Over the past 30 years, High Times magazine has spearheaded the spread of stoner culture, covering everything from political referendums to regional market values of retail and wholesale pot.
Its mission statement has grown beyond its green confines, not only celebrating the counterculture, but documenting pot’s place in history. High Times was there for Burning Man, but it was also there for Waco and Columbine.
Of the magazine’s most prolific effects was the wildfire spread by the term 420, which later became a worldwide stoners’ mantra for smoking weed.
Although High Times was not the originator of the infamous codeword, it was the first to investigate what started out as a Deadhead community phenomenon.
After one article, and thousands of subscribers later, 420 was beginning to pop up from coast to coast in America. If anything, this proved one crucial fact for the staff of the magazine. The counterculture not only accepted them, but was taking the lead from them.
The following contains two interviews with Steven Hager, editor in chief of High Times, and Peter Gorman, the magazine’s current photo editor and former editor in chief. The people who wrote the stories of the counterculture now share a little of their own.
What is the purpose of your magazine?
To celebrate the counterculture.
How have you seen pot culture change over the years?
We’re concentrated on getting medical access for sick people through the initiative process.
Do you drug test your employees?
Certainly not. Drug testing is illegal search and seizure as far as we’re concerned.
Most interesting article/ interview?
Well, that changes all the time. I just wrote an article on Waco in the May issue that’s pretty interesting.
How did the magazine start out? Particularly, how was it funded?
It was started by Tom Forcade, a counterculture journalist, activist, and pilot who smuggled marijuana from South America to get his nest egg.
Any significant problems with the government?
Well, they’ve tried to shut us down three times over the past 25 years.
What the hell is the pot 40 page?
People write in and vote for their favorite things and we list the most popular ones.
Do you think legalization is possible? What would the magazine do if it was legalized?
We will be far more successful and popular after legalization than we are now. Legalization would allow the counterculture to come up from the underground and become a legitimate culture. It’s hard to do that when your sacraments and ceremonies are against the law.
Should the “”420″” holiday be replaced with a different date, given other “”incidents”” that happened on the day. (i.e. Columbine)
No, the holiday should stay were it is. There are lessons to be learned with Columbine, like the overprescription of legal mind-altering substances such as Luvox, which can cause violent reactions in a small minority of users. Dylan K. was on Luvox.
Favorite five bud strains?
Don’t really have an answer. I like sativa-dominant, organic, outdoor-grown at a high elevation, preferably close to the equator.
Best American city for a stoner to live in? The world?
The West Coast is the best for the counterculture. Anywhere from Carmel to Vancouver.
How many pot photos do you get from readers in a day?
High Times receives 20-30 photos daily from readers.
Where was your most “”interesting”” shoot?
Our shoots are done by a number of different photographers, so the most interesting would depend on their choice. My most interesting was done in Morocco, up in the hash highlands. The owner of the several hundred pounds of hash left the room for an hour or so to make a deal and during that time a quart of hash oil I was placing in just the right position fell over. I had to eat some of it to hide the mess and that made the trip back out of the highlands — being chased by hash dealers the whole way — quite interesting.
How many photos of marijuana do you have archived?
“”High Times”” has tens of thousands of archived photos. Still, the bulk of the photos we print belong to the photographers and not us. How many plants are represented by the combination of the two? Hundreds of thousands, in all likelihood.
Top three sickest buds you’ve seen.
The best bud in the world is almost always the one I’m rolling.