The late journalist and one-man party loved his wives, and his weed.
“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,” said Hunter S. Thompson.
Now, the man who invented what we now regard as Gonzo journalism may have his favorite cannabis strains resurrected for public consumption. His second wife, Anita Thompson, told The Aspen Times that she plans to clone the leftover herb from her late husband’s home stash.
It’s a fitting tribute to the journalistic visionary and early cannabis supporter.
Hunter S. Thompson was a friend and early supporter of NORML, a panelist at NORML conferences and a continuing member of NORML’s Advisory Board. On his passing, they issued the following statement: “Hunter was an inspiration to all of us who challenge the status quo in our work and lives. The ultimate outside-the-box visionary, his example reminds each of us to keep asking questions wherever we find ourselves, and whatever we do.”
It was a chance encounter in 1972 that gave the founder of NORML the chance to smoke with the legend at the Democratic National convention in Miami.
“I had founded NORML 18 months earlier in late 1970, but few people were yet aware of our work,” wrote NORML founder Keith Stroup.
NORML was there to join the anti-Vietnam war activists along with proponents for all sorts of social change, from environmentalism to gay rights to workers’ rights.
“When I met Hunter,” Stoup recalled, “he was smoking a joint under the bleachers at the opening night of the convention.”
Sitting in the stands listening to the speeches – he smelled marijuana and quickly realized it was coming from down below.
“I looked below the bleachers and what I saw was a fairly big guy smoking a fairly fat joint. He was trying to be discreet, but it wasn’t working very well. I could see him hunkering in the shadows – tall and lanky, flailing his arms and oddly familiar. Jesus Christ, I suddenly realized, that’s Hunter S. Thompson!”
Cannabis companies are clamoring for the chance to produce his bud.
“Since it became legal I get approached probably once a month by cannabis growers, dispensaries…I’ve had probably 10 meetings in the last three years and I always ended up saying ‘No’ because it’s the same story every time: somebody wants to slap Hunter’s name on their strain.”
It’s been eleven years since Thompson put a bullet through his head at his Owl Creek farm in Colorado.
This year, Anita took over his 42-acre property.
“I am in the process of making the strains available to those who would like to enjoy the authentic Gonzo strains in legal states,” she said in a Facebook post. “I am looking forward to making the authentic strains available in legal states to support the farm and the scholarships.”
According to her Facebook post, the non-traditional writer’s residence program will also be open for select musicians. She describes plans for a program that allows for several band members to stay at the Owl Creek property for periods of time to write and record in the small basement recording studio.
She vows the proceeds from the cannabis sales would go towards renovating the property and turning it into a private museum and writer’s retreat.
Thompson’s style of renegade journalism and questionable questioning of the political system were honorable traits – traits distinctly left-of center – and parallel to the professional cannabis community that has emerged in the era of legalization, as they forge a way for the infantile marijuana market to mature.
As Thompson said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”