Heralds and heroes all start somewhere. This is the story of where Jack Herer started. Before he went up north, he hung out at the beach, Laguna Beach. It was in the 60s.
Since none of you were around in the 60s, it was like this. Weed was underground and only available in big cities; and like as not, from the same guy who had heroin since both were officially blacklisted by the authorities.
However, pot smoking wasn’t erased from memory. The returning Vietnam soldiers were smoking the herb or bringing back seeds, and the counter-culture, Nixon’s long-haired hippies, were already weed-smokers since pot was a political statement. Not only was it illegal, but the status of the plant being illegal was absurd logically.
California, being warm and artistic and open to various lifestyles became home to the California hippie lifestyle. On the coast, the magic of pot smoking carried over to the young, leaving the hippy-ness behind. Pot became an alternative to getting drunk, in a fight, or sick. Plus getting stoned with your friends was something only certain mindsets could handle. These mindsets wondered why about certain things as opposed to acceptance of the status quo. The mindsets were divided by hair length, so you could tell the players without a program if you had eyes to see. If you were out of school and just wanting to hang out before you got serious, this was the time, especially with the draft.
This was also the time of youth politics as the age of political assassinations had begun. Everywhere young people, and especially those living toward the beach, gathered in groups and fire pits, watching the sun set, smoking the illegal herb, and wondering about tomorrow. In Laguna Beach, one such group gathered regularly at a place called Mystic Arts. Jack Herer was in this group. It was here at this ‘head shop’, as they were called in your granddaddy’s day, that art was shown, pot was smoked, and the eternal [since 1913] question was asked, “Why the hell is this illegal?*
It was at this particular head shop that the politics of the pot prohibition were debated and discussed with the likes of the future first person arrested at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, a political show quickly swept under the rug for later generations.
After a few months of germinating in the magically creative beach city area, Jack got the idea to start gathering past information about marijuana use throughout time, then headed north. And the rest is history, as they say.
Sadly the Mystic Arts head shop was set afire by alleged police arson. The heart of the magic cannabis forest seemed lost, as if made invisible by the forces of evil set to wipe Mary Jane from existence. But t’was not to be. Stay tuned for Part 2. Here soon. Stay lifted.
[*- Explained in more detail, see Memoirs of Mr. Pete & Mary Jane Green, Amazon]