High Times Greats: Ed Rosenthal

From 1984 comes an in-depth discussion with the man who literally wrote the book on marijuana cultivation.
High Times Greats: Ed Rosenthal
Ed Rosenthal by Glenn Demerest

For the May, 1984 issue of High Times, Larry Sloman and George Barkin interviewed Ed Rosenthal, who generously shared the experiences, opinions and insights of an indefatigable cannabis researcher. On the occasion of Rosenthal’s birthday September 15, we’re republishing the interview below.

The Sultan of Smoke, they call him: the Maharishi of Mota, the Burbank of Boo and a host of other alliterative titles which testify that Ed Rosenthal is the man who made American marijuana the best marijuana in the whole wide world. It was Rosenthal who brought the garden to the serpents, as it were, when in 1977 he coauthored The Marijuana Growers Guide with Mel Frank. Before that, “homegrown” and “domestic” had been synonymous with “ditch-weed” and “rope dope.” But within a couple harvest seasons after the Growers Guide appeared, America was greening exuberantly (if surreptitiously) from coast to coast. Hippiebillies deep in the boonies of the Cascades, the Blue Ridge and the Siskiyous were bringing up pedigreed Siamese and Himalayan cultivars that put the traditional foreign imports to the wall. Nobody remembers Acapulco Gold anymore, do they? Well, that’s the accomplishment of Ed Rosenthal.

Nowadays, Ed’s devoting an increasing amount of time and energy to public service. He’s working strenuously to negotiate cohesion among the numerous squabbling free-the-weed political groups on the West Coast, and flies frequently to Washington to testify before Congress about the insanity of current official drug policies, and the economic boom that would proceed from a sensible system of marijuana taxation and regulation.

This man deserves a forum to sprawl around in, not just the few meager pages he gets every month for his “Ask Ed” column. So we sat him down and got him on tape for this issue.

High Times: When did you first start smoking pot?

Ed Rosenthal: I first started in 1966. I had tried it a couple of times in 1965 but I never got high. Then in 1966 I bought a lid and I smoked it with my roommate in college.

I knew as soon as I got high that this was an ally of mine in the same way Carlos Castaneda spoke about little smoke or big smoke being an ally. And that this was really a good friend of mine, and by the second purchase that I made I was a dealer. I started dealing.

High Times: What do you mean when you say that the pot was a “friend” of yours?

Rosenthal: I have such an affinity for being high, for that state. That almost is my normal state of consciousness, or felt that it should be. So the pot becomes an ally. I learned to work on it, play on it, and somebody once said that pot wakes me up in the morning and puts me to sleep at night. Basically, I live my life to be high. It happened twenty years ago.

High Times: You were never able to obtain that state previously, without smoking pot? That highness?

Rosenthal: Well, psychedelics… I think marijuana is a mild psychedelic and I had had a very unhappy childhood and adolescence. I had gone through therapy and things, but through my teens and early twenties I still suffered periodic states of depression. First, marijuana helped me to get out of myself and see what was going on, helped me to put everything in perspective in a way many, many, many hours and many, many, many thousands of dollars of therapy hadn’t done. In 1967 I came back to New York where I went to a be-in in Central Park and Abbie Hoffman was onstage—he jumped down from the stage and started handing out acid and said to me, really impersonally, as he had been for thousands of others, “Wanna trip?” and I said, “Yes,” and he put a tab on my tongue and I swallowed it and went through a most powerful experience. I went through a really horrible experience. All the shit and all the negativity that had accumulated all my life started coming out. I didn’t say, “This is a bad trip, this is terrible, this is terrible.” I realized what was going on. It wasn’t the acid or anything—it was what was in my own head that was coming out. Shortly after that I never suffered from depression again. I really learned to control my state of consciousness.

High Times: A lot of people smoke pot, but what led you to make it become your life’s work, your business?

Rosenthal: I think everyone should live their fantasies. Most people don’t like what they do for a living and I’ve always tried to vocationalize my advocations.

High Times: You’ve traveled all across the world searching out the various ways of cultivation. Where have you seen marijuana growing?

Rosenthal: Throughout the United States. That’s actually where I’ve seen the most. Maybe not in quantity but at least in operation. Then, I was to India, to Morocco, Amsterdam, Spain, Colombia… I was in Colombia for a day. I did a consulting job down there.

High Times: What do you mean, “consulting job”?

Rosenthal: These people had a field that was suffering from some problems and they consulted me to try to find out what the problems were and to try and correct them.

High Times: Were you successful?

Rosenthal: I don’t know—I never got to see the field a second time.

High Times: In which area did you find the best pot?

Rosenthal: The best pot is in the United States. There is no doubt about it. American growers really understand marijuana, the plant, more than any other cultivators. Of course, it’s the difference between the first-world and third-world countries because most of the other growing places are third-world countries, and in Europe they’re really ten years behind us in cultivation in general.

High Times: Also, the cultivators here tend to be in more cases users, than, for example, in South America. There they’re just growing it for an export group.

Rosenthal: Mostly. And in India, I’ve got a feeling that perhaps the farmers used it but the processors didn’t. The retailers do.

High Times: When you’re in Morocco or Colombia, how are you perceived by growers of other nationalities? Are you perceived as an American El Exigente or are you perceived as a cannabis researcher?

Rosenthal: I’m taken very seriously and I’m very well respected.

High Times: Do you get hassled a lot by authorities?

Rosenthal: When I went to India I wanted to see the Legal Fields. We were on the train and we looked out the window and there are these pot fields, and I went to the people who were there and asked what town this was. They said Khandwa. So we went to the Department of Agriculture. I walked in and said, “You have marijuana fields growing in Khandwa and I would like to go see them. What procedure do I follow?” They said there is no ganja growing in Khandwa, there’s no ganja growing in Madhy Pradesh. I said, “Oh, no, I saw it and I know that it’s growing there.” So they called the Department of Agriculture in Khandwa and they said, “Oh, yes, yes.” They said that it wasn’t under their jurisdiction, that it was under the jurisdiction of the Excise Tax Department. But anyway, they wrote a letter to the Department of Agriculture.

Then I arrived in Khandwa… Meanwhile, I had copies of my book and I’m showing them, and as soon as I pulled out the book, you know, this is serious, an American scientist is here. That’s the kind of reaction I got. So the next day a convoy of four vehicles drove up. And they pulled us into the jeeps, and we went first to the processing plant and then to visit the fields and then we came back from the fields. I asked if we could pick. They said, “Sure, go ahead, pick anything you want.” So here was this field with all kinds of plants, mixed seeds, and they said to just take anything. So we got down enough for our needs the next couple of weeks. Well, we didn’t cut down the plants, we just took the nicest buds. They were beautiful buds.

And the next day when we were in our hotel room, we hear this knock on the door. The door just opens—it was like a raid, only it was the excise guy and he had come to bring us dope. He had a handful of dope that he gave to us—which was the first and last time a government agent ever brought me dope.

High Times: Do the cultivation methods in Morocco differ from those in West Virginia, stuff like that?

Rosenthal: Yeah, they do. Most people in America, because of the political and the unprotected situation therein, tend to grow very big plants. Several big plants or, in other words, they put a lot of work into the individual plant. In other parts of the world for the most part sinsemilla is not grown. People grow the way they would grow corn or any other field crop. In India maybe they grow them three feet apart, the rows are three feet apart, and spaced out about a foot apart in each row. In Morocco they grow maybe fifteen to twenty to thirty plants per square foot. There it just comes up as a stalk. There have been pictures of it in High Times.

High Times: What are your feelings about hash?

Rosenthal: Well, hash usually comes from the thirtieth parallel. As High Times readers know, the thirtieth parallel has a heterogeneous grouping of plants so that it will survive under a variety of environments, so hash can be very varied. Some people swear by hash, and to them that’s it, but me, I much prefer a sativa, cannabis.

High Times: Why is that? Because of the variable quality of it?

Rosenthal: I think that different varieties of grass give you different highs. “R” talked about that a lot. Those different varieties, those different heads, different people prefer different heads. Although “R” exaggerates it, he is correct that a sativa head is like this soaring high, a very psychedelic type of head, and that the Afghanis tend to be more down.

High Times: Do you think that’s a cultural predisposition? Do you think that most Americans like the get-up-and-go of sativa?

Rosenthal: No. I think that most Americans like to be drunk. I think that there are a few individuals who really do like that sort of head, but I think that most Americans like Afghani.

High Times: Why isn’t hash more popular?

Rosenthal: It’s too hard to light and you can’t put it in a cigarette. If you put it in a joint you burn your clothes.

High Times: Let’s backtrack. Let’s go back to when you were in college. You said that the second time you smoked pot you immediately started dealing.

Rosenthal: Yeah, the first time I bought a lid, the second time I bought a half-pound.

High Times: Was that because you were an entrepreneur? Did you say, “Wow, this is a great way to make money and have fun.”?

Rosenthal: I think I felt more like a missionary.

High Times: This is around 1966?

Rosenthal: By 1967 I dropped out of school.

High Times: So everything they say about marijuana is true.

Rosenthal: The reason I dropped out of school was because I had gotten my 1-A for the draft, which meant I was prime meat. Then I went to work at a series of straight jobs, like on Wall Street. I had always wanted to work on Wall Street.

High Times: Really, why?

Rosenthal: It was fascinating. Here were for sale these things which had no tangible value, except what people wanted to pay for them. They weren’t really worth anything. They were only worth what people thought they were worth. So that became a really good, interesting time. I became an assistant compliance officer who takes care of in-house enforcement of the FCC Rules and Regulations. So I was doing that for a while. Then I got fired.

High Times: You were an internal cop for Wall Street.

Rosenthal: Yes.

High Times: And you were smoking pot at the same time?

Rosenthal: Yes. You’ve heard of the Stock Exchange, and then there’s the over-the-counter market, well, I was running the under-the-counter market. Once my supervisor came in… I mean, I had this brown bag with me and he said, “What’s that?” I said, “My lunch.” Then he opens it up and sees a plastic bag with pot in it and says, “Don’t bring lunch to work.”

High Times: So you left Wall Street by when?

Rosenthal: 1969. I started making candles. Then somewhere around that time I moved back to the Bronx to a six-room apartment and I started growing dope in one of the rooms. That led via a natural evolution to my sitting here today.

High Times: What compelled you to do that?

Rosenthal: When I was a kid I had always wanted to be a plant scientist and a writer. I was really into plants. I used to take classes at the Botanical Gardens and so it was just natural for me to grow these plants if I had the room. So I started growing them and I knew very little about it and there were no books on it. Actually, there were a couple, but one of the books, I don’t know if I still have it. It was written by this guy who had given his whole life story. He had been in the army, then he smoked pot, he saw the errors of his ways and got a discharge and was growing pot in his apartment on the Lower East Side and he had filled this whole room with soil and was growing… All you had to do was put a foot of soil in your room, but I decided to grow it in pots instead.

I had these fluorescent lights and I didn’t know about buds, so I was smoking leaf primarily. And this stuff is getting me so high and everybody else who lived in the apartment house was getting high. Everybody was living off my harvesting a few of these leaves every day. I mean, we were really getting wiped out.

High Times: But you were supporting yourself with your candles?

Rosenthal: Yes. Then I thought growing was so great, so I cleaned up my room, got rid of the pot and decided to sell greenhouses to grow pot. So that’s what I did. I started selling indoor greenhouses for growing marijuana. I would come and install it in your home, everything but the seed.

That was how I met Mel Frank, we were both interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine, and we decided to write a book in six weeks about it, and a year later we came up with the book, and that was the Indoor-Outdoor Marijuana Growers Catalog, and from then on after the book was published we started taking it more seriously.

High Times: What year is this now?

Rosenthal: 1972-’73 we started getting into it. We went down to the University of Mississippi and met Carlton Turner who is now the drug-policy adviser for the federal government. But at that time he was running the Mississippi Project—the dope-farm contract to the government. Turner turned us on to the Mississippi bibliographies of all of the different scientific papers on pot which had been published in the years 1968 to 1972, ’74. We bought that. We were able to decide what scientific papers we wanted to read and put together a synthesis of their information and our information and develop some theories about it. From that came the Growers Guide.

High Times: What kind of guy is Turner?

Rosenthal: New South. He is an example of the soft machine and I think he’s way over his head.

High Times: What do you mean by “soft machine”?

Rosenthal: Well, it’s a fascist mentality clothed in gentle words and seeming reasonableness. I think perhaps the Bill of Rights doesn’t mean as much to people in the South.

High Times: Do you think they’re like Anslingerarian-type wolves in sheep’s clothing? Do you think there is a continuity?

Rosenthal: Yes, I think that even though individual members in this group may not be bigoted, I think there are certain key words and code words which are really words that bigots recognize. Just the same way that every Republican presidential candidate always makes some nasty antiblack slip—it’s just to let the bigots know they’re with ’em—it’s no slip at all. They have these code words and people understand them, and I think that their real feeling is that there are certain people that are undesirable. Like pieces of shit that won’t flush down the toilet. These people that we need laws to control, and whatever laws we need to control these people and this mentality we’ll use. That’s how the drug laws came to be and that’s how they still exist. Most High Times readers are classed in that category. Even if they stopped smoking pot the government wouldn’t like them because of the way they think. They are independents, they are unwilling to be wards of the state.

High Times: What happened to the psychedelic revolution?

Rosenthal: It’s still going on, it’s just not going on in the big cities because the rents are too high. More acid, more mushrooms are sold every year than ever before.

High Times: Do you see marijuana as effecting change in people’s attitudes or has it just become a totally hedonistic thing?

Rosenthal: I think that people are still changing through pot and we don’t even realize that as we look back at changes over the last thirty years, our society has changed tremendously. Twenty years ago an unmarried woman and an unmarried man, even if they were just roommates, people would talk.

High Times: What is the most overrated pot you ever smoked?

Rosenthal: I think a lot of the early Mexicans were overrated.

High Times: You mean stuff like Acapulco Gold.

Rosenthal: A lot of them are overrated. Then there’s the “mystery pot”—I never actually had Panama Red. After all these years we’ve heard about it, how many people have actually smoked Panama Red? It’s a fable to me. I’d like to see it.

High Times: What pot gave you the best for your potsmoking dollar?

Rosenthal: Wacky Weed. The fabled New York Wacky Weed. Boy, that stuff sure was psychedelic. I wish I had some seed.

High Times: Do you ever smoke any commercial?

Rosenthal: I don’t like the Colombians coming in now so I don’t smoke them. But I smoke some of the new Mexican and Mexican sinses and they are very reasonably priced. Colombian has a real problem. The quality of the pot is going down. They don’t really seem to care.

High Times: Do you talk to your marijuana plants?

Rosenthal: It’s illegal to cultivate plants in California but I will say this, they’re more fun to grow than tomatoes.

High Times: Is there any degree of spiritual communion between you and your plants?

Rosenthal: Sometimes I think that maybe I’m an agent of the marijuana plant come here to help run the world. I have thought that.

High Times: There he goes. When you talk to your plants do you feel any communion? Do you think plants have a consciousness?

Rosenthal: No. I don’t think that plants have the kind of learning ability or the genetic ability to express themselves the way we do. I don’t think talking to a plant or playing it music is gonna help.

High Times: You don’t.

Rosenthal: I do think proper nutritional health is important.

High Times: And you don’t think along the lines of some of the Rastafarians or some of the more mystical thinkers—that God puts plants here for the spiritual enlightenment of man?

Rosenthal: Well, let me tell you a few things about cannabis. To many groups of people cannabis was the plant that helped them make the transition from a herding, nomadic society to an agricultural society, and that’s still going on today. The pygmies grow only one plant, cannabis, and with that plant they made the transition from a nomadic society to an agricultural society, so this tends to be replayed many, many times.

High Times: In what way? I don’t understand.

Rosenthal: Well, in a nomadic society you just travel all over. Well, if you start planting something, then you have to start caring for it, right?

High Times: So why do they plant? What’s the motivation?

Rosenthal: They sell it. They smoke it and they sell it to the other tribes.

High Times: You’re out of your mind. Have you ever bought pot from a pygmy?

Rosenthal: No, I’ve never been there.

High Times: Let’s talk about marijuana activism. The political side of Ed.

Rosenthal: Well, I’ll tell you how it started. I was vacationing in Florida in 1971 and I met these college kids who were making bongs, and they made a bong for me as a going-away gift. We had all tripped the night before on this acid and it was really incredible—very beautiful, so they gave me this bong and we smoked one toke each out of it and started hitchhiking back to New York City and got busted in Bowling Green, Virginia, for hitchhiking. And then they open my suitcase and find this bong and they busted me for residue and a pipe. It cost me $500 and two trips back to Virginia. I’m sure that if it weren’t for that I wouldn’t have had any interaction with the law.

High Times: That was a real radicalizing experience.

Rosenthal: Yes.

High Times: Were you brutalized by the police?

Rosenthal: No, but at the end the cop wanted to shake my hand, after the trial. You know, “No hard feelings, son,” and I said, “You’re a pig.”

Right in that time frame NORML had its first conference, which was the first people’s pot conference, and this was the only real… legitimate activist conference. It was great. It was held in the basement of a church and people were camping out. I had been asked to come down and give a speech on cultivation.

High Times: By who?

Rosenthal: Keith Stroup.

High Times: This was before your book came out.

Rosenthal: It was before the book, but while I was making indoor greenhouses.

High Times: That’s how Stroup had heard of you?

Rosenthal: Yes, I had been in Rolling Stone, so I went down there and then I met Mike Aldrich at the conference and he said, “Come out to California, we’re having a ’72 initiative.”

So I decided to go to California. At this conference I made a speech on marijuana cultivation and it was very, very well accepted and I knew from that that people were into it. By this time we were still working on the book. I went out to California to work on the initiative.

High Times: Through the years you have been known as a gadfly in the marijuana movement. You’ve had great disagreements with NORML and the marijuana establishment. Can you briefly highlight some of your disagreements?

Rosenthal: First of all, I wouldn’t call NORML the marijuana establishment; I think they’re not really in the center at all.

High Times: What do you think of Stroup?

Rosenthal: I think that he started an organization, and in order to keep control of it, because it was getting successful, he decided to sacrifice the organization for himself, and in other words, they needed professional people in there but they had never gotten professional organizers to do anything. They have amateurs and then they train them and then they go on. Same as the Yippies do, and they never really tried to make it into a mass-movement organization.

High Times: I don’t think they ever wanted it to be a mass-movement organization.

Rosenthal: The problem is that they never had a clear definition and they still don’t know what they want. That’s NORML’s main problem. They want to be all things to all people. They can’t be.

High Times: Doesn’t NORML serve now as a way to educate drug lawyers?

Rosenthal: Well, it does do that, that’s one very important role, and also it does a lot of trial work against these laws, especially paraquat. But in terms of actually doing activist legislative work, it’s not doing anything.

High Times: But was that their intent?

Rosenthal: I think the original intent was to be in Washington to lobby at Congress. What they got was that nobody is going to listen to lobbyers unless they have one of two things—money or votes. And you don’t have votes unless you have membership. And that’s one instance where the NRA, the National Rifle Association, is so effective. They have millions of members.

High Times: Yes, but hasn’t there in fact been just a kind of a co-optation of millions of smokers in all of this de facto legalization where the government then is able to use the marijuana laws more selectively? Most people don’t get busted. Most people can smoke marijuana and not feel that threatened now. People are busted for other reasons.

Rosenthal: Well, that’s true. It is true that most people who smoke marijuana really aren’t threatened. Except that the government is trying to change that—make no mistake about it. Under the Reagan administration we’ve had a real change in attitude. The percentage of drug arrests for marijuana have skyrocketed. And also they are trying, you know… like they are saying that they are trying to get urine testing in the work place, so that if you smoked marijuana last night, you are going to show a positive the next day. So I think that pot-smokers today are under greater and greater pressure.

High Times: How about the future of marijuana referendums?

Rosenthal: Well, in California we couldn’t even pass a return-bottle bill, so I think it would be very difficult.

High Times: What do you see in terms of the issue of legalization?

Rosenthal: One possibility—I think that NORML, and the marijuana movement in general, has to align itself and make itself known as a human-rights movement, part of that broad coalition of environmentalists, gays, minority groups and so on. And when that… when the issue gets recognized that way, then it’s going to rise and fall with the other issues. That’s one scenario that I see.

Another scenario I see is a basic break in world politics, which will affect the United States. Spain has legalized possession, and I think that Italy is pretty far along. I think that some of the African countries are gonna break it, and I think that India is going to unilaterally break it. Or there is a good possibility of those countries breaking it. And I think that the world… there is going to be a new polarization based on that.

High Times: Breaking with the Single Convention Treaty?

Rosenthal: And the United States and Britain, for instance, might go far out on a limb and get real right wing about it, especially under Reagan, and I think that what ultimately the government has in mind is rehabilitation, and for chronic users, maybe something worse.

High Times: You are an advocate of marijuana and it’s an ally of yours. Do you see any dangers to marijuana use?

Rosenthal: Yeah. You know, I don’t think that marijuana is totally harmless. It changes the liver and metabolism slightly. And potsmoke does do damage to your lungs.

High Times: How about the whole notion of a-motivational syndrome?

Rosenthal: Well, I don’t have it. I smoke a lot and I don’t have it.

High Times: How much do you smoke?

Rosenthal: Depends. You know, the better the dope is, the more you smoke.

High Times: On the average?

Rosenthal: Between a quarter- and a half-ounce.

High Times: A day?

Rosenthal: No, a week.

High Times: Every day. But every day? Do you smoke every day?

Rosenthal: Yes. Only when I’m living.

High Times: Ed, you have a new son. When your son grows up, when he’s maybe about twelve or thirteen years old and he starts asking about pot—what will you tell him about it?

Rosenthal: Well, he’ll probably ask a lot before twelve or thirteen.

High Times: All right, let’s assume he can start speaking. And his first words are “pot, pot.”

Rosenthal: I think the problem with pot and kids these days is that it’s such an illicit thing that it makes it more attractive to them, and they tend to overdo it a little because of that. But I think I would rather see kids using pot than alcohol.

High Times: Do you have any friends that you think are better off without pot? Do you ever say to yourself, “Hey, I’ve been smoking too much lately.”?

Rosenthal: Yes. And I cut down sometimes. I have also gone without pot for extended periods.

High Times: How long?

Rosenthal: I went to Mexico for three weeks, a year ago, and I didn’t smoke anything.

High Times: You are doing a regular “Ask Ed” column for us. What’s the single most common question that people ask you?

Rosenthal: “How can I tell a male from a female?”

High Times: And how do you answer it—by pulling down their plants, ha-ha.

Rosenthal: Buy a Growers Guide. The pictures are right in the Growers Guide.

High Times: You’ve just completed a Special Cultivation issue for us. What’re the estimates on the number of people cultivating?

Rosenthal: Well, I have an interesting way of looking at it. You notice how many ads for cultivation equipment there are in High Times every month over the past five years. And you realize how much those ads cost and how many lights have to be sold just to pay for the ad. And then you realize that there are a lot of people out there cultivating. And there are thousands of people buying lights every month.

High Times: How do you see the marijuana-growing industry changing in the next ten, fifteen or twenty years? Do you think it’s all going to become indoor growth? Assuming that the status of its illegality remains unchanged.

Rosenthal: More and more people will grow indoors.

High Times: Can you get as good a product indoors?

Rosenthal: I am glad you brought that up. In most parts of the United States I think the indoors is better. Your own homegrown is better than any commercial because commercial growers have a different interest in mind than homegrowers. The commercial growers’ interest is to put out as much product as possible over the shortest period of time. Homegrowers are growing for a different reason. They are growing to get the best. They grow to get their own stash. So they have a different motivation, they don’t necessarily want to have the most quantity or the best yields or the earliest plants. In other words, a commercial grower might be able to have 120-day turnaround, while the homegrower might be going on 150 to 180 days.

In order to get the really true connoisseur grades, you know, the sinsemilla Colombian hybrid or a sinsemilla Thai or most of the Africans— those plants take longer than the Afghanis and the Rushes. So I see more people growing indoors and I think more and more people are going to say, “I don’t want this Afghani.”

High Times: What’s the story on ruderalis? Is there really any in the United States?

Rosenthal: I haven’t seen it, and Shultes described a short plant with low branches… eighteen to twenty-four inches high with no THC in it. That wouldn’t be a pleasant smoke.

High Times: But wouldn’t it be possible for commercial growers to hybridize it because its life cycle is over in ten weeks?

Rosenthal: If you were able to hybridize some hotshot indica with ruderalis it would theoretically bring in a crop in a few months or so. Well, I have dealt with Moroccan weed. And that comes in in late August.

High Times: Remember the Rolling Stone article about a year ago that talked about a whole generation who smoked in the late ’60s and now we’re in the ’80s and they have stopped smoking. You are somebody who started smoking in the ’60s and then continued smoking to this day. Was that hype or do you think that there was a significant drop, and why?

Rosenthal: Well, I think there are a lot of exploitive articles about the ’60s generation. For instance, I found out why the guy killed himself in the Big Chill. It was because he couldn’t stand his friends anymore.

And the reason why that woman in Rolling Stone doesn’t smoke is because she’s not getting good stuff, and the reason she’s not getting good stuff is… well, I don’t want to get into that. But I presume that that’s part of it. But I think that drug use naturally slows down as people hit middle age.

High Times: Do you see the day, or do you ever foresee the day that you might just stop smoking? Outgrow it?

Rosenthal: I don’t know, anything could happen. I haven’t got religion yet.

High Times: Have you been thinking about religion?

Rosenthal: I have been. I’ve been thinking lately about life and death. Do you go to heaven or hell or is it more complex than that. But I’ll tell you, when I die, I just want to be compost. Then I’ll be happy for eternity.

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