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.