Reflecting on my two decades with High Times.
While High Times celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, 2014 also marks a more personal milestone for me—my 20th year with the company.
When I was first hired as a college art intern back in September 1994, I never could’ve imagined that two decades later I’d still be here, now serving as the magazine’s senior editor. It’s impossible to sum up in one page all of the amazing opportunities and experiences that working at the world’s most notorious magazine for half of its existence has afforded me over the years.
I’ve gotten high with counterculture icons like Ozzy Osbourne, Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, George Clinton, Jason Mewes (Jay & Silent Bob), Cheech and Chong, and Harold and Kumar. I’ve met and/or interviewed such celebrities as Stephen Colbert, Rick Steves, Ron Jeremy, Doug Benson and Tony Clifton, as well as music legends like Rush, Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek (the Doors), Joan Jett, Phil Anselmo (Pantera), Johnny Winter, System of a Down and Queens of the Stone Age. I’ve gone on tour with Sepultura, played pool with Jerry Cantrell, roadied for Type O Negative and been busted with Blue Cheer. I drank absinthe with Monster Magnet, Jägermeister with Slayer, and was even bought a beer by late guitar great Dimebag Darrell.
I’ve partied with some of the sexiest women on the planet, including Tera Patrick, Jenna Jameson, Adrianne Curry, Aria Giovanni, Tila Tequila, Jenna Haze, Nikki Nova and dozens of Penthouse Pets. I’ve tripped balls at Burning Man, been tattooed inside Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors and backstage at Lollapalooza, produced a rock compilation for High Times Records, and judged an air-guitar competition alongside Andrew W.K. and The Daily Show’s Jason Jones. I’ve appeared on The Howard Stern Show, Headbanger’s Ball, Geraldo at Large, the History Channel, CNN, NBC and even in the ill-fated HT feature film Potluck.
I’ve hosted six Doobie Awards shows, three Miss High Times pageants and a nationwide stoner rock show on Sirius XM radio. My visage has been made into a pipe, a tattoo, a tarot card and a comic-book superhero. Hell, I’ve even run for president (well … sort of). I’ve attended 34 Cannabis Cups and smoked just about everything there is to smoke in just about every way there is to smoke it (including a 24K gold joint and out of a porn star’s ass). To put it another way: I’ve lived out nearly every adolescent male fantasy imaginable.
But don’t think for one second that my time here has just been about hedonism and wish fulfillment: It’s also been a journey of profound personal growth and maturation. Before High Times, I was just another dorky, introverted metalhead who’d never even been on a plane. Since then, I’ve traveled all over: Austin, Barcelona, Boston, Denver, Detroit, Jamaica, Mallorca, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle … and of course, Amsterdam. In my 20-plus visits to the cannabis capital of Europe, I’ve done an exposé on the coffeeshop industry, spent an hour in jail for handing out weed, met the love of my life and proposed to her while sailing along its canals.
Perhaps most importantly though, I’ve developed a profound commitment to social justice and civil liberty. I’ve participated in protest marches like the May Day legalization rally and Occupy Wall Street. I’ve spoken out against Drug War injustice from the stages of the Boston Freedom Rally, Seattle Hempfest and Denver 4/20 Rally. I’ve fought for legalization alongside legends of the counterculture movement like Jack Herer, NORML’s Keith Stroup and Alan St. Pierre, Dana Beal, John Sinclair, Vivian McPeak, the late Stephen Gaskin and many others, and learned from them the true meaning (and cost) of freedom.
So you see, to me, High Times is so much more than just a job or a magazine—it’s my family, my identity, my purpose … my life. It’s the life of an outlaw, as envisioned by our illustrious founder—one filled with excitement, intoxication, adventure and activism. So thank you, High Times, for making all of my pubescent pipe dreams come true, and for turning this once-shy young stoner into the cool-ass—dare I say, infamous—motherfucker you see before you today.