On The Passing of Hugh Hefner

C1_8734_r_xHugh Hefner, or “Hef” as he preferred to be called, played a crucial role in the early days of NORML. At a time when most Americans were accepting the government’s “reefer madness” propaganda, Hef, through the Playboy Foundation, provided NORML with our initial funding in early 1971, and became our primary funder all during the 1970s. And by focusing attention in Playboy magazine on some of the most egregious victims of the war against marijuana smokers, he helped us convince millions of Americans that marijuana prohibition was a misguided and destructive public policy.

Hefner was a fearless cultural crusader who believed deeply not just in the right to sexual freedom, but also in civil rights and the right to privacy. May he rest in peace.

14 thoughts

  1. Man, I miss your posts Keith. I dont tweet, but if I did, I would post HefnerMJCivilRights#Feminism


    This opinion from Suzanne Moore kinda pisses on Hefner’s grave;

    Suzanne has every right to complain that she got sued by Hefner for calling him a pimp, for which he clearly was. But is that all he was?
    Life is all about choices. Choices tend to change and mature for most of us as we get older. No where does Suzanne mention how Hefner helped kickstart NORML to combat this nation’s worst scapegoat for disproportionate and unjust violence and incarceration; the Controlled Substances Act. Without Hefner’s donations to support the legal councel of Stroup and Goldstein, Texas would not have decriminalized and I would still be in prison for a small possession marijuana charge. Thanks Hugh.
    We need to respect and understand our opponents so we can work together on common goals. We marijuana activists could learn alot from this lesson. Hefner wasnt exactly a spokesman for NORML but he was a vital early supporter and doner.
    We have to learn the difference. For example I dont want Roger Stone speaking for NORML. I would boycott. Racism like his started mj prohibition. But if he wants to put his money where his mouth is and donate to our cause have at it Stone! (Hefner had way more integrity than Stone ever will).

    Hefner’s early support of NORML is a challenging joint to smoke on for most women. Understandibly so; Hefner’s girls werent aloud to be with anyone that didnt pay Hefner first. Thats a pimp. But much like anything in politics we need to find common ground around our differences. Whats good for me may not always be good for you… but marijuana legalization is good for everybody. Even Gloria Steinhem and Hugh Hefner could agree on that.

  2. Rest in peace, Hef!

    You are one of the Greats!

    RIP along with Arnold Trebach, Brownie Mary, Eagle Bill, Jack Herer, Peter Lewis and Peter McWilliams and the rest of my cannabis heros.

  3. RIP Heff ( as he preferred to be called) You lived a long life, filled with…..well a lot of everything! I’ll bet you had the best weed, so now as your in heaven with the rest of the legends like the wonderful Johnny Cash, Bob Marley & Jimi Hendrix you all have yourselves a good pull on that joint. Then have a good laugh at all of us poor souls cause our asses are cooked and you all got it a lot better where you are! Rest forever peacefully Mr. Heffner and thank you for your support in the fight against such a wonderful plant on this earth! Amen ??

  4. I’ve been watching the PBS series about Vietnam (they smoked marijuana from their rifles), I heard that the DEA chief just resigned, and now with Keith’s eulogy to Mr. Hefner, I tried to search for NORML v. DEA to learn more about the situation in the 1970’s, but I couldn’t find it. Can you post a link to the arguments and rulings in that legal case? Thanks.

  5. RIP Hef.

    Hefner was proof that not everything or everyone can be judged in black-and-white terms. There were plenty of feminists, and feminist advocates, who hated his magazine and lifestyle. And I totally get their complaints.

    On the other hand, there can be no denying that he was a real champion of civil rights and other important issues, including MJ legalization. The who’s who list of people interviewed in his magazine is legendary and a vivid testimony to his thinking and importance to our culture and society. His financial backing of NORML speaks volumes, and no doubt contributed much to the advancement of our cause.

    As a teenager, I sometimes stayed up to watch his TV show, Playboy After Dark, and remember vividly the diverse group of people lounging around drinking (and doubtless toking behind the scenes).

    I never knew that he was an early financial backer of NORML until I read the above article, and, along with many others here, I’m sure, am eternally grateful to him.

  6. I’ll never forget the Greider reporting in the 70s in Penthouse- Hef’s competitor because Playboy was leading the way in helping bridge the liberal/libertarian gap. Our two party system is now driven by surrepticious racist, homophobic “welfare-makers” on one side and surrepticious anti-racist, anti-homophobic “welfare-takers” on the other. Hef and Guccione could have ignored the political middle and focused on the perversions of the left and the commodifiers of the right. Instead Greider’s reporting was the only place I found stories on the Trilateral Commission, Brezinski’s presense at Kent State shootings, the October Surprise, and more. Due to my own personal experience of a brief storybook romance with the great-great granddaughter of one of the world’s greatest robber barons- who’s Dad also happened to be VP to David Rockefeller’s bank, commuting from his own palacial estate hundreds of miles away, I have seen the ultra-rich only get richer by using prohibitionist laws to eliminate legitimate competition to control culture, society, and excessive political power in many countries- US first & foremost.

    1. David,
      I placed “Brezinki’s presence at Pence State shootings” into Google and this is what I got;


      Our Vice President, Mike Pence, the year before elections, orchestrated a scheme to start “state funded media.”

      Thats an amazing, hideous fact I never would have expected from fact-checking someone’s post on this blog. Thanks.

  7. Unlike most people I believe in hell and that people go to hell for being liars, adulterers, thieves, whore-mongers, and pot is okay but it fits the position of the earth problem, serious moral problems.

    1. U suc,

      For being a religious person, obviously, you cuss like a drunken sailor. I notice that killing–murder–isn’t on your list of no-nos. You sound like a raving hypocrite. Don’t forget to send us a postcard from Hell.

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