POST CATEGORY: Rehashed

A blast from the past:

January 04, 2013 | WES ABNEY

They're nearly artifacts: games and comics from a time when marijuana was far less accepted than it is today.

Here at Northwest Leaf we love the new emerging culture of Cannabis that has redefined stereotypes and helped gain acceptance of Cannabis use. But we wouldn't be here today if it weren't for those who pushed drug use to the forefront of society in times of extreme drug prohibition. Characters like Cheech and Chong may seem dated and slightly ridiculous in 2013 Washington, but they were critical in reversing the stigma of marijuana through comedy and hubris.

Our nation could soon have a generation raised where Cannabis isn't illegal, and where the failed war on drugs is a chapter in their history books. But in the 60's and 70's the majority of mainstream Americans believed in reefer madness. 

They believed Reagan in the 80's when he said, "I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast." And those same people went on to found D.A.R.E, history's single least effective drug education. 

But during that time a growing movement of enlightened minds were using Cannabis and other psychoactive drugs, stepping out to create what was known simply as "counterculture." Nowhere is this more evident or fun than in the adventures of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, a comic strip series that emerged from the Berkley area in 1968. Let's take a trip back in time, time, time...

 "Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope." -Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers

The Freak Brothers were a trio of "hippy" characters created by artist Gilbert Shelton, and they first appeared in underground newspapers in Texas beginning in May of 1968. Their comic book debut was in "Feds 'n' Heads," and their adventures were combined in 1971's "Collected Adventures of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers," which has been continually in print to this day.

Their adventures revolved around scoring drugs, mainly Cannabis, and the shenanigans that would occur in the process. Their biggest goal was to "not get burned," by a bad drug deal, and avoid getting busted by the cops. None of them have jobs, and were consummately lazy about work/hygiene/cleaning while conversely being highly motivated during their adventures. One of their other favorite catchphrases was "While you're out there smashing the state, don't forget to keep a smile on your lips and a song in your heart!"

Other recurring themes in the comics question the corruption in law enforcement and government of the time, and the war on drugs. It presented social commentary in a seemingly harmless way, though the subject matter often went far beyond simply being high. The strip was often reprinted in
Playboy and High Times, and many are still in circulation today.

To honor the impact of the Freak Brothers, we would like to bring back their official board game for modern use. It's essentially a hybrid of the Life game and Monopoly, but in this game, the goal is to get around the board and score as much marijuana as possible, without getting busted by the man. You even play with old taped-up roaches instead of metal cars and battleships. 

The full game is available for download at www.tinyurl.com/leafblast and find copies of the comics at www.ripoffpress.com. Aww, what a trip.

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