Very Important Potheads
Find Stories of over 250 Famous Marijuana Connoisseurs By Category
The Very Important Potheads project began as a campaign for a 2001 Pot Pride parade in San Francisco designed by activist/author Ellen Komp. Accustomed to passing out quarter-page flyers for rallies and events (her personal record is 4500 in one afternoon), Komp designed a series of flyers featuring images and stories of famous cannabis consumers.
The response was immediate. “More than anything else I’ve done in my 20 years as an activist, the VIP project has seen the most positive response,” Komp says. “Marijuana enthusiasts feel pride in themselves the minute I hand them a flyer with a picture of an accomplished person who enjoys the herb.”
Non-puffers alike respond well to the project. In fact, polls have shown that someone’s prejudice against marijuana is most likely to change when they find out someone they know or admire uses it. Whatever field a person is interested in, VIPs.com provides a representative celebrity that will open their minds, whether it be Arts & Literature, Business, History & Politics, Movies & TV, Music, Science or Sports.
The campaign was first inspired by a speech given by Dr. Lester Grinspoon at the 2001 NORML conference at which he “outed” himself as a deliberate pot smoker. The discovery that Bing Crosby smoked pot before it was made illegal in 1937 was another watershed moment that spurred Komp to take the project on.
In its 10 years on the web, VeryImportantPotheads.com has grown to encompass a list of over 250 prominent people from throughout the ages whose contributions to society were arguably informed by the consciousness that cannabis brings. Rather than the “usual suspects,” the site seeks out the unusual and mind-blowing names for the VIP list, combing biographies and news stories, and following leads sent by readers. All the VIPs are verified with original sources as much as possible before they’re posted.
In 2010, the VIP blog, which for six years documented marijuana news, received a “Top Marijuana Blog” award from OnlineSchools.org. In addition, Komp was nominated for a Jack Herer award for Outstanding Hemp Awareness in Journalism. This was particularly appreciated because she worked with Herer as an activist and editor on his book The Emperor Wears No Clothes, another inspiration for the VIP project.
VIPs has merged its blog with TokinWoman.blogspot.com and is focusing on the female. Komp regularly contributes articles to CannabisCulture.com and other venues, and has published a book, Tokin' Women: A 4000-Year Herstory.