The true story of America’s first legal marijuana smoker was chronicled in 1979 by Michael J. Weiss. For the first time in digital format, here is his report on the first sit down with the Legend, Robert Randall, the first man to legally smoke pot in this country.
I used to think 19th century literature was a drag. There were so many things our English teachers didn't tell us, - especially when it came to the great dope and sex underground books of the Victorian era. They never mentioned that stuffy old Charles Dickens, for instance, wrote his last novel in a haze of drugs, with several key scenes in The Mystery of Edwin Drood set in an opium den. Or they'd ramble on and on about John Greenleaf Whittier's Snowbound, never mentioning his interesting little poem The Haschich. Sometimes we'd get maybe an hour of English class devoted to an excerpt from Thomas De Guincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1822), because it was the first great English dope tale and influenced all the Romantic writers. But we never heard about Fitz Hugh Ludlow, America's first great drug writer. Maybe the teachers had never heard of him either, or maybe they didn't want us to get too inspired by his work.
In most, if not all, parts of the country, that is. If you followed proper advice, which is based upon many years of experience and experimentation in both city roof and country farm gardening, you should have a couple dozen very healthy 6-8" seedlings within a three to six month period. Depending on your gardening skills and degree of marijuana usage, growing your own private garden can save between $150-600 a month. As always, the best yield comes from the caring and informed grower.
There are more people smoking more weed now than ever before. Most of that product is being smoked by all sorts of great new tech like the Pax or the G-Pen. But the classic rolled joint will never go out of style. Conservative estimates are more than eight and a half billion joints are smoked in this country annually. Rolling paper sales exceed the $100 million mark, and legal pot sales are over $5 billion. Corporate America is eyeing, what some say, will soon grow to a $40 to $100 billion overall marijuana industry market from product to paraphernalia. The fashion industry is looking at marijuana induced ideas from colors to stash pockets. The government is eyeing giant tax revenues and Wall Street is looking for the next great thing. All of this attention can often make one lose sight of how it all began. It was simply a little product rolled in fine paper grade, to give you a smooth seal and slow burn. Nothing will ever be as simple or authentic as it was in the golden era of rolling paper.
In past decades, little was known about marijuana. Those in charge believed the mysterious grass was dangerous and its effects were strictly harmful on the human body. Back in the 80s, there was a case of an honors high school student from Chicago. Three years later he was a twenty-one-year-old dropout wandering around the country. He was later committed to a sanitarium—a shell of what he once was, unable to function in the world outside his hospital window.
Someone from WeedWorld back in the 1980s told me about this college professor at Quahog University who apparently knew more about 'good shit' than anyone else in the country. He sent me to interview him. Needless to say, I was skeptical that there could really be an academic who specialized in 'good shit', especially as I had been told that he was called Professor Hash. It had to be a joke. Despite my skepticism, when I arrived at Quahog University and asked for Professor Hash I was courteously directed towards a small Victorian building at the rear of the college. I knocked on an old oak door and was met by a middle aged man with thick pebble glasses and a mass of wiry white hair.