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Political Analyst – Derek Thomas
As passionate cannabis enthusiasts, we should always pay homage to those whom came before us that were fighting for our right to treat patients medically and enjoy marijuana recreationally.
Hugh Hefner is one of these cannabis trail blazers that deserves to be remembered for his incredible work.
‘Hef’ was known for being a radical cult of personality. As early as the 1950’s - during the tail end of McCarthyism and reefer madness - Hugh Hefner was shattering cultural norms and pushing the envelope of social boundaries.
He was a passionate advocate of civil rights, LGBT rights, of women’s rights, of un-ashamed expression of sexuality, and a lover of animals.
He’s also a marijuana reform warrior, and had a profound impact on the movement.
Keith Stroup, founder of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), received his first donation of $5,000 to start the non-profit from Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Foundation. As the years grew so did Hef’s donations, eventually reaching $100,000 annually. NORML even recently released a short film called “NORML@40” documenting Mr. Hefner’s early support for NORML.
Hef used his own voice to advocate for cannabis reform as well. He told Patrick Anderson “Smoking helped put me in touch with realm of the senses,” in the 1980 book High in America: The True Story Behind NORML and the Politics of Marijuana. “I discovered a whole other dimension to sex” he said.
He spoke loudly and often about marijuana. In a 2010 interview with Fox News, Hef said “I don’t think there’s any question that marijuana should be legalized because to not legalize it, we’re paying the same price we paid for prohibition,” “In other words, it is a medical concern and it should be handled that way.” Right on, Hef.
Those close to him occasionally talked about his marijuana use too. Holly Madison described their twice weekly routine. On Wednesday and Friday nights, Hef and his bunnies would get dress up to go dancing. Upon their return, he would smoke weed getting intimate with his girlfriends.
Interestingly enough, according to High Times itself, Playboy Magazine was also the inspiration for High Times magazine. When it was founded in 1974, High Times was modeled as a cannabis-infused spoof of Hefner’s magazine. As we all know, High Times went on to be a source for patients and enthusiasts alike to rally around and learn from.
Whenever the movement loses an ardent supporter, it’s important to recognize and reflect on the work they. Hugh Hefner deserves recognition, praise, and reflection. He was speaking out in a time where it wasn’t socially acceptable, cool, or beneficial to him in any way. Thank you, Hef, for pushing the envelope and helping to blaze a path towards social and legislative cannabis reform.