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Mister Nice — Howard Marks Plays Dolans

I’m looking forward to seeing Howard Marks in Dolans next Friday.  The tokin’ jester.

His blurb describes him as a writer, creator, contributor, storyteller, comedian, philosopher, teacher, stoner, singer, actor, DJ, social commentator and an all round Nice guy.

Fair enough.  Whatever else he is, Howard Marks is interesting.  He’s led the sort of life that won’t leave him wondering as he lies on the proverbial death-bed, What if ..?

He did hard time in the States for soft drugs: Marks became a huge cannabis dealer, at one time controlling 10% of the world’s cannabis, though he claims never to have dealt in anything more severe, and nobody has contradicted that assertion.

According to his own website, during the mid 1980s, Marks had forty-three aliases, eighty-nine phone lines, and twenty five companies trading throughout the world.

Marks is an extraordinary creature: a scientist by training and a dope-head by inclination, he fucking loves the stuff, and he turned that love for herb into a life’s work.  He’s been everywhere.  He ran dope with the IRA and got recruited by MI6.   He’s met everyone.  He might well have shagged everyone too, for all I know.

He thinks.  He talks.   He’s no fool and despite what the moral majority might think, he isn’t Satan.  However, Marks was operating in a different time, when cannabis was still the preserve, to some extent anyway, of hippies and spacers, and dodgy characters who called everyone Man, out for a fast buck, but he isn’t naive.  He knows full well that the stuff wasn’t all coming from smiling, happy, well-fed farmers in Lebanon and Morocco.

You know what I think about cannabis.  I think it should be legal, and let’s have an end to all this pointless cops ands robbers stuff that never ends and can never have a result.

However, there’s another side to it: the illegality produces criminality and that’s what I want to hear more about: the line between naivety and self-delusion that permits a man with the intelligence of Howard Marks to avoid thinking about the kind of people who produce the goods he imports and exports and what they get up to in the course of that business.

5 replies on “Mister Nice — Howard Marks Plays Dolans”

I just watched “Mr Nice” last night, a good film although it could only brush over the book that is so comprehensive and a fascinating read, should be a great evening.

Yup.The book was a great read and the film was entertaining.Rhys Jones is damn good in it.You’re right on the ball though Bock.Different times.Now It’s all scumbag territory.Legalise it.I just drank 7 or 8 pints and the silly cunts won’t arrest me for that.

Interesting point alright that needs definite discussion. Somewhere along the line there’s always someone being screwed, and like you said, it’s usually some poor farmer probably growing his crops in front of men with AK-47’s.

There are plenty of people out there who have a conscience about this kind of thing and the ideal solution would be to cultivate a couple of plants for personal consumption, thereby breaking any ties with the criminals that control the business these days. But unfortunately even one plant can land you in serious hot water.

Kind of ironic that they’d send you to jail for not wanting to support organised crime.

Few years since i read the book (good read), and if i remember correctly the man had a public school education – an institution and peers that are all about aspiration and ambition. So, almost by accident he starts making a few bob selling the weed and before he knows it he’s got an industry on his hands! That’d be the ‘naive’ period.

The industry grows and the big bucks start to flow, the contacts get a bit darker and have guns, the market is demanding – that’d be the ‘self-delusional’ period.

Banged up for a few years, paid your dues and had time to think – now in the ‘philosophical’ time of life i’d guess.

Reckon he probably thinks life is about the way the cookie crumbles. Many of those peers back in the early days probably went into banking and politics, and who’s to say who ultimately did the more damage!

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