Great Moments in Weed History delves deep into humanity's 10,000+ year relationship with cannabis (a.k.a. marijuana) to find the humor, heart, and historical importance of this very special plant. In each episode, co-hosts Abdullah and Bean blaze joints, crack jokes, and explore everything from the night Willie Nelson smoked a joint on the roof of the White House and Maya Angelou's life-changing first time getting stoned to how cannabis influenced ancient cultures..
Billie Holiday vs. Harry J. Anslinger
In a tale of weedy vengeance, Abdullah and Bean investigate the life of Harry J. Anslinger—America’s first “drug czar,” author of Marijuana: Assassin of Youth, and the man most responsible for the global prohibition of cannabis. And then they settle the score.
This episode is tied to the premiere of The United States vs. Billie Holiday, a new film from Lee Daniels (Push, Empire) telling the awful true story of how Harry Anslinger used the full power of federal law enforcement to target the legendary jazz singer for multiple arrests, ultimately hounding her into an early grave.
Highlighted by a brilliant Golden-Globe-nominated performance from Andra Day, the film rightly casts Anslinger as the villain. But with the narrative focused on Holiday and an undercover FBN agent tasked with taking her down, the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and his decades-long racist campaign against weed doesn’t get a lot of screen time.
So Abdullah and Bean decided to dig deep into Anslinger's horrific life story.
And yes, exact an herbally-infused revenge worthy to be called a great moment in weed history!
Special thanks to Johann Hari whose excellent book Chasing the Scream greatly informed this episode.
Clips come from: Steve Martin on Saturday Night Live, George Carlin from his album Toledo Window Box, The Big Lebowski, Marijuana: Assassin of Youth, and the legend Ed “NJ Weedman” Forchion
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Santa's A Psychedelic Mushroom Shaman
Explore Santa Claus’s psychedelic roots in Siberia in the only Christmas Special where Old St. Nick gifts you magic mushrooms and even the reindeer get high AF (just ask Blixen)!
So hang on to your sleigh bells, because Abdullah and Bean will be celebrating the holiday season this year with Amanita muscaria mushrooms, cannabis-infused cookies, marijuana mistletoe and fermented yak milk, just as Santa always intended
Special thanks to Harvard professor Donald Pfister for his enlightening annual lecture on Psychedelic Santa! And to friend-of-the-podcast Nonna Marijuana of WAMM, who turns 98 this Christmas Day. You can watch Nonna and Abdullah make “egg nug” together in the Bong Appetit Christmas special. Or watch Nonna make medicated latkes.
Check out Doubleblind magazine and MAPS for more information on psychedelics.
AND VERY SPECIAL THANKS to our good friends at Tweedle Farms. Go to tweedlefarms.com and use promo code "great holiday" for a 20% discount on high-quality high-CBD cannabis flower and products shipped direct to your door from their Oregon farm.
Thanks to all our listeners and especially our supporters on Patreon! If you enjoy Great Moments in Weed History please drop us a line on social media (@gmiwhpodcast) and tell a friend about the show!
John Lennon Was A Weed Dreamer
In 1971, John Lennon performed publicly, for the first time in five years, at a rally decrying the injustice of Michigan police targeting a radical political activist for an elaborate undercover sting operation, resulting in a sentence of ten years in prison for passing two joints.
The concert brought massive media attention, and John Sinclair soon after walked out of prison a free man, landing John Lennon on Richard Nixon's official enemies list.
For the next three years, the President's "plumbers" harassed the former Beatle and his wife Yoko Ono, while the INS threatened him with deportation over an old hashish bust back in England. Meanwhile the FBI tapped his phones and sent agents to tail his every move
Lennon, Ono, and their legal team fought them every step, and along the way created a new legal precedent in immigration law that still stands as today's DREAM act. (At the time of this podcast, the Supreme Court had yet to rule on a case brought by the Trump administration challenging DACA and the DREAM Act).
Read John Lennon vs. The USA (written by Lennon's immigration attorney Leon Wildes) for more info, and watch the documentary The U.S. vs John Lennon
Also learn more about Dr. Lester Grinspoon (whose expert witness on the difference between "marijuana" and "hashish" helped save the day) in our Season 1 episode about Carl Sagan.
Big thanks to Tweedle Farms for their support this season! Go to Tweedlefarms.com and use promo code greatmoments for a discount on CBD products shipped anywhere in the U.S.
Long live Nutopia!
The Grateful Dead Fight the Man (And Win)
Jerry Garcia and Mountain Girl sat rolling joints and cleaning the stems and seeds from a brick of weed when a fateful knock came at the door of 710 Ashbury Street.
Having your communal crash pad raided by the police isn’t typically the start of a great moment, but for the Grateful Dead, the October 1967 undercover police sting operation that targeted their home and headquarters turned into a pivotal inflection point in the band’s trajectory. One that would change cannabis history and spread weed consciousness around the world.
That's because rather than pleading out or turning informant, they held a press conference right in the same room where they’d been busted, calling out the local police and the national War on Drugs as a racist, hypocritical, counter productive, unconstitutional failure.
Abdullah and Bean also discuss the huge role the band and their many Deadhead followers played in spreading high quality marijuana and seeds across the country, including classic strains like Sour Diesel and Chemdog.
Very special thanks to the legend Harry Shearer (The Simpsons, Spinal Tap) for guesting on this episode, as he actually wrote the 1967 pro-legalization statement the Dead presented at their press conference.
Read more first person accounts of this incident in Rock Skully's book Living with the Dead and in Rosie McGee's memoir Dancing with the Dead.
Hear the Grateful Dead's October 22, 1967 Marijuana Defense Benefit concert in its entirety at archive.org
Check out Grateful Dead historian Dennis McNally's book A Long Strange Trip.
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The High Hindu Holiday
Once a year, Hindus celebrate cannabis and the god Shiva with the ancient festival of Maha Shivaratri, an all-night affair of fasting, meditation, chanting, and dancing.
Abdullah tells Bean the story in this Freaky High-Day episode, and the guys talk Hinduism, the divine origins of cannabis, weed-loving deities, and psychedelics.
They also try hash-infused Bhang, one of the world's oldest edibles and maybe Shiva's favorite.
Support the show buy supporting our sponsors! Visit Tweedlefarms.com and use promo code greatmoments for a discount on quality CBD products.
Bong Hits for Jesus!
A weed-fueled stoner prank escalated to the highest court in the land after a student in Juneau, Alaska used the opportunity of the olympic torch passing through town to unfurl a banner reading "Bong Hits For Jesus."
What makes this a truly great moment in weed history is not just the way Joseph Frederick thumbed his nose at an oppressive high school and its humorless principal, but the years he spent afterward, defending his personal liberty and the free speech rights of all students in the United States.
Along the way, he'd face police harassment, multiple arrests, and a series of courtroom battles that led all the way to the Supreme Court. Where the Justices repeatedly had to say and hear the words Bong Hits for Jesus.
Visit our sponsors at Tweedlefarms.com and use promo code greatmoments for a discount on quality CBD products!
Customer ReviewsSee All
One of my favourite podcasts! Entertaining and eductional
The only thing that sucks about this podcast is it looks like they aren’t still making them.
All time favourite
I love what you guys do! This is by far my favourite podcast- entertaining, intelligent, hilarious, well informed and sticking to what makes marijuana as beautiful as it is. The counter culture, the people, the history and the love. I can’t wait for more episodes and thank you for doing it. Your an inspiration to me and since listening to your podcast I have begun my own exploration into following my inner ganjapreneur. 🙌 thank you. Keep it up and nothing but respect.