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: email@example.com.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is not the final book cover, by the way, but just a thumbnail. The photo is by Todd McCormick.
New 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.
You can purchase tickets here: