By Billy Hayes
After five long years I got very desperate and very lucky, making a highly publicized escape. When I stepped off a plane at Kennedy Airport there were a hundred shouting reporters, lights, cameras, people yelling questions. I soon wrote a book about my experience called Midnight Express, which was made into an Academy Award winning film. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1978, where I stood like a deer in the headlights in a white 3-piece suit straight out of Saturday Night Fever, met the woman who is still my wife today, and was officially announced to the whole world as an escaped convict drug smuggler!
Studying journalism at Marquette University in the 60’s, I’d have terrible hangovers when I drank alcohol and never really liked it, but the first time I smoked a joint my endocannabinoid system throbbed with sympathetic vibrations and my total being said Yeesss, this is what we like! Now that I’m a 72 year old Hip Silver I still appreciate cannabis with a THC component for the value it brings into my life--enhancing creativity, awakening wonder, assisting with pain—but now that we have so much more information and a huge variety of products available, I’m especially appreciating the CBD component for soothing old injuries and achy joints.
As an activist I’ve spoken in every one of thousands of interviews about, at the very least, not putting people in jail for cannabis. Most recently I’m involved in growing high-CBD organic hemp and making top quality products from the best buds.
Hemp is the common term for non-psychoactive cannabis with very low THC (having 0.03% or less) but is the same amazingly versatile plant that has been used by mankind down through the ages and around which the vine of my fate has so inexorably twined. It was banned and criminalized by the monumentally failed War on Drugs, but the Farm Bill of 2018 federally legalized CBD derived from hemp grown under this new law. Though CBD derived from higher THC cannabis (commonly known as marijuana, but that misnomer is a subject for another time) is in fact exactly the same, it is still not legal on the federal level. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a state with legal medical and/or adult use cannabis you can of course have access to a variety of cannabis products with or without THC.
I look forward to sharing stories, bringing you conversations with people who have expertise on related topics from how to begin your cannabis journey, to pets, exercise and the ecology of hemp in this fast changing area of wellness, and hopefully spread a bit of inspiration.