This toke’s for history – A counterculture icon captures the imperfection of weed’s hippie renaissance

Caitlin Donohue

We have to be careful about how we are documenting marijuana. If we aren’t, future generations might be forgiven for thinking that cannabis culture occurred solely in courtrooms and during federal raids. After all, when do you read an account of a really great high, or the everyday reality of scoring from a dealer (and not going to jail for it, natch) off the pages of High Times?
For that reason alone — cultural documentation — alt-legend, Merry Prankster, and co-founder of the Yippie movement Paul Krassner must be commended for compiling Pot Stories for the Soul (Soft Skull Press, 240pp, $17.95). Krassner, who will be remembered by those older than I for his work with adult satire magazine The Realist, tapped 250 of his friends for their best cannabis stories. Results range from Mark Mothersbaugh’s tale of Devo’s Virgin Records-sponsored trip to Jamaica, to Kate Coleman’s account of working as Newsweek’s resident freak advisor and dealer in the mid-1960s, to random paragraph-long stoney-baloney kneeslappers. There’s also entire chapters devoted to anecdotes regarding Ken Kesey, Disneyland, and the illustrative writings of Krassner himself.
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