Hugh Hefner: Cannabis Advocate
In many respects, Hugh Hefner was a counter cultural icon. He was a first amendment rights advocate, and he caused friction when antiquated beliefs were put in his path. His first public brush up against the culture began with his first publication in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Stag Party, Playboy’s predecessor, came out in the early 1950’s and later became the iconic Playboy. Further, when people think of Hugh, they think of Playboy Bunnies, wild parties at this mansion and sex with young woman in to his 90’s when he passed.
Not many people know that Hugh was one of the original donors to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). In fact, Hef helped get them off the ground with a $5000.00 donation from Playboy. As NORML grew and gained strength, Hugh continued his role as a major financier of their efforts donating a reported $100,000 on an annual basis.
Hefner was a vocal advocate for the decriminalization of drugs and that made him a target of law enforcement through the 70’s and during the height of the drug war. Authorities believed he was simply running a drug ring out of his mansion. Authorities believed Playboy was a front for other illicit businesses Hef was allegedly running. However, it turns out he was just a free thinker and not running a drug empire.
Eventually, the culture in America embraced Hugh and his sexually charged lifestyle. When referring to his use of cannabis, Hef stated in a book in the 80’s that “Smoking helped put me in touch with the realm of the senses,” Hefner said. “I discovered a whole other dimension to sex,” he would also add. Just like sex has become more accepted in our culture in America, cannabis is more accepted today. Hugh was able to live long enough to see Adult Use in California legalized and simply commented that doing otherwise would make the people “pay the same price they did for alcohol prohibition.”
Hugh believed in a world where cannabis was federally legal, and prohibitions on its sale and use and were lifted. With some recent action in the US Congress relative to this issue, perhaps Congressional lawmakers will appease a traumatized voting base with some sensible federal legalization laws. We simply need to put the medicine back in to the hands of the people.