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TBT: The Marijuana Mohawk

The roots of High Times magazine are intertwined with the punk movement. Tom Forcade, the founding publisher, fully agreed with the punk movement’s founding principle: “Do what you want to do and fuck anybody who tries to stop you.”

In 1996 we honored those roots by devoting our November issue to punk rock and all of its madness. The idea for the cover sprang from the mind of a young editorial staff member. “How ‘bout a pot mohawk?” he suggested.

Everybody shouted: “Yes!”

But there was one problem. How?

We asked a top makeup artist who worked for Saturday Night Live. She was skilled in prosthetic makeup and experienced in creating sight gags of all kinds. She asked for a few colas to experiment with overnight and returned the next day. ‘I can do this,” she told us.

I secured two ounces of buds of the proper length buds — two to three inches long. At her apartment, she placed two clumps of clay about six inches apart on her kitchen table, then stuck several chopstick into the clay as crossbars. She then coiled one end of a twist-tie around the tip of a bud and the other around a crossbar so that each bud was vertical with its stem touching the tabletop. Grabbing a bottle of Elmer’s Wood Glue, she squeezed out globs encircling each stem. “When it dries,” she explained, “each bud will have its own base.”

The next morning, I returned to her apartment with our model who had shaved his head for the occasion. Over the next two hours, she affixed each bud with its own base to his head using spirit gum and hid her handiwork deftly with tiny nuggets. When she finished, we went up to the rooftop of her apartment building and created this memorable cover. I remember photographing this outlandish image and laughing to myself thinking: “Right now, with billions of people on earth, there is no one else in the world photographing a model with marijuana glued to their head!”

Thankfully, shooting the punk centerfold was a helluva lot easier — and more enjoyable. With all the buds stuck to the model’s head, it was impossible to get high!

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