High Times Greats: Ann Magnuson

Star of stage, screen, and beyond, Ann Magnuson is everywoman.
High Times Greats: Ann Magnuson
Photo by Len Prince

Actress, performance artist, writer, and all-around public figure Ann Magnuson is a founding member of 1980s band Bongwater and has appeared onscreen in such memorable vehicles as The Hunger (1983), Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), and The Man in the High Castle (2018-2019), just to name a few. She transcends labels and defies boundaries, with an indelible presence that is welcome to those in the know. In celebration of Magnuson’s January 4 birthday, we’re republishing Gene Christian’s interview with the living legend from the November, 1994 pages of High Times magazine.

I was a pretty serious pothead in the early high-school years. I remember the first day of my senior year I got very stoned that morning and went to my first class, which was chemistry. The teacher pulled down the periodic-table chart and said, “You will have to memorize all of this information.” I remember thinking, “If I don’t stop smoking pot in school, I will never get out of West Virginia.”

I got to a point where it was making me very paranoid and more introspective than I wanted to be, so I stopped doing it for a very long time. Now, I only do it periodically on very special occasions—like if I’m in a really amazing place or if I’m in a really great mood around really great people. Pot heightens any mood you have. If you’re in a bad mood, it’s a worse mood. If you’re in a good mood, it’s a great mood.

I wrote an article about going to St. Martin in the Caribbean. When I got there, I met some people who were leaving and they gave me their pot. I thought, “Well, this is the perfect place to get stoned.” I got just a little high and went on these amazing trails and unbelievably beautiful beaches, and it was just magnificent. On the way back, this dead lizard was in the middle of the path covered with hundreds of ants, and they were reanimating the dead reptile so that its arms, legs and tail were kinda moving back and forth. It was a very trippy experience and I wrote about it in the article. The magazine was eventually flooded with letters from people who did not appreciate my cavalier attitude about taking on killer weed—the way I talked about it as if I had just had a beer. It was a beautiful situation—somebody left me this pot, and this was a good place to do it. Actually, I like secondary pot-smoke. I have people blow it in my face.

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