28 May 2012 - Cannabis legends John Sinclair and Howard Marks kicked off the Irish part of their tour in Dublin.
American activist, poet, radio maker and former manager of MC5, John Sinclair and author, former international drug trafficker, Howard Marks (aka Mr. Nice) took their show, called Breathin Air, on the road last week, starting with a performance at the Udderbelly Festval in London.
On his way over from Amsterdam to London however, Sinclair was detained at the airport by British customs officers for carrying his medical marijuana with him. Sinclair has an prescription and an official license from the State of Michigan to use marijuana, but the British authorities did not reconize these documents and evenually took the medicine and gave him a 50 Pound fine before sending him on his way.
Friends of Cannabis spoke to John who reported: “My medical marijuana prescription was not recognized by the British customs desk and I was arrested briefly when I got to St Pancras on Tuesday before paying a £50 fine and giving up my medicine. Ugh! So Howard projected my fine papers on the screen behind us to start our show at the Udderbelly Festival.”
Later that evening John jokily referred to the incident on BBC Radio's The Late Show with Joanne Good, saying he payed the fine because he wanted to be in time for the interview.
Today John Sinclair and Howard Marks will continue their tour in Belfast followed by Waterford, Limerick and Kilkenny.
8 May 2012 - For the first time in front of a live audience, living legends John Sinclair (American political activist, poet & former manager of MC5) and Howard Marks (best-selling author, former international drug trafficker and all round roguish charmer) will be teaming up to share their fascinating and, at times, truly incredible stories with each other.
The two veteran raconteurs will delve into the haze of their era-shaping pasts, as Howard, a vigorous advocate for the legalisation of recreational drugs interviews John about his own lifelong activism and how he became a figurehead for counterculture the world over. From John's recent involvement with Meltdown festival curated by Massive Attack and the launch of the Music is Revolution Foundation, to reflecting upon his part in founding the revolutionary White Panther Party, managing the MC5 and sparking the legendary 1971 "John Sinclair Freedom Rally" you'll see why it's not just anybody who could have inspired John Lennon to write a song about him!
This unique opportunity to share the experiences of an outlaw icon who knows what it means to stand up for what you believe in will reveal just what life is like campaigning for social justice and speaking out against an oppressive establishment and the price at which that comes.
Breathin' Air with Howard Marks and John Sinclair will be a trip you won't forget!
10 Dec 2011 - Today marks the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally at the Crisler Arena and John Sinclair’s subsequential release from prison. The Freedom Rally was held to protest the ten-year prison term given to Sinclair for the possession of two marijuana cigarettes.
John Lennon stepped in and wrote his seminal protest song "John Sinclair," put it on his album Sometime In New York City, and performed it in Ann Arbor at the landmark John Sinclair Freedom Rally in December 1971 with Yoko Ono, David Peel and the Lower East Side. Other performers included Stevie Wonder, Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, the jazz artists Archie Shepp and Roswell Rudd, and speakers Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman and his Chicago 8 co-defendants Rennie Davis, David Dellinger, Jerry Rubin, and Bobby Seale.
Three days later John Sinclair was released from prison when the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the state's marijuana statutes were unconstitutional. These events inspired the creation of Ann Arbor’s annual pro-legalization Hash Bash rally, which continues to be held as of 2011, and contributed to the drive for decriminalization of marijuana under the Ann Arbor city charter.
The enduring Michigan tradition of supporting marijuana law reform began with John Sinclair and has led most recently to the state’s voters approving medical marijuana in 2008. Without John Sinclair, there would not be a Medical Cannabis Cup in Detroit, which is why High Times honoured him with the fourth Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award in October of this year.
The John Sinclair Freedom Rally was filmed and released as Ten For Two. Watch it here:
08 Nov 2011 - This December marks the 40th anniversary of the Free John Sinclair Rally and John Sinclair’s subsequential release from prison.
John Sinclair has made a legendary contribution to cannabis legalization. He became a heroic icon of counterculture and of cannabis activism when he in 1969 was arrested for giving two joints to an undercover narcotics officer. He was sentenced to 10 years for possession of marijuana.
This event caused widespread reactions. Abbie Hoffmann jumped the stage during The Who’s concert during the legendary Woodstock Festival in protest of Sinclair’s arrestment, and several protest were issued in the aftermath of the arrest.
24 March 2010 - The poet, writer and political activist John Sinclair paid a heavy price for assuming a high profile in the counterculture of the 1960s. Arrested in 1969 for giving two joints to an undercover narc sentenced to 10 years, he served 29 months in prison - attracting widespread attention and a slew of high-profile supporters, most famously the late John Lennon - before the Michigan Supreme Court heard his appeal and ruled the state's marijuana law was unconstitutional.
Now, at an age when most people have retired, he's about to join the vanguard again, preparing to help push the envelope of the state's medical marijuana law as he and a group of fellow travelers prepare to open what will be Detroit's first "compassion center."