VIP Stephen Gaskin

Stephen Gaskin (February 16, 1935 - July 1, 2014 )

Stephen Gaskin, founder of The Farm, wrote about being turned on to marijuana in California at the age of 17 in the opening chapters of his book Haight Asbury Flashbacks. However, it wasn't a good experience, because his cousin "violated the Guide position" by messing with him while he was stoned. Ten years later, he wrote, "I really turned on....It felt like I had a tequila almendrada yellow filter on—yellow and goldy and everything....

"I just cruised through that night. And in the morning, I felt good; there was no hangover, like I usually had from boozing, because I had't boozed. I'd forgotten to drink because i was so delighted to be stoned. I thought, I'm probably not going to drink very much any more. And I'm probably going to do this a lot."

In the next chapter, he experiences "an ego death and rebirth on one toke of hash" and in the next, he has a hallucination on "dynamite reefer." He later wrote the book Cannabis Spirituality, including 13 Guidelines for Sanity and Safety, one of over a dozen books he authored.

According to Wikipedia, Gaskin went to prison in 1974 for marijuana possession, after members of the community had, against his recommendation, planted several marijuana plants on the Farm's property. He served one year of a three-year sentence, and following his release, his voting rights were rescinded. He brought a lawsuit challenging the legality of mass retroactive disenfranchisement under the Tennessee Constitution, Gaskin v. Collins. After winning in lower courts, the case went to the Tennessee Supreme Court and in 1981 returned voting rights to more than a quarter of a million citizens.

Gaskin was a Green Party presidential primary candidate in 2000 on a platform which included campaign finance reform, universal health care, and decriminalization of marijuana. He was recipient of the first Right Livelihood Award in 1980 and an inductee into the Counterculture Hall of Fame in 2004.

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