Today’s Date Brings Back A College Memory

It was 1977, and I was a sophomore in college.

Naïve and impressionable would have been two good words to describe me back then.

I will never forget seeing the photo below in an issue of High Times magazine, which was dedicated to the culture and legalization of marijuana. I’m not sure who on my dorm floor subscribed to the magazine, but there were several possible suspects.

I was just fascinated that there could be such a law that prohibits someone from getting arrested while in a voting booth. And I was impressed that this guy had the nerve to test the law with such a hot-button topic back in the seventies (and still is today).

The image has been etched in my memory for 45 years now, and I think of it every time I vote, and every April 20.

April 20 has become an international counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis, specifically at 4:20 p.m.

The guy in the picture, Ben Masel, went on to become an American writer, publisher, cannabis rights and free speech activist, expert witness for marijuana defendants, a frequent candidate for public office, and a skilled chess player. Masel was known for his Yippie (Youth International Party) theatrics and anti-war and pro-labor activism.

Masel passed away in 2011, but I am sure he would be happy to see what the current state of marijuana legislation is in the U.S., and to see that there is an unofficial holiday to celebrate cannabis culture.

39 thoughts on “Today’s Date Brings Back A College Memory

  1. So if you want to kill someone and get away with it, just wait until election day and take him into a voting booth? Interesting.

    Doing the math, it appears Masel died at around age 55. So I’m wondering if maybe he smoked a few joints too many.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess if you could find a way to dispose of the body while inside the voting booth, then perhaps you could get away with it…

      and very perceptive about Masel’s age; I’m not sure if it is ironic or not, but he died of lung cancer…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know why I’m surprised that somebody keeps a record of political arrests, but I am. What do they tell somebody when they’re releasing him? “Keep up the good work! Just 17 more arrests to go, and you’ll set the world record!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I guess for some people, such arrests are a badge of honor. I must admit to feeling a little bit of remorse for never having been arrested for some minor infraction, like protesting. I guess I still have time… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fortunately for him testing positive for marijuana is not considered possession in the U.S. Recently a U.S. citizen who smoked or ingested pot in Las Vegas now faces three years in prison in the United Arab Emirates after traces of marijuana were found days later in his urine. After flying to Dubai he suffered a pancreatitis attack. Hospital tests revealed marijuana in his system and he was arrested.

    I wonder what constitutes a political arrest in the U.S.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wow – that is scary to hear about the UAE.

      I’m not sure what is meant by a political arrest – perhaps somehow related to demonstrating?


  4. … (and still is today). Is it? I work in an extremely liberal environment, and my friends are all like-minded so I don’t see opposition at all. Even though I know first hand how substance abuse can wreak havoc on a life, I’ve still come to accept a level of inevitability on the topic of weed. By the time my kids are 21, it’s likely that it will be legal where ever they live, and I fully expect they will partake. Even for myself, mostly sober for 18 years and totally abstaining from even alcohol for 6 years, I’ve considered microdosing THC to see if it helps with my Tourette Syndrome symptoms. It could just be my perspective, but I feel like marijuana is here to stay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it has certainly become more acceptable, and legal in more and more places, but I still think it is a topic many people have strong opinions about. I’m all in favor of completely legalizing it, and like you, would not hesitate to use it if I thought there was a health benefit from doing so…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jim, I just learned about April 20th last year when our local cannabis store had a line almost a block long to get in. My husband informed me that it was a holiday to smoke pot. I was against it at first until I learned that the legality of it was not the issue, taxes were. At that point, I changed my viewpoint. If it was already legal, I figured that the City should benefit from it. The sale of it and taxes on it have made a huge impact on the Woodlake community. The city made hundreds of thousands of dollars because for a while they were the only place to buy. It still remains popular, and meanwhile, Woodlake has had a gigantic facelift.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I had no idea you couldn’t get arrested while in the voting booth! Not surprised he knew that though- most people like to narrow down the counterculture to drugged up hippies but it was a lot more than that. A lot of them were really brilliant people and were really devoted to the caused they believed in. They were a lot more intelligent than people give them credit for.

    Liked by 1 person

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