High Times Magazine has been a companion for many Greeneies since the first time they sampled bud. The magazine’s staff has a complicated relationship with law enforcement. The current staffer in the hot seat is Matthew Woodstock Stang, known as “Magazine Guy” in the marijuana underworld. By day he’s an advertising executive and senior writer for the magazine; by night, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, he’s a wholesaler in one of the city’s largest and longest-running marijuana rings. Stang is currently free on a $500,000 bond while his lawyers negotiate with the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Over the years several notorious names have been associated with the magazine. High Times was founded by a smuggler named Gary Goodson, a.k.a. Tom King Forcade, who over the years he has been described by his magazine as an “ace in the dope air force” and a “drug-culture mastermind.” In the 1980s, Richard Stratton, an early donor to High Times and later its publisher and editor in chief, spent eight years in prison for smuggling pot and Lebanese hash into New Jersey. His defense made him famous. I’m not a criminal, he explained after federal agents collared him in Los Angeles, but a writer gathering material for a book about the underworld.
In the mid-80s, domestically grown marijuana took off and High Times shifted to a growers’ bible. But serious clashes with the law continued. Ed Rosenthal, the magazine’s former cultivation columnist and author of Ask Ed’s Marijuana Law, has been busted twice. Most recently in 2007, when a San Francisco jury, denied the right to hear Ed’s medical marijuana defense, convicted him of growing more than 100 marijuana plants.
Over the years, three grand juries have investigated the legality of the magazine’s operations, according to Michael Kennedy, a High Times lawyer interviewed by The Washington Post in 2004. So, next time you pick up an issue, remember those folks are on the front lines, too, helping right a very old wrong. There’s more to this history at The Daily Beast.
image: google images legal]
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