In today’s article we want to talk about one of the pillars of cannabis culture, the American magazine High Times, a publication born in the 70s and of which you have surely heard. And it is that the success of this magazine has changed the vision of cannabis use by the general public, normalizing their use and cultivation, and relating these to celebrities from many different fields.
Indeed, from 1970 the readers of High Times could admire impressive pictures of cannabis plants double page while they dreamed of seeing cannabis legalized and accepted by society. However, they were other times and all this seemed like a utopia, something very difficult to achieve in a society that barely received cannabis information.
Today, in 2021 and after more than 40 years of existence of High Times magazine, things have changed a lot, although the spirit of the publication remains the same, remaining as the cannabis magazine reference for several generations of enthusiasts of this plant.
History of High Times magazine
This famous magazine was founded in 1974 by Tom Force. To better understand its policy and editorial line, it is important to know something more about its founder. In those days, Tom Forçade was a journalist and political activist, one of the first who threw cakes at various personalities as a form of protest, as a member of the Obscenity and Pornography Commission could well attest.
At that time, Tom was also engaged in trafficking in cannabis thanks to his experience as a pilot during his service in the US Air Force, transporting weed from Mexico and Colombia to the United States.
In the 1970s, he settled in New York where, thanks to the money saved from his previous activity, he founded a magazine that wanted to represent a alternative culture and politics, touching topics such as the use of cannabis and other psychedelic and psychoactive substances, music or literature. The magazine’s founding editor Ed DwyerFor example, he was also in charge of writing the texts for the famous Woodstock music festival.
During that time, High Times was often compared to another somewhat controversial (and very popular) magazine in the US, Playboy. And is that like the famous erotic publication, High Times also included in each issue a spectacular double page poster that would end up hanging in the rooms of hundreds of college students.
The High Times publication was a resounding success and immediate public response, quickly becoming a publication with monthly editions and with runs comparable to those of another reference of the time, the famous magazine Rolling Stone (500,000 copies). Exact sales figures at the time are hard to come by, but Dan Skye, the magazine’s editor and a member of the editorial staff since 1992, cites a 1978 article estimating the number of High Times readers continues to increase, reaching more than 4 million people.
In November 1978, just when the magazine was enjoying resounding success, its founder Tom Forçade committed suicide at the age of 33. However, this regrettable disappearance did not change the editorial line of the magazine, thanks to a team that continues to respect the vision of its founder year after year and after dozens of publications.
What is High Times magazine?
One of Tom Forçade’s main goals in creating this publication was to offer a different point of view on political issues, while also addressing the cannabis, the LSD o go hallucinogenic mushrooms just as naturally. Respect for this editorial line is the fundamental pillar of the magazine’s success, cementing its reputation as countercultural publication most popular in the world.
Although on many occasions it adopts a peculiar and fun tone covering a wide variety of topics, it is no less true that this publication has always attached great importance to the problem of war on drugs and its consequences for society. It is reaffirmed in the words of Michael Kennedy, the magazine’s longtime general counsel: “At High Times we will never forget what was done in the name of the law to our detainees, nor to all those who still rot in jail for daring to enjoy“.
Of course, and although the editorial line remains the same, times change and so do topics covered by High Times. And, among the first published articles, you can find texts on “the best boats to smuggle” or “how not to be arrested”!
Thus, and regardless of the time chosen, the topics covered are varied and current, from beautiful bud pictures and resin extractions to articles on cultivation, politics, legalization, other psychoactive substances, music, cinema, sex, travel, DIY … High Times magazine is not afraid to deal with any subject.
The long list of editors of this publication has names of the stature of the novelist William S. Burroughs, Charles Bukowski or Tom Robbins, who have participated regularly with their articles. You can also find particularly interesting interviews, with people like the activist and novelist Susan Sontag, or the philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky.
During the 1980s, the first publications on indoor cannabis cultivation appeared in the magazine. What initially seemed almost an innocent has become a veritable industry today, but it was thanks to articles like those published in High Times that people could begin to understand how to grow marijuana in small indoor spaces, what type of light use or what fotoperiodos apply to plants.
Unfortunately, the 1990s were a difficult time for the cannabis community americana, and for High Times it was no exception. The publication caught the attention of the government and led to the intervention of the give (Drug Enforcement Administration) requisitioning magazines, visiting the stores that advertised in them and confiscating their customer lists.
High Times from the year 2000
In 2004 the magazine underwent a sudden change, ditching cannabis and her spectacular bud photos to focus on literature. Despite the fact that this attempt is led by the talented new editor John Buffalo Mailer (son of Norman Mailer), it is unsuccessful and only a few months later, the cover of the magazine announces that he makes his intentions clear: « The Buds are Back ! »Or, what is the same,” The buds are back! “. The publication thus resumed its main content from the beginning and has continued to serve its purpose related to Cannabis until today.
Today, and despite the fierce competition represented by online publications and the creation of content on the Internet, things are going well for High Times. Thanks to the growing wave of cannabis legalization in many US states, the cannabis community continues to grow and High Times ends up moving its base of operations to Los Angeles (California) in 2017, undoubtedly one of the cannabis capitals of the world Today. How could it be otherwise, High Times has also had a presence on the Internet since 2014, with a page that receives close to 5 million visits every month.
Larga vida a High Times!
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