High Times Greats: Michelle Phillips

The iconic singer for the Mamas and the Papas tells all.
High Times Greats: Michelle Phillips
Michelle Phillips in 1966/ Wikimedia Commons

Ultimately, there are no answers—only more questions. And back in May, 1994, High Times tried to keep the question as simple as we could for what was then our 20th anniversary issue.

What about pot?

Asking only for a memory, a moment or fleeting thought, Malcolm MacKinnon compiled the recollections of a few of High Times’ favorite people who were kind enough to cast a little light our way, including Allen Ginsberg, Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Robbins, Ken Kesey, Peter Coyote, Timothy Leary, and Paul Krassner, to name a few. Among them was Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, whose short yet nonetheless amusing account we’re republishing below on the occasion of her 76th birthday June 4.

Happy birthday, Michelle!

Our rented car with almost all our worldly possessions had been stolen from the underground car park on Franklin. We reported it to the police and, in the pace of events, forgot about it.

After moving to Flores, we had a visit without warning from a member of the FBI. The car had been found and had been stolen by someone they were interested in. I invited him in and he began to spell out his story, while I, horrified, froze.

All across the coffee table was an array of marijuana in various stages of preparation and cleaning: a hundred joints, all neatly rolled, separated and stacked by Denny [Doherty, co-founder of the Mamas and the Papas]. Buds still clinging together from the fields, some cleaned, some twigs, a lot of seeds. A whole mess of pot.

While the FBI agent told his tale of sleuthing rewarded, I decided that the only way to deal with this awful sideshow of cannabis was to busy myself like a housewife.

I took a big paper bag from the market and started just shoving the marijuana into it, all the while playing the scene as if to say: “These untidy guys around here—always leaving things around.”

If the FBI man knew or suspected anything, he never indicated it to me. His eyes didn’t stray to the table. He just kept to the subject at hand—the stolen car—while I showed suitable interest: “Really? How amazing! Well, now. Gee!”

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