Positive Use of Celebrity
Hunter S. Thompson was a lot of things: a journalist, an activist and a celebrity. But one thing he was always clear about were his opinions regarding drug laws in this country. They were in a way the cornerstone of the character he created in Gonzo, who would always be over-shadowed by more extreme drugs, mainly LSD and speed.
Even still, Thompson never pulled any punches when it came to his beliefs on drug prohibition. When he ran for Sherriff of Aspen, Colorado, he shaved his head so he could refer to his opponent as “long-haired,” and declared himself as the Freak Power Candidate. While he advocated the legalization of all drugs across the board, marijuana was his preferred drug of choice. On total legalization, he said, “I think it’ll be hard on some people at first, but that’s how you’ve got to handle drugs. Look at prohibition, all it did was make a lot of criminals rich.”
I have always loved marijuana. It has been a source of joy and comfort to me for many years. And I still think of it as a basic staple of life, along with beer and ice and grapefruits – and millions of Americans agree with me.
–Hunter S. Thompson
When interviewed for a BBC documentary, he told the interviewer, “It’d be in your best interest if I smoked a joint and calmed down.” Visibly irritated by the English interviewer, he pulled from his pocket a sandwich bag filled with weed and papers and continued, “I’m feeling rage build up in me as we speak,” while he rolled a nice sized joint for himself.
Hunter S. Thompson’s Impact
What Thompson did was make marijuana more of a “home base,” of highs, from where he could regain a grip on reality and clear thinking. Which is, as every stoner knows, yet another benefit of consumption of the plant. He indirectly advocated marijuana use as normal behavior; as a way to find sanity in a world he considered anything but.
As a hero and icon of the counter-culture, Thompson’s significance was vast and covered too many areas to mention, from civil rights to free-speech. But what he achieved with his views and use of marijuana, was the beginning of a universal truth: marijuana is not harmful in any way, and it is useful in more areas than can be counted. Thompson knew it was true, and perhaps thought, as many of us do, that it was a far-gone conclusion.