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.