High Times

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Cover image of High Times '​ premiere issue, Summer 1974.

High Times is a New York based monthly magazine founded in 1974 by Tom Forcade. The publication is devoted to, and advocates the legalization of cannabis.

High Times has long been influential in the marijuana-using counterculture. Past contributors include Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson and Andy Warhol.


The magazine was founded in 1974 by Tom Forçade of the Underground Press Syndicate. High Times was originally meant to be a joke, a single issue lampoon of Playboy, substituting dope for sex. But the magazine found an audience, and in November 2009, celebrated its 35th anniversary. Like Playboy each issue contains a centerfold photo, but instead of a nude woman, High Times typically features a cannabis plant. What started as a joke:

a one-shot lampoon of "Playboy"...was a huge success, with its circulation was audited by ABC and sold 550,000 copies (and the audit didn't include another 60,000 copies) within a year. Advertising sales grew at a feverish rate with the addition of Richard Laskey and Shelly Schorr to the staff. Schorr, an Alternative Press Syndicate member, brought advertisers to the magazine from record labels, stereo equipment and "straight" advertisers that they wanted and weren't getting. Laskey became the co-publisher when the magazine grew its circulation, advertising and started 3 new titles.
—Joe Armstrong, publisher of National Lampoon.

The magazine soon became a monthly with a growing circulation audited by ABC reaching 500,000 copies an issue; rivaling Rolling Stone and National Lampoon. The staff quickly grew to 40 people. In addition to high-quality photography, High Times featured cutting-edge journalism covering a wide range of topics including politics, activism, drugs, sex, music and film. In 2002 High Times began a study to find the origin of the marijuana plant, tracing it as far back as 2,364,985 years, alone with the dinosaurs and cavemen. Tom Forçade was quoted as saying "Those cavemen must've been stoned, no pun intended". Tom Forçade’s previous attempts to reach a wide counterculture audience by creating a network of underground papers (UPS & APS) had failed, even though he had a stable of noteworthy writers, photographers, artists and cultural icons. Yet, through High Times, Forçade was able to get his message to the masses without relying on mainstream media. In 1988, Steven Hager was hired as editor-in-chief. He began a campaign to encourage personal use and cultivation of cannabis. Hager founded the High Times Cannabis Cup and the High Times Freedom Fighters (one of the original hemp legalization groups). During the 1990s, publisher John Holmstrom guided the magazine to new success, increasing advertising revenue and website presence.

Current staff

The current High Times staff is headed by publisher Mary McEvoy, who has held this position since 2004. Under her leadership, High Times has added pages in the magazine, increased ad revenue, and extended the reach of the Cannabis Cup. The editorial staff is led by editor-in-chief Dan Skye, a long-time staff member whose writing and photography is frequently featured. Editorial staff members include Managing Editor, Jen Bernstein; Senior Cultivation Editor, Danny Danko; Director of Digital Media, Zena Tsarfin; Senior Editors, Bobby Black and Mike Hughes; Lifestyle Editor, Mary Jane Gibson; Sordid Affairs Editor, Chris Simunek; Art Director, Frank Max; Design Director, Roxanna Allen and Video Editor, Tristan Fugue.

Related endeavors


High Times sponsors numerous cannabis-related events:

  • The High Times Cannabis Cup is the world’s preeminent marijuana festival. The Cannabis Cup takes place each November in Amsterdam. The event allows judges from around the world to sample and vote for their favorite cannabis strains, seeds and hash. The High Times Cannabis Cup also includes live music, comedy and an expo for marijuana-related products.
  • In 2010, High Times mounted its first Cannabis Cup in the United States. The magazine now holds Cannabis Cups in Northern and Southern California, Denver, Michigan, Seattle, with plans to hold a Cannabis Cup in Portland in 2015. The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup celebrates medical marijuana in states that have passed medical marijuana laws. The U.S. Cannabis Cup celebrates marijuana in states that have passed laws that legalize marijuana for adult, recreational use. Like the High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, marijuana strains are judged and Cups (trophies) are awarded in a number of categories.
  • The High Times Stony Awards celebrates the best stoner movies and television shows. The first event was held in New York City in 2002. Hosts have included Jim Breuer, Redman and Tommy Chong.
  • The High Times Doobie Awards are held in Austin, Texas each spring at the same time as South by Southwest (SXSW). The Doobies celebrate the best marijuana music and the event features live performances and an awards ceremony.
  • High Times has held two World Stoner Games in Toronto.
  • Miss High Times is crowned on April 20 every year.

Recognition and award ceremonies

  • The High Times Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award has been awarded to Lester Grinspoon (2010), Jack Herer (2011), Keith Stroup (2011), Michael and Michelle Aldrich (2011), Richard Lee (activist) (2012), Vivian McPeak (2012), Dennis Peron (2013), Rick Steves (2013), Chuck Ream (2014) and Marc Emery (2014).
  • Freedom Fighter of the Month awards are awarded monthly in the magazine.
  • Freedom Fighter of the Year is awarded to an activist annually for extraordinary commitment to the cause of cannabis. Winners include Debby Goldsberry (2011), Mason Tvert (2012)
  • Each year High Times inducts a member of the counterculture, living or deceased, into the Counterculture Hall of Fame Award (in Amsterdam).
  • STASH Awards for grow technology (September issues)
  • Seed Bank Hall of Fame (October 2007, August 2009)
  • Courage in Media Award, Charlo Greene (October 2014, New York)

Film production

  • Produced the 1978 documentary D.O.A., directed by Lech Kowalski
  • Produced the 1989 documentary Chef Ra Escapes Babylon directed by Scott Kennedy
  • Produced the 1990 documentary Let Freedom Ring, starring Willie Nelson, Gatewood Galbraith, Chef RA and the Soul Assassins, directed by Bob Brandel
  • Produced the 1995 documentary 8th Cannabis Cup, starring the Cannabis Cup Band, directed by Beth Lasch
  • Produced the 1996 documentary 9th Cannabis Cup, starring John Trudell and Murphy's Law, directed by John Viet
  • Produced the 1999 documentary 11th Cannabis Cup, starring John Sinclair and the Blues Scholars, directed by Steven Hager
  • Produced the 2000 documentary Grow Secrets of the Dutch Masters directed by Steven Hager
  • Co-produced the 2002 indie comedy Potluck, featuring Frank Adonis, Theo Kogan, Jason Mewes and Tommy Chong and directed by Alison Thompson
  • Produced the 2003 documentary High Times Presents The Cannabis Cup directed by Steven Hager, distributed by Koch Entertainment
  • Produced the 2003 documentary Ganja Gourmet directed by David Bienenstock and starring Chef RA
  • Produced the 2005 documentary Jorge Cervantes Ultimate Grow DVD, directed by David Bienenstock
  • Produced the 2008 documentary, Miss High Times Swimsuit Video, directed by Nick Krasnic
  • Produced the 2008 documentary, 20th Cannabis Cup, directed by Guy Fiorita and featuring Red Man and the High Times staff


High Times Records has released one compilation CD called High Times Presents THC Vol. 1 (The Hip-Hop Collection Volume 1). The album was produced by High Times writer and the founder of Nature Sounds Records, Devin Horwitz. The tracklisting is:

  1. Intro – Lord Sear

2.Bart Burnt – The High & Mighty

3. High Times – Black Moon (group)/Starang Wondah/Sean Price/Top Dog (rapper)

4. Something About Mary – Serial Rhyme Killers

5. Sweet Dreams – Intoxicated Demons

6.Roll Up – Shabaam Sahdeeq/Steele (rapper)

7. Puff, Puff, Pass – HOM

8. Bomb Tree – Defari

9. Get You Head Right – Afu-Ra

10. Sticky Green – The Pharcyde

11.Big Green Buds – J-Ro/Phil Tha Agony/Chocolate Tye

12. My Favorite Ladies – MF Doom

13. Escape – Ripshop

14. Take A Hit – Lootpack

15. So High (G-13) – RZA/Timbo King

16. Medicated - Wiz Khalifa

Book publishing

  • Danko, Danny (2011). The Official High Times Field Guide to Marijuana Strains. High Times Books. ISBN 978-1-893010-28-4.
  • Bienenstock, David (2008). The Official High Times Pot Smoker's Handbook. High Times Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-6205-9.
  • Hager, Steven (2002). Adventures in the Counterculture: From Hip Hop to High Times. High Times Books. ISBN 1-893010-14-7.
  • Krassner, Paul (2001). Psychedelic Trips for the Mind. High Times Books/ editor: Steven Hager. ISBN 1-893010-07-4.
  • Lewin, Natasha (2010). The Official High Times Pot Smoker's Activity Book. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-6206-6.
  • Eudaley, Chris (2000). How to Be a Pot Star Like Me: What Every Marijuana Enthusiast Should Know. High Times Books. ISBN 1-893010-06-6.
  • Krassner, Paul; foreword by Harlan Ellison (1999). Pot Stories for the Soul. High Times Books/ editor: Steven Hager. ISBN 1-893010-02-3.
  • Gaskin, Stephen (1998). Cannabis Spirituality: Including 13 Guidelines for Sanity and Safety. High Times Books/ editor Steven Hager. ISBN 0-9647858-6-2.
  • The High Times Encyclopedia of Recreational Drugs. Stonehill Pub Co. 1978. ISBN 0-88373-082-0.

In 2004 Annie Nocenti and Ruth Baldwin edited The High Times Reader, a collection from past issues of High Times, with an introduction by Paul Krassner. Writers included Al Aronowitz, George Barkin, Ann Louis Barsach, Chip Berlet, Steve Bloom, Michael Bloomfield, Victor Bockris, William S. Burroughs, Mark Christensen, Ed Dwyer, Bruce Eisner, David Enders, Thomas King Forcade, Andrew Kowl, Bruce Jay Friedman, Josh Alan Friedman, Kinky Friedman, Steven Hager, Debbie “Blondie” Harry, J. Hoberman, Mark Jacobson, David Katz, Paul Krassner, Dean Latimer, Carlo McCormick, Barry Miles, Cookie Mueller, Glenn O'Brien, Joey Ramone, Ron Rosenbaum, Jerry Rubin, Luc Sante, Larry “Ratso” Sloman, Terry Southern, Peter Stafford, Richard Stratton, Teun Voeten, Andy Warhol, Andrew Weil, Mike Wilmington, Robert Anton Wilson, and Frank Zappa.


Over the years numerous celebrities have been interviewed by or appeared on the cover of High Times.

List of celebrities appearing in High Times:

  • David Arquette
  • Jack Black
  • Eddie Bravo
  • B-Real of Cypress Hill
  • Jimmy Buffett
  • George Carlin
  • Noam Chomsky
  • Tommy Chong
  • Sacha Baron Cohen
  • Rory Cochrane
  • Kid Cudi
  • Bob Dylan
  • Dez Fafara
  • Game (rapper)
  • Jerry Garcia
  • John Garcia
  • Woody Harrelson
  • Bill Hicks
  • Ice Cube
  • Insane Clown Posse
  • Mick Jagger
  • Jenna Jameson
  • Milla Jovovich
  • Kottonmouth Kings
  • Noah Lennox
  • Alex Lifeson
  • Tim Lincecum
  • Beenie Man
  • Marilyn Manson
  • Bob Marley
  • Damian Marley
  • Stephen Marley
  • Cheech Marin
  • Method Man
  • mc chris
  • Jason Mewes
  • Mobb Deep
  • Alanis Morissette
  • Jason Mraz
  • Nas
  • Willie Nelson
  • Ted Nugent
  • Ozzy Osbourne
  • Sean Paul
  • Michael Phelps
  • Redman
  • Asher Roth
  • Busta Rhymes
  • Rusko
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Kevin Smith
  • Snoop Dogg
  • Rick Steves
  • Oliver Stone
  • Tenacious D
  • Rob Thomas
  • Twiztid
  • Rob Van Dam
  • Hank Williams III
  • Ying Yang Twins