everywhere I went and through every event I created, including: The Cannabis  Cup, Whee, and the Freedom Fighter rallies.

After I got so involved with these events and activities, I voluntarily departed my post as Editor-in-Chief and moved back to my Upper West Side apartment to concentrate on events and video. That’s when a dude named Mike Edison was moved in to run High Times. Only Edison was given a lot more authority than I’d ever had and swiftly became both publisher and editor.

But I could never have a conversation with Edison as he would never stop talking. Didn’t matter what subject might come up, Edison was expert in all things. He started like a kid in a candy store with all that power, but it swiftly eroded because he alienated the entire staff. That’s when I was brought back as his “adviser.” But my advice was something he could never tolerate. I couldn’t get him to agree with a single story idea of mine and when I brought in the real story of who’d created 420, Edison refused to admit I had uncovered the truth.

When he later wrote a revenge book to assassinate my character, he’d claim that I “suppressed all other stories on the origins of 420, while taking it to cult-like extremes.” Now that quote has been used to promote the sales of his book, which got terrible reviews and sold few copies. Yes, when the truth arrives, it tends to “suppress” the disinfo tales. That’s what the truth is supposed to do. And if Edison had understood anything about making a successful company, he would have understood it happens through cooperation and mutual respect and building harmony, not by one dude bossing everyone around with his brilliant ideas.

If Jack Herer was alive, he’d tell the true story about the origins of the hemp movement and how we spread 420 ceremonies because he’s the only one who was with me on that mission from the start. What I find so strange is how few people in the movement ever acknowledge my participation in any of these events. And how my side of the story never seems to make it into the mass media, which is constantly being filled with bogus stories about 420 every year. And how Edison’s bullshit quote ends up on wikipedia to belittle my role in this history.

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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?

Something Heavy Went Down in Jerusalem

Every now and then, something really heavy goes down in the telepathic energy fields we call spirituality or magic, since they’re both the same thing. I noticed that in the mid-1960s. Although I’d been raised in the Lutheran faith, I rejected Christianity at the age of 14 and never looked back. In my quest to uncover the real meaning of life, I began experimenting with cannabis and LSD, after which I was never the same, as these substances helped deprogram me. Soon, I had a whole new field of sigils cooking in my psyche, one of the most important of which was the Prankster Magic Bus Furthur.

Since these sacraments had a profoundly positive effect, helping to strip away years of brainwashing, I could see why they were so prohibited. Something heavy went down in California in the 1960s, and a lot of the New Age cults (like Scientology) got their start off that energy, yet broke the cannabis connection almost immediately. I remember reading Tom Wolfe’s account of the Merry Pranksters. Wolfe was a Yale grad, a real oligarchy insider who could never connect with a scene so steeped in new telepathic energies, so he just made fun of hippie spirituality because those energies never reached his soul. But there was something real and heavy going on, even if Wolfe couldn’t make contact. Just like something heavy went down in old Jerusalem.

Did you ever consider cannabis was the spark of both spiritual revolutions? I remember when I first met Jack Herer. He was obsessed with decoding the Bible, a trick he’d recently learned from reading John Allegro’s work. Jack would read a verse from the Old Testament, and then explain how it was really just a code for an old priest about to sodomize a young initiate. I never got into this research because I view the Bible as science fiction anyway, so why would I pay much attention to any of its possible underlying meanings?

I wonder, though, why haven’t some Muslim activists taken Allegro’s work and made a YouTube video about the potential spiritual corruption embedded in Judaism and Christianity?

Funny thing about the spiritual revolutions of both Jesus and Johnny Griggs: one took place 2,000 years ago, and the other took place nearly 50 years ago,  but they both could have easily been ignited by cannabis. And somewhere along the line, the corrupt priesthoods (because all power centers start corrupt or corrupt over time) broke this link between cannabis and this great spiritual awakening and the two sides have been at war ever since. And it wasn’t until my generation that massive amounts of young people began slipping off the mind control orchestrated by that corrupt priesthood. And it all started with cannabis, rock’n’roll and Jack Kerouac.

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