Tag Archives: Marijuana

Haight Street Head Shops

Haight Street Head Shops

On January 3, 1966 the legendary Psychedelic Shop on Haight Street opened its doors. It was likely the first, but no one was keeping track.

Haight Street Head Shops

Haight Street Head Shops

Why “Head” ?

Why did the word “head” come to refer to someone who used marijuana? The association between the word head and drug use goes back at least to 1911 when the writer C B Chrysler wrote in White Slavery Opium smokers, ‘hop fiends,’ or ‘hop heads,’ as they are called, are the fiercest of all the White Slavers.”

In other words, the drug of choice, usually an illegal one, was the prefix for the word “head” until the word alone referred to a drug user.

In the 1960, the most common drug was marijuana, of course, so a “head” commonly referred to that person and that drug.

Haight Street Head Shops

Feed Your HeadHead shops

While that use of the word may have been an underground one, entrepreneurs would still shy away from using that specific a word to name their establishment.

Head shops were not simply a supply store. They were places where so-called underground news was found whether it be in newspapers, flyers, or political conversation.

What were a head shop’s supplies? Black lights for posters that used inks containing phosphors. When the ultraviolet light hit those inks the posters glowed. A nice enhancement to an evening atmosphere in a dorm room or a basement rec room.

The pill case, but not the pills, The grass container, but not the grass.

Candles and incense. The Beatles influence went beyond music, of course, and their delving into Eastern philosophy meant those things associated with the East were automatically interesting.

When tie-dyed clothing became popular, it joined the scene along with other “hip” clothing along side water buffalo sandals.

Haight Street Head Shops

Accouterments

Haight Street Head Shops

Not that a head shop sold the drugs themselves (at least not directly), but the shop sold those things necessary for drug use. Rolling papers (Zig Zag? Big Bambu?), hash pipes, and water pipes (for those harsher cheaper blends that were the only mixes sometimes available or adding a bit of mentholated mouth wash to the water for a cooler drag).

Haight Street Head Shops

On line

Google “on line head shop” and not surprisingly one will discover that that they are there in full. “Smoke Cartel,” “Dankstop,” “Everyonedoesit,”  “Smokesmith Gear“, and many others offer both the new necessities (vapes) and the old school standbys.

As always, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Haight Street Head Shops
Please follow and like us:

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

The narrator above refers to August 30, but it was…

August 28, 1964

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

She Loves You

The Beatles initial successes were great pop songs that many youth fell in love with at the same time they themselves were looking to fall in love. She Loves You, I Want to Hold Your Hand, Please Please Me, I Feel Fine, She’s a Woman, and We Can Work It Out are all loves songs. Some happier than others.

Someone once told me, if it’s a happy Beatle song, Paul wrote it; a sad one, John. While a generalization, it’s more often true than not.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

Maggie’s Farm

When I first heard Bob Dylan’s “I Ain’t Gonna’ Work on Maggie’s Farm No More” I was only a touch less confused about its lyrics than “Gates of Eden,” a song I had no idea what was happening other than Dylan was trying to harmonize with songs the lonesome sparrow sang.

Maggie’s Farm? Well there’s a guy obviously praying for rain, getting terribly underpaid, and whose boss is putting out his cigar on the guy’s face. I’d quit too.

Of course, that’s not what Dylan was saying. He was saying he wasn’t going to be the acoustic-folk-protest song-singer too many expected him to permanently be. Quitting. He was going  electric. And on July 25, 1965 he did just that at the Newport Folk Festival.

Many were displeased.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

August 28, 1964

The Beatles had begun their first full American tour on August 18 at the San Francisco Cow Palace. Ten days later they played for 16,000 fans at the Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, New York City. They would do the same the next night.

It was what happened in between that changed history.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

Al Aronowitz

Al Aronowitz was a writer who knew Bob Dylan and arranged for him to meet the Beatles at their hotel the night after that first concert.

Aronowitz later wrote: “The Beatles’ magic was in their sound,…Bob’s magic was in his words. After they met, the Beatles’ words got grittier, and Bob invented folk-rock.”

Cannabis may have been the source of all that musical cross pollination at that meeting. Beatles supposed unfamiliarity with the herb apparently surprised the already familiar Mr Dylan. [The four had tried it in Germany, but it did not impress them.]

Evidently, Ringo was unfamiliar with the not-Bogarting-that-joint protocol and kept things to himself. John, Paul, and George soon learned the etiquette.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

1965

  • March 27,  Dylan released Bringing It All Back Home on which “Maggie’s Farm” appears.
  • The Byrds’ covering of Dylan, particularly “Mr Tambourine Man” opened the door for folk-rock.
  • July 25, 1965 Dylan played Newport Folk Festival. Many in audience booed his performance for playing electric set with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
  • August 30, 1965,  Dylan released Highway 61 Revisited. More electric.
  • August 28, 1965 Dylan played at NYC’s Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. More boos during his electric set.
  • December 3, 1965 the Beatles released Rubber Soul. The course of pop music changed.
1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles
1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles
Please follow and like us:

Beatles Say Yes Legalize Grass

Beatles Say Yes Legalize Grass

July 24, 1967

Beatles Say Yes Legalize Grass

Beatles Say Yes Legalize Grass

Controversy and the Beatles

Beatles Say Yes Legalize Grass

By 1967, the Beatles were used to media scrutiny and controversy. Sometimes the media thrust it upon them; sometimes the Beatles put themselves out front. John’s 1965 comment comparing the Beatles’ popularity to that of Christ resulted in some radio stations banning their music and some record stores refusing to sell their records.

The original 1966 album cover for “Yesterday and Today” with them sitting in bloody butcher smocks holding pieces of meat and broken baby dolls was so controversial that Capital Records immediately withdrew the album, re-covered it, and only then re-released it.

Beatles Say Yes To Grass

Beatles Say Yes Legalize Grass

John Hopkins

In 1967, most people and their govenments continued to view marijuana as a gateway drug, addictive, and deadly. While research had already suggested that none of those views were accurate, society continued to legislate against its use, sale, and production.

Those familiar with the substance saw it in a different light.

John “Hoppy” Hopkins was a British photographer, journalist, researcher and political activist. He used marijuana and a jury found him guilty of its possession and use. The judge sentenced Hopkins to 9 months in prison.

A “Free Hoppy” movement resulted.  [2015 Guardian obituary]

Beatles Say Yes Legalize Grass

Stephen Abrams

Stephen Irwin Abrams was an American drug policy activist living in the United Kingdom. He led the “Free Hoppy” movement and wrote a full page advertisement that demanded cannabis law reform.

Beatles Say Yes Legalize Grass

Beatles join

Among the dozens of researchers, academics, scientists, and other well-known people, Abrams sought out the Beatles imprimatur. They not only granted the use of their names to the petition, Paul paid for the advertisement in  The Times. Paul did not want it known he had done so, but having such an illustrious person sponsoring such a controversial piece in a major paper meant the secret was poorly kept.

The text’s lead sentence read, “The law against marijuana is immoral in principle and unworkable in practice.”

It went on to speak to the view of marijuana’s danger and dispute those views.

64 signatures appeared.  After each of the Beatles’ names, the initials M.B.O. appeared: Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Queen Elizabeth had honored them with the award on October 26, 1965.

Click on the following to view the entire text, from the excellent Beatles Bible site.

Beatles Say Yes Legalize Grass

John Lennon, ex-M.B.E

Two years later, on Nov. 25, 1969, John Lennon returned his MBE medal stating, “Your Majesty, I am returning my MBE as a protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts. With love. John Lennon of Bag”

Likely, many of the same people who had criticized the Queen’s honoring John with the award because they felt him unworthy, again criticized Lennon for returning it.

Gosh darn it. The Beatles: damned when they do. Damned when they don’t.

Beatles Say Yes Legalize Grass

 

Please follow and like us: