The 420 Address

420flyinggrafOne day, I went to Amsterdam and said, hey, it’s legal here, let’s have a harvest festival. So I started one. It was only me and two other fellows the first year. The second year there were five, including the first Freedom Fighter of the Year. The third year it was seven. The sixth year it was finally open to the public and 50 attended, 40 of whom bought travel packages. But now there are hundreds of thousands of people flocking to Denver to the Cannabis Cup and 420.

At first, I thought it was about having a party and for the first couple years, that’s all it meant to me. But then I started to realize, hey, there’s something deeper going on here because there are all these cultures using marijuana as a sacrament. And marijuana is so much more spiritual that alcohol. So much more. So I said, we need to honor the 5,000-year-old history of ceremonial use of cannabis.

The first thing I did was start a band, because you can’t have spirituality without music. Music, marijuana and mathematics are the road to spirituality and don’t forget it. Right away we decided we weren’t going to have any dogma because we wanted to invite all cultures to our ceremonies. We only have one rule: don’t hurt anybody. As long as you don’t hurt anybody, everything is cool.

This culture really started in Congo Square in New Orleans because that’s the only place for a hundred years where all cultures could get together. And marijuana is what elevated Louie Armstrong and those guys, just like it elevated Bob Marley. It’s part of our spirituality.

So we made up our ceremonies as we went along, and the stuff that worked is what stuck with us and we evolved a ceremony with seven candles. Why seven? Why are their seven points on a cannabis leaf? Seven is the marijuana number of ancient spirituality. The seven-pointed star is called the Star of the Magi. There were seven planets are the time when religion was born. When the three kings came to visit baby Jesus, it was cannabis they were bringing. And when Moses talked to a burning bush, that was cannabis he was listening to.

What does this plant bring? Just the world’s greatest medicine, and the world’s greatest food, and the world’s greatest path to spirituality. And by the way they banned if off the face of the earth for 2,000 years.

So I’m trying to change that best I can and I created the Pot Illuminati. I’m taking the Illuminati sigils away from the Illuminati and making it a very exclusive cannabis secret society so I can bend evil magic against itself.

Most candles you buy are totally toxic, by the way. Throw them away; don’t use them because they will poison you. I wanted to use seven candles in ceremonies, but soon discovered I had to make them. Seven colors to the rainbow, seven notes to the scale, seven days to the week, and seven chakras. There’s a lot to magic and you don’t have to learn it from someone else because it runs through you naturally and you can make it up as you go along, and the proof it works is we created an evolution in candle magic.


Beat Street Tribute Rocks B.B. King’s

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.09.44 AMI didn’t know what to expect when The Aquariusboyz announced a Beat Street Tribute for B.B. King’s.

But it was a chance for me to reconnect with a lot of people I hadn’t seen in 30 years, so I knew I was showing up.

But when the world’s greatest turntablist GranWizzard Theodore took the stage, and hip hop queen Sha-Rock got on the mic, and a circle formed on the dance floor (60-year-old b-boys went to the floor battling kids less than a third their age), I knew we’d reached epic status.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.11.56 AMI brought 20 copies of my just-released 300-page book Hip Hop: The Complete Archives to give away and Sha Rock never let go of her copy (that’s the back cover in her hand). She shouted out my name repeatedly over the course of the night, and at one point took my hand and did a little hip hop dance with me. It was quite an honor to be so recognized by such a great goddess.

Things were getting so hyped I wondered if some aging b boy or b girl might injure themselves while bringing back 30-year-old moves.

The magic this crew gathers whenever they congregate is palpable. They were the kids who reinvented everything as they were entering high school. And even though they were told by the media they lived in the worst ghetto in America, they proved cultural skills and improvisational energy have nothing to do with bling. This was the generation that created art for its own sake, as a proof of their worth to the universe. And they still haven’t cashed in. And most people just don’t seem to understand what hip hop was before it went off the rails. If you want to find that true hip hop spirit, these are the people that manifest it best.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.11.13 AMAs far as the wheels of steel go, nobody compares  with Theodore, the inventor of the scratch. When you want to have a true South Bronx old school party, he is always the first deejay of choice.

Which is not to put down the trinity, Kool Herc, the Godfather, Afrika Bambaataa, the prophet who realized “peace, unity and having fun” was the mission, and graffiti, breaking and rapping the vehicles, and Grandmaster Flash, originator of the quick-cut endless peak that took deejaying to new levels. Sadly, none of the trinity made it to the show, or at least I didn’t see them, but the house was packed, so I’m sure I missed a few in the chaos that emerged after the b boys and b girls started going off.

Busy Bee opens my new book Hip Hop with a performance at Bronx River Projects in the early 1980s, and he’s considered the greatest lead-off batter when it comes to old school.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.10.36 AMAnd Bee did not disappoint as he delivered a classic that transported everyone back to 1980, or at least the ones in the audience like me old enough to have been there when Bee took emcee crown at Harlem World three years in a row, a reign that lasted until Kool Mo Dee elevated rap to a new level.

The club was packed with video cameras so you’ll probably be seeing the evidence on YouTube any day now.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.09.05 AMEmcee G.L.O.B.E. and Debbie Dee were the first two I ran into, so they were the first two to score a free copy of the new book.

G.L.O.B.E. and I once worked on a project with Whiz Kid for a record that was supposed to come out with my original hip hop book. Tommy Boy records was working on that project, but it got hopelessly bogged down in legal issues as I was trying to use the real hip hop anthems in a mix-up that would recreate the sound of the original parties. He asked me, “When’s the last time you saw Tom Silverman?” “Probably around seven years ago at a Deepak Chopra event in SoHo,” I answered. And suddenly there was Tom Silverman standing at our table and waving hello.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.10.12 AMThere were only a few writers passing around piece books, but the work was epic as well.

I find creativity is telepathic and when you have an orgy of creative energy, it can be amplified and shared around the room. And the first generation of hip hop remain the world’s greatest masters at manifesting improvisational energy, and it’s an awesome feeling when that energy starts going off in all directions and all forms of artistic expression. Sadly, this generation never really made anything off their inventions, and someday I hope the world discovers they are the fountain of the real hip hop magic as well as the road home.

Congress eliminates 420 in bold move to roll back legalization



Washington, DC, April 1, 2014

In a post-midnight session Congress passed a law early this morning eliminating April 20th from the calendar, as well as removing the number 420 from all mathematics and science.

“Numerology is manipulated by the devil as a tool, and in this case it’s a tool to spread drug addiction,” said the bill’s sponsor, Representative Melvin Towers. “This is an obvious mind control project, perhaps under Communist control, if not Arab terrorists, and it’s already corrupted the minds of millions, many of whom no longer wish to serve in our military as a result. If we didn’t do something, this number was going to create a revolution.” Towers, who spearheaded the effort, spent months planning the midnight coup. The new law states any number can be outlawed, provided there’s evidence it’s being used to enhance criminal activity. Towers cited the recent bust of an accounting office in the Bronx named 420 Multi-Services, Inc., as an example of how the number was being used to aid criminal activities.

The new law leaves thousands of major events around the country previously scheduled for April 20th scrambling to find a way to survive. Meanwhile, computer software engineers are already updating computers and calculators to deal with the new reality. Apparently, this change has been in the works for some time, because within hours the number disappeared from all office buildings, streets and street addresses inside the Beltway. In all other countries, however, the 420 celebrations and rituals may take place as scheduled, despite pressure from Washington for them to follow suit, because so far, none seem to be expressing interest.

Sacred Cannabis Strains by Steven Hager

SScoverAbakus is not just a website. Soon, there will be a digital and print-on-demand magazine. And there is also Abakus Press, giving voice to independent writers pursuing tracks off the beaten path.

The debut release will be Sacred Cannabis Strains I have known and loved by  Steven Hager, who founded the national hemp movement by creating the Freedom Fighters in 1987. That same year Hager invented the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, and for the next 25 years organized many of the world’s largest ceremonies honoring cannabis. His first WHEE! festival in Eugene, Oregon, drew 20,000 attendees and 300 vendors, most of whom sold hemp products. It was the first national hemp event and the volunteer crew worked for two weeks and numbered over 200.

In 1990, Hager became aware a small group of teens were holding an annual ceremony at the top of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County. Earlier in that day, he’d been reading a copy of the Rig Veda he’d just purchased and had an epiphany that cannabis was Soma (and not the mushroom as claimed by modern scholars). When told about the Mt. Tam ceremony, Hager was gripped by the idea the spirit of Soma was rebirthing, and cannabis’ role in the creation of spiritual culture was about to emerge into the national psyche.

From that day on, Hager made celebrating 420 a regular part of his life and changed his email address to the now defunct:

“I’m pretty sure I was the first person to put “420” in an email address,” says Hager. “No one I knew of had ever organized a 420 ceremony except me. I knew a lot of Deadheads, including Jack Herer. But I introduced the idea of 420 to them all. I realized the phoenix was a symbol for repressed culture. Natural energies will always re-emerge and repression of them only makes the energy more magical and meaningful. And 420 held deep meaning for me, and I believed it was something that could grow and help bring ceremony into the cannabis movement.”

The phoenix became the symbol for WHEE! and was quickly adopted by many cannabis activists. Many years later, Hager was contacted by the Waldos, the original creators of the 420 ceremony. He wrote the first article on the true history of the ceremony, something that remains clouded by disinfo to this day.

The book traces Hager’s spiritual awareness against the backdrop of the favorite strains that he ran across in over 30 years on the front lines of cannabis legalization.

This is only the first book for Abakus Press. We hope to publish many ebooks this year and are looking for texts on counterculture history, conspiracy theory, cannabis culture and cannabis cultivation. Abakus takes your raw manuscript, edits, proofs, publishes it on Kindle, iPad, Nook and splits the revenue. We also publish digital editions for already published hardback books, and take 25%. You can send your proposals or manuscripts to

This is not the final book cover, by the way, but just a thumbnail. The photo is by Todd McCormick.

Will the Garden State live up to its name?

Hagerat23rdCupNew Jersey used to be one of those states like Texas: universally dreaded by stoners for harsh pot laws and trigger-happy cops. But now that New Jersey passed medical marijuana, it seems big changes are afoot for the Garden State.

How about a bill to legalize marijuana and a huge hempfest all happening right now? The Joys of Hemp involves three stages and a job fair, as well as a industry trade show, all happening in Piscataway on April 4-6. There might even be an area for medical patients to medicate, but don’t go thinking people will be smoking pot. It hasn’t been legalized yet in New Jersey yet, although I’m sure the state police will quickly lose their ardor for enforcing the predatory pot laws.

Abakus Editor-in-Chief Steven Hager will be leading a 4:20 ceremony on Saturday, April 5th, followed by a lecture on the origins of 420 in the lecture hall following the ceremony. In 1987 Hager founded the hemp movement with Jack Herer,  invented the Cannabis Cup and created the first national hemp legalization group, the Freedom Fighters. Hager will be announcing the winner of the Pot Illuminati best spring strain award during the ceremony. The Pot Illuminati Spring Cup is a highly secret event attended by many celebrities that takes place on every solstice and equinox. Applications to the society will be made available after the lecture.

JoHWebsiteHeader-cleanerIt’s a good idea to buy tickets in advance to take advantage of the huge discount. In advance the price is $35 a day or $50 for the week-end. If you have to pick one day, make sure it’s Saturday.

You can purchase tickets here: