Cannabis Contrails

Cannabis Contrails

Like many plants, cannabis has a long human-associated history.  Cannabis was  found in a grave in China as early as 700 BCE.

Western Cannabis

Cannabis Contrails

Cannabis was referenced in western writings in 1621 when English Clergyman and Oxford scholar Robert Burton suggested cannabis as a treatment for depression in his book The Anatomy of Melancholy

During American colonial times, farmers grew cannabis for its hemp products like rope and textiles. The level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)–the psychoactive ingredient in another type of cannabis–in hemp is extremely low. Having said that, George George Washington’s diary entries indicate that he grew hemp at Mount Vernon and acccording to his agricultural ledgers, he had an interest in cannabis’s  medicinal use. Several of his diary entries indicate that he indeed was growing Cannabis with a high THC content.

Cannabis Contrails

19th Century

In the 19th century, marijuana emerged as a mainstream medicine in the West. Studies in the 1840s by a French doctor Jacques-Joseph Moreau found that marijuana suppressed headaches, increased appetite, and aided sleep.

Cannabis Contrails

Marijuana extracts are mentioned in the 1850 United States Pharmacopeia [an official public standards-setting authority for all prescription and over-the counter medicines]. It listed marijuana as treatment for numerous afflictions, including: neuralgia, tetanus, typhus, cholera, rabies, dysentery, alcoholism, opiate addiction, anthrax, leprosy, incontinence, gout, convulsive disorders, tonsillitis, insanity, excessive menstrual bleeding, and uterine bleeding, among others. Patented marijuana tinctures were sold.

Cannabis Contrails

Early 20th Century

In accordance with the U.S. Pharmacopoeia, up to World War I, pharmaceutical supplies of cannabis indica were  imported from India and occasionally Madagascar. The Pharmacopoeia specified that it come from flowering tops of the Indian variety.

  • Indica strains are more sedative in nature.
  • Sativas strains tend to provide more invigorating, uplifting cerebral effects.

In 1913, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Bureau of Plant Industry announced it had succeeded in growing domestic cannabis of equal quality to the Indian. When foreign supplies were interrupted by World War I, the United States became self-sufficient in cannabis. By 1918, some 60,000 pounds were being produced annually, all from pharmaceutical farms east of the Mississippi.

Cannabis Contrails

Harry J Anslinger

Cannabis Contrails

Harry Anslinger represented the most extreme reaction against cannabis use. He joined the Treasury Department in 1926 and by 1929 was Assistant Commissioner of Prohibition and promoted to the head of the Narcotics Bureau in 1930.

Probably no one did more to begin the criminalization of cannabis in the United States.

There was, and remains, an undercurrent of racism when it came to the anti-marijuana campaign. Quotes attributable to Anslinger include:

  • “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
  • “You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”
  • “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use.
  • “This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”
Cannabis Contrails

William Randolph Hearst

US border towns with Mexico passed the first laws against cannabis.  William Randolph Hearst owned twenty-eight newspapers by the mid-1920s. He dropped the words cannabis and hemp from his newspapers and began a propaganda campaign against ‘marijuana.’

By 1933, cannabis had became the target of government control. Sensationalist stories linked violent acts to its consumption. Many of the most outlandish stories appeared Hearst’s newspapers. He reportedly had financial interests in the lumber and paper industries and may have sought to eliminate hemp competition.

The headline of a April 14, 1935  New York Times article read:

NEW MEXICO MOVES TO BAN MARIJUANA; State Finds Many Children Are Addicted to Weed — Narcotics Law Passed.

Cannabis Contrails

1937 Marijuana Tax Act

The Committee on Ways and Means had held hearings on the a proposed Marijuana Tax Act between 27 April and 4 May 1937.

The last witness to be heard was Dr. William C. Woodward, legislative counsel of the American Medical Association (AMA). He announced his opposition to the bill and sought to dispel any impression that either the AMA or enlightened medical opinion sponsored this legislation. Marijuana, he argued, was largely an unknown quantity, but might have important uses in medicine and psychology.

He stated: “There is nothing in the medicinal use of Cannabis that has any relation to Cannabis addiction. I use the word ‘Cannabis’ in preference to the word ‘marihuana’, because Cannabis is the correct term for describing the plant and its products. The term ‘marihuana’ is a mongrel word that has crept into this country over the Mexican border and has no general meaning, except as it relates to the use of Cannabis preparations for smoking..To say, however, as has been proposed here, that the use of the drug should be prevented by a prohibitive tax, loses sight of the fact that future investigation may show that there are substantial medical uses for Cannabis.

The act passed and signed into law on August 2, 1937.  It would go into effect on October 5. It is widely regarded as a major milestone in the U.S. policy of criminalizing drugs, which steadily escalated into President Nixon’s so-called War on Drugs in the 1970s.

The 1937 law was prompted in part by a national panic over the dangers of marijuana promulgated by propaganda as can be seen in the now famous 1936 film Reefer Madness

Cannabis Contrails

Cannabis Contrails

Samuel R. Caldwell

Cannabis Contrails
The Denver Post, October 8, 1937. Denver Court Imposes First U.S. Marijuana Law Penalties. The Denver Post Library Archive

On October 2  the FBI and Denver, Colorado police raided the Lexington Hotel and arrested Samuel R. Caldwell, 58, an unemployed laborer and Moses Baca, 26.

On Oct. 5, Caldwell went into the history trivia books as the first marijuana seller convicted under new law.

He was sentenced to four years of hard labor in Leavenworth Penitentiary, plus a $1,000 fine. Baca received 18 months incarceration for possession. Both men served every day of their sentence. Caldwell died a year after his release.

Cannabis Contrails

LaGuardia Report

In 1938, New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia requested that the New York Academy of Medicine conduct an investigation of marijuana.

The 1944 report, titled “The Marihuana Problem in the City of New York,” but commonly referred to as the “LaGuardia Report,” concluded that many claims about the dangers of marijuana were exaggerated or untrue.

It read in part: “The practice of smoking marihuana does not lead to addiction in the medical sense of the word… The use of marihuana does not lead to morphine or heroin or cocaine addiction and no effort is made to create a market for these narcotics by stimulating the practice of marihuana smoking… Marihuana is not the determining factor in the commission of major crimes… The publicity concerning the catastrophic effects of marihuana smoking in New York City is unfounded.”

Cannabis Contrails

Hollywood framed

On August 31, 1948,  local Los Angeles and Federal narcotics officers raided the home of Lila Leeds, a 20-year-old actress.  Marijuana was found.  The agents arrested Leeds and three others, including 31-year-old film star Robert Mitchum.

There is some reason to believe that Mitchum’s arrest was less than fair and designed to bring publicity to the Los Angeles Police Department’s anti-drug efforts. Although high-priced studio lawyers questioned irregularities in the case, it was later agreed that Mitchum would accept 60 days in jail and several years’ probation

On February 25, 1949,  Mitchum was released from a Los Angeles County prison farm after spending the final week of his two-month sentence for marijuana possession there.

The conviction was later overturned by the Los Angeles court and District Attorney’s office on January 31, 1951, with the following statement, after it was exposed as a set-up:

After an exhaustive investigation of the evidence and testimony presented at the trial, the court orders that the verdict of guilty be set aside and that a plea of not guilty be entered and that the information or complaint be dismissed.”

When reporters asked him what jail was like, Mitchum replied, ”It’s just like Palm Springs without the riffraff.”

Cannabis Contrails

More Federal Control

On November 2, 1951, President Harry Truman signed the “Boggs Act” into law, setting minimum federal sentences for drug offenders. A first-offense marijuana possession carried a minimum sentence of 2-10 years with a fine of up to $20,000.

March 30, 1961:  The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 signed. It is an international treaty to prohibit production and supply of specific (nominally narcotic) drugs and of drugs with similar effects except under licence for specific purposes, such as medical treatment and research.

The document included updating the Paris Convention of 13 July 1931 to include the vast number of synthetic opioids invented in the intervening thirty years and a mechanism for more easily including new ones. Earlier treaties had only controlled opium, coca, and derivatives such as morphine, heroin and cocaine. The Single Convention consolidated those treaties and broadened their scope to include cannabis and drugs whose effects are similar to those of the drugs specified.

Cannabis Contrails

War On Drugs

Nixon

April 8, 1968:  President Johnson established the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

May 19, 1969:  Leary v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt with the constitutionality of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Timothy Leary had been arrested for the possession of marijuana in violation of the Act. Leary challenged the act on the ground that the it required self-incrimination, which violated the Fifth Amendment. The unanimous opinion of the court–penned by Justice John Marshall Harlan II–declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional.

In 1970:  The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws [NORML] founded as a nonprofit public-interest advocacy group whose mission was and is to end marijuana prohibition.

Drug Schedules

The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 became effective on October 27, 1970. The act classified controlled substances into five schedules.

Schedule I Controlled Substances: substances in this schedule have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.

Some examples of substances are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), peyote, methaqualone, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“Ecstasy”). (see Schedules for the other four)

More Nixon

May 1, 1971:  in a televised news conference responding to question about the White House Conference on Youth, which had voted to legalize marijuana, President Nixon said:   “As you know, there is a Commission that is supposed to make recommendations to me about this subject; in this instance, however, I have such strong views that I will express them. I am against legalizing marijuana. Even if the Commission does recommend that it be legalized, I will not follow that recommendation… I can see no social or moral justification whatever for legalizing marijuana. I think it would be exactly the wrong step. It would simply encourage more and more of our young people to start down the long, dismal road that leads to hard drugs and eventually self-destruction.”

June 17, 1971:  President Nixon said: “America’s public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.

I have asked the Congress to provide the legislative authority and the funds to fuel this kind of an offensive. This will be a worldwide offensive dealing with the problems of sources of supply, as well as Americans who may be stationed abroad, wherever they are in the world…

I have brought Dr. Jerome H. Jaffe into the White House, directly reporting to me as Special Consultant to the President for Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs], so that we have not only the responsibility but the authority to see that we wage this offensive effectively and in a coordinated way.”

In 1973: The Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNND) and the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE) merged to form the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). John R. Bartels Jr. was confirmed as the DEA’s first Administrator on 4 October 1973

Cannabis Contrails

Cannabis Contrails Continued follows this chronology into the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Cannabis Contrails

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

The 1960s made a complex tapestry: the various civil rights movements, the Vietnam War and it’s divisiveness, pop music’s evolution, environmental awareness, the space and arms races. feminism,  and drugs.

The United States had tried to prohibit beverage alcohol with the 18th Amendment only to need the 21st Amendment remove the prohibition.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

In 1938, chemist Albert Hoffman was working with lysergic acid trying to synthesize a chemical compound that would stimulate the respiratory and circulatory systems.

His 25th synthesis included  diethylamine, a derivative of ammonia. He labeled it LSD-25. His report read in part, “The new substance… aroused no special interest in our pharmacologists and physicians; testing was therefore discontinued.”

Five years later, decided to synthesize LSD-25 again. And on April 16, 1943, while working with the substance, he felt strange and had to go home.

Atlantic Magazine has an excellent article about Hoffman and LSD. Today we’re going to jump ahead a bit to two other men: Nick Sand and Tim Scully.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

Nick Sand

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

Nicholas Francis Hiskey was born on April 24, 1941. He was a “red diaper baby” as both parents were idealistic Communists during the 1930s. His father was Clarence  Hinskey, a chemist who worked on the Manhattan Project during WWII. His mother was Marcia Sand Hinskey.

In 1944, Army counter-intelligence agents observed Clarence Hinskey meeting with a Soviet agent named Arthur Adams. Hinskey was dismissed from the Manhattan Project.

Nick’s parents divorced and his mother took her maiden name and gave it to Nick as his last name as well.

He graduated Erasmus High School (Brooklyn, NY) in 1959. In June 1961, Sand married his childhood friend Maxine “Melly” Lee Solomon. They moved to Israel and worked on a kibbutz.

They returned to the United States and in the fall 1962, Sand started taking classes at Brooklyn College. While there he read about psychedelics and in December 1962 took mescaline sulfate for the first time. He also began using peyote as well as smoking marijuana.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

DMT

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

Sand taught himself chemistry and during the summer of 1963 he set up a small lab in the attic of his mother’s house and learned how to make DMT—dimethyltryptamine—an hallucinogen used by injection. He eventually moved the lab to the basement to increase production

In the spring 1964, after chemical fire in basement, Nick moved his lab to a Brooklyn loft and called the business Bell Perfume Labs. He also developed a smokeable DMT.

Also at this time, Sand met Richard Albert (now, Ram Dass). Sand turned on Albert to DMT; Albert invited Sand to Millbrook, a farm in upstate New York, owned by Tommy and Billy Hitchcock, where Timothy Leary, Alpert, Ralph Metzner, and others had established an experimental psychedelic community.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand
Millbrook

Nick took LSD for the first time at Millbrook.

In 1965, a carboy of sulfuric acid in Nick’s lab spilled, dripped downstairs, and ruined fabric in the garment factory’s shop. Nick hastily relocated Bell Perfume Labs to a building filled with dental labs not far from the Brooklyn City Hall.

At the new location he continued to scale up his manufacturing of psychedelics; by this time he was using 72-liter flasks. Nick experimented with making LSD but wasn’t able to figure out how to purify it. His DMT wasn’t very pure at that stage either.

That same year, Nick’s marriage to Melly ended in 1965 because she was unable to convince Nick to give up his obsession with making psychedelics.

In 1966, Sand earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from Brooklyn College

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

Tim Scully

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

On August 27, 1944, Robert “Tim” Scully was born and grew up grew up in Pleasant Hill near San Francisco.

Scully was a precocious student.  In eighth grade he won honorable mention in the 1958 Bay Area Science Fair for designing and building a small computer. He spent summers working at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory on physics problems.

In his junior year of high school, Scully completed a small linear accelerator in the school science lab (he was trying to make gold atoms from mercury)

Scully skipped his senior year of high school and went directly to U.C. Berkeley majoring in mathematical physics. In 1964, after two years at Berkeley, Scully took a leave of absence because his services as an electronic design consultant were in high demand.

Tim Scully first took LSD on April 15, 1965. He believed at the time that, “ if everyone shared the experience of oneness, the world might be saved from nuclear destruction, which otherwise seemed likely.”

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

Scully Owsley

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

In late 1965, Scully met Stanley “Bear” Owsley. It was a few weeks before the Trips Festival [January 21, 22, & 23, 1966].

Owsley took  Scully as his apprentice and they pursued their mutual interest in electronics and psychedelic synthesis.

July 1966:  Owsley rented a house in Point Richmond, California and Owsley and Melissa Cargill (Owsley’s girlfriend who was a skilled chemist) set up a lab in the basement.

Scully worked there as Owsley’s apprentice. Owsley had developed a method of LSD synthesis which left the LSD 99.9% pure. The Point Richmond lab turned out over 300,000 tablets (270 micrograms each) of LSD they dubbed “White Lightning”.

Childhood friend Donald R Douglas was Scully’s lab assistant.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

Back East

In 1965 Millbrook created the Original Kleptonian Neo-American Church, whose clergy members, known as Boo Hoos, administered sacraments in the form of psychedelic drugs.

In September 1966, Timothy Leary formed the League for Spiritual Discovery (Advocates the free pursuit of spiritual enlightenment and religious practice by all persons, including those who use entheogenic substances as a Sacrament) as a religion that incorporated psychedelics drugs as sacraments.

Sometime after that he wrote a letter appointing Nick Sand as alchemist for the League for Spiritual Discovery and instructing law enforcement officials not to impede his work.

Sand began relationship with Jill Henry who was also a part of the Millbrook group.

Nick made a trip to California and  visited Owsley Stanley’s Point Richmond Lab. Owsley suggested to Sand that he should move to California.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

LSD illegal

October 6, 1966:  LSD became illegal in California. Owsley and Scully closed CA lab and decided to set up a new lab in Colorado. Scully’s friend Donald Douglas remained in CA to help set up a tableting operation for future supply in Orinda, CA.

December 8, 1966: DEA agent Aiden Hendrix reported that Donald Douglass had purchased bulk amounts of chemicals used for illicit drug making.

By early 1967, Scully had set up the new lab in the basement of a house across the street from the Denver zoo. He and Owsley worked there together, but eventually Owsley returned to CA for tableting of the LSD.

Authorities arrested Owsley on December 21, 1967. Tim Scully moved the lab to a different house in Denver after the arrest.

Owsley will be found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison.

Tim Scully had first met William “Billy” Mellon Hitchcock, grandson of William Larimer Mellon and great-great-grandson of Thomas Mellon, through Owsley in April 1967. Hitchcock loaned Scully $12,000 for the second Denver lab in 1968.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

Sand West

February 1967: interested in the synthesizing of LSD, Sand and David Mantell began dismantling Bell Perfume Labs in preparation of moving west. In March, the two began driving across the country so to set up the lab in California.

They failed to stop at a weighing station in Dinosaur, Colorado; and when Nick refused to pay a fine to the arresting officer, both men were jailed.

April 1967: a search of the truck discovered drugs and laboratory equipment. Authorities charged both with federal controlled substance offenses. After many months of legal maneuvering, the charges against them were dropped because the search of their truck was eventually found to have been illegal.

Free on bail, Nick and David finally made their way to California where Bear Owsley asked Tim Scully to teach Nick how to make DOM 2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine (DOM), a still-legal psychedelic known as “STP” on the street, so that Nick could get back on his feet after his Colorado bust.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand
Jill Henry

Nick traveled back to Millbrook, where he convinced Jill Henry to come to California with him. Initially, they lived on David Mantell’s ranch near Cloverdale, California.

By the end of 1967, Nick and David were using a surplus 200-gallon stainless steel soup kettle as a reaction vessel for making larger batches of STP. They also made smaller batches of DMT and methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), a psychedelic/empathogen similar to MDMA (Ecstasy).

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

Sand Scully

In January of 1968, Nick Sand and Tim Scully searched together for European sources of lysergic acid or ergot alkaloids as raw material for making LSD. Over the next six months they jointly acquired over a kilogram of lysergic acid and a smaller quantity of ergotamine tartrate.

Alice Einhorn, a childhood friend of Sand, helped smuggle the raw materials into the US: UK > Bahamas > Miami > CA.

On June 24, 1968. while in Europe searching for the precursor chemicals, Denver police discovered the second lab. Scully’s assistants were arrested and an arrest warrant for Scully was issued.

Donald Douglas decided at that point to get out of the drug business.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

California again

Still needing the know how, Nick Sand had agreed to finance a new lab for making LSD in return for Tim Scully teaching him the process, As part of their agreement, Tim insisted that any LSD they made would be distributed through The Brotherhood of Eternal Love

Nick Sand also agreed to handle the tableting of their product.

In December 1968 Nick Sand  purchased a farmhouse in Windsor, California where he and Tim Scully set up a large LSD lab.

Ultimately, this lab produced well over a kilo (more than four million 300 μg doses) of very pure LSD.

Nick Sand tableted this material as small orange pills that eventually became known as Orange Sunshine.  Mike Randell of the Brotherhood claims to have come up w the name Orange Sunshine.

Financial backer Billy Hitchcock asked if he could join the group in California. Scully and Sand approved.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

1969 – 1972

May 26, 1969, authorities arrested Tim Scully in California for the 1968 Denver lab. He decided to get out of the LSD business.

Late May of 1969, Nick closed the Windsor lab but that fall set up the Tekton Development Company in San Francisco to gather and construct  equipment for his next laboratory.

In October 1971, the Narcotics Traffickers Program had selected Nick Sand as a target for investigation by a joint federal narcotics and tax task force.

October 26, 1971 Scully’s Denver case dismissed due to illegal/warrentless entry.

In 1972 Jill Henry left the LSD operations and Sands.

Despite Billy Hitchcock’s urging to get out of the business, in 1972, Nick (using the alias Leland Jordan) and Judy Shaughnessy went on to set up a Signet Research and Development in downtown St. Louis, and a smaller lab in the basement of their rented house in Fenton, Missouri, where they made substantial amounts (millions of doses) of LSD and other psychedelics.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

August 5, 1972, 16 major Brotherhood figures were arrested along with 37 others in coordinated raids in Hawaii, Oregon, and numerous Southern California locations.

Toward the end of 1972, Nick Sand went on vacation. While away, police entered the St Louis house to check about a water leak and discovered the lab.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

Trials and appeals

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

In early 1973 federal authorities threatened Billy Hitchcock with 24 years in prison for tax evasion if he didn’t help the government convict the prime movers of the LSD cartel. Billy became an indicted co-conspirator by providing evidence and testifying against Tim Scully and Nick Sand.

In April 1973, Scully and Sand were both indicted. Scully’s defense was that he was producing ALD-52, which was legal, and not the controlled substance LSD-25.

November 5, 1973: trial began and on January 30, 1974, both Sand and Tim Scully were found guilty on multiple charges.

March 8, 1974, Judge Samuel Conti sentenced Sand  to 15 and Scully to 20 years. Nick was eventually sent to McNeil Island penitentiary to begin serving his 15-year sentence. (Conti would also be the judge in the Sarah Jane Moore trial the following year.)

Sand’s girlfriend snuck drugs into the prison and Sand had LSD sessions in his cell. Cellmate Scully did not participate, but worked in library where he read up on bail appeals.

Tim Scully won an appeal for bail reduction and Nick was able to ride on his coattails. Nick was released on appeal bond August 21, 1974.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

Scully Back In

Scully’s appeals ran out in late 1976, so he sold his stock in his company and began serving prison time in early 1977.

June 17, 1979:  while still in prison, Scully received a Ph.D. in psychology from the regionally accredited Humanistic Psychology Institute.

The Hour, a Norwalk, CT, newspaper reported that the Washington State Jaycees had chosen Scully as its Outstanding Young Man of the Year based on his development (while still in prison) of a computer device that enabled “a cerebral palsy victim to communicate with the rest of the world.”

Scully had first met the person while free on bail pending his sentencing.

Following the reduction of his sentence to ten years, he was released from prison on parole in August 1979.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

Sand on the run

Sand’s St Louis charges were eventually dropped (lack of a search warrant). but on September 11, 1976, Nick got word that his appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court was about to be denied.

He chose to become a fugitive and managed to elude federal surveillance with the help of Nancy Pinney [had met her in 1969] as his getaway driver. He threw away his wallet and his old ID as Nick Sand, eventually made his way to Canada, carrying a fishing pole to mislead Canada customs.

He entered Canada under the assumed name Ted Parody — officially Theodore Edward Parody III. He settled in the town of Lumby, in British Columbia, and began growing psilocybin mushrooms as a cash crop.

1981. After spending three years in India, Sands returned to Canada and constructed an LSD lab in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. Sand had located a source of ergotamine tartrate in India and made massive amounts of LSD during the years he lived there. He also developed methods to hydroponically grow marijuana.

September 26, 1996, “Ted Parody” was arrested at his lab with 5 kg of DMT, 3.5 kg of MDMA, 5 kg of MDA, 43 grams of LSD and 2.5 kilos of ergotamine tartrate.

By December of 1996, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police realized that the man they’d arrested was Nick Sand, who had been a fugitive for 20 years.

In February of 1998, Nick pled guilty to manufacturing drugs in Canada. He was given a nine-year sentence, which the Canadian authorities agreed to let run concurrently with his US sentence.

Nick’s lawyer eventually made a deal with the American authorities to allow him to be transported to the United States in return for credit for time served in Canada toward his 15-year American sentence.

In February of 1998, Nick pled guilty to manufacturing drugs in Canada. He was given a nine-year sentence, which the Canadian authorities agreed to let run concurrently with his US sentence. Nick’s lawyer eventually made a deal with the American authorities to allow him to be transported to the United States in return for credit for time served in Canada toward his 15-year American sentence.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

Sands back in

October 15, 1998: in San Francisco, Sands was tried for bail jumping and found guilty by Judge Conti, the same judge who had presided over the 1974 trial!

January 22, 1999: Conti sentenced Sand to an additional consecutive five-year term.

December 22, 2000:  Nick was released to a halfway house after winning an appeal that overturned his conviction for bail jumping because he was never given a specific date to report to the court.

Nick’s parole was terminated in 2005 and he was able to travel internationally again.

Sunshine Makers Scully Sand

Post Script

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

During 2013 and 2014, Sands and Scully participated in interviews with Cosmo Feilding Mellen; these were used in the 2017 documentary The Sunshine Makers.

Nick was talking about writing a memoir shortly before he died at his home in Lagunitas, California on April 24, 2017.

Owsley Stanley died after a car accident in Australia on March 12, 2011. Owsley’s  family and some of his close friends created The Owsley Stanley Foundation. It was incorporated on August 25, 2011 as a  non-profit dedicated to fostering diverse charitable, artistic, musical, and scientific endeavors for the public benefit.

Since his release from prison, Tim Scully has done many things: lectured in parapsychology at John F Kennedy University, been a research assistant in psychcophysiology  at the University of California, San Francisco, founded Pacific Bionic Systems (reformed in 1980 as Mendocino Microcomputers,  consulted the Esalen Institute and the Children’s Television Workshop on database management and computer games. He has published articles on biofeedback and technical computer topics.

He is now researching a book on the underground history of LSD.

Sunshine Synthesizers Scully Sand

Miracle 22nd Street

Miracle 22nd Street

Miracle 22nd Street

Whether you ever believed in Santa or not, belief in kindness and generosity will always prevail.

We all know that Santa’s address is simply “North Pole.”  Since the North Pole is outside the United States, it has no zip code, not that it would need one for a letter to get there.

Does Santa have a pied-à-terre?  Apparently so and it’s an apartment #7 on W 22nd Street in New York City.

Jim Glaud and Dylan Parker lived in that apartment. And for the first few years a several letters arrived addressed to Santa. A prank of some sort? Too few to be of any consequence, but in 2010 that changed: scores of Santa letters started to arrive.

Miracle 22nd Street

1962-themed party

Jim and Dylan decided to do something and practiced a bit of subterfuge. They would have a holiday party and get a little help from their friends. It’s theme was 1962.

As people arrived other guests asked them, “Did you get a letter yet?”  Friend after friend selected a letter and read. Then they decided to help.

There were over 400 letters–more than party guests could do–so Jim and Dylan started to reverse panhandle.  Opening a brief case filled with letters, they asked co-workers, neighbors, and eventually simply people on the street, “Would you like to be Santa?”

Miracle 22nd Street

Nearly complete success

All but a few of the letters received a response. Sometimes Santa’s helper simply mailed the gift. Sometimes Santa’s helper hand delivered the gift.

Miracle 22nd Street

Why 22nd Street?

Many have asked how the address became associated with Santa? Some guessed that somehow a school or church newsletter used the address (a member’s address?). Or another suggested that it could be traced back to The Night Before Christmas author Clement Clarke Moore, whose estate was nearby. He had received letters written to Santa after the publication of his classic poem in the 1800s.

Miracle 22nd Street

Miracle 22nd Street

The Giving Goes On

They continued each year and not a single letter has gone unanswered since 2010’s first batch — with people from all over the country and the world swooping in to help.

Jim and Dylan have moved, but they kept in touch with the new tenants and politely ask them to join the legacy–which each has.

Nowadays, some of the then young recipients are old enough to become helpers themselves and have done just that.

Miracle 22nd Street

Miracle On 22nd Street

Miracle 22nd Street

Miracle On 22nd Street is a non-profit run by Jim and Dylan and has spread well beyond New York City. In a 2016 People magazine article Jim said, “We’ve had people from Hawaii to Alaska, Germany to London, Nicaragua, Abu Dhabi, Tokyo — all helping. I guess that’s the power of social media. Why would a woman from Abu Dhabi care about some family from Corona, Queens? It’s amazing.”

The organization has an internet footprint, of course:

And there will be a movie that Tina Fey is writing.

Miracle 22nd Street

The Allusionist

Miracle On 22nd Street

I first heard of Jim and Dylan from a Radiotopia podcast (“Dear Santa“),  Helen Zaltzman’s The Allusionist, though, as is always the case, their story has being around the media for years.

Miracle 22nd Street

What's so funny about peace, love, art, and activism?

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