By Steve Bloom
My longtime High Times colleague, former senior editor Steve Wishnia, has reviewed a book - Dean Kuipers' Burning Rainbow Farm: How a Stoner Utopia Went Up in Smoke - that's very close to his heart. From 1996 to 2000, Steve attended many events at Michigan's Rainbow Farm, which had a close association with High Times. Sadly, state official targeted the 34-acre property owned by Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm, harassing festival attendees and in May 2001, raiding it for tax evasion and pot cultivation. Several months later, in a armed showdown with the authorites, Crosslin and Rohm were viciously gunned down.
"I connected to it immediately when I went to Hemp Aid in 1999," Wishnia writes in his review at inthesetimes.com. "Coming from the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I recognized a fellow low-rent counterculture community, a blessed find when my own was being crushed by a ruthless real-estate market and paramilitary evictions. Marijuana was central, but passing the spliff was often more about bonding than intoxication. Being able to burn one openly was liberating [especially coming from Rudy Giuliani’s New York, which led the nation in petty pot busts], but once you left the gates, the descending paranoia was palpable."