Awarded And Honored People

Dries van Agt

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-oud-premier_van_agtFormer Prime Minister Dries van Agt smoked his very fist joint at the age of 86 on Wednesday. Despite introducing the cannabis tolerance policy as Minister of Justice in 1976, Van Agt never actually tried weed himself, the association of Dutch coffeeshops PCN said on its site.

Van Agt smoked his first joint on 18 jan. 2018, the day that he was awarded the Koos Zwart Award, a prize awarded by the PCN to people who made an extraordinary effort in legalizing and normalizing cannabis. 

The former Prime Minister also used the occasion to again call for legalizing cannabis. "Comrades, this is the year of victory!" he said. "Our salvation comes from California and Canada, the breakthrough is now really close." Canada and California both recently legalized the sale of marijuana. 

The new Dutch government included an experiment on regulated cannabis cultivation in the government agreement. Municipalities are lining up to take part, with Rotterdam pushing to be the first.

Koos Zwart was a cannabis activist who died in 2014.
Every year the PCN (Platform Cannabisbedrijven Nederland) presents the Koos Zwart Award to someone who has had great benefits for the cannabis world.

Previous winners were Ben Dronkers (2015), Rick Simpson (2016) and Doede de Jong (2017).

Robert Platshorn

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Robert Platshorn is the HIGH TIMES Freedom Fighter of the Year for 2014!

Robert Platshorn is the author of Black Tuna Diaries. He is America's longest (30 years) imprisoned non-violent marijuana offender. Raised on South St. in downtown Philadelphia, acting ambitions earned him a supporting role in a successful off Broadway play while still in high school. The same skill led to Robert becoming one of America's most famous pitchmen. The late Billy Mays called him a “legend in the pitch business.” He was seen for years on TV, at fairs and shows selling Vita Mix, frozen food knives and gadgets. 

At the age of 24, he moved to London to found Dynamic Reading Institutes. Starting with a rented classroom, within three years he had opened fourteen schools in three countries. Upon his return to the US, he started the Ice Cream Factory. Using a unique pushcart that he invented, he became the second largest distributor of Breyers ice cream.

In 1975, he moved to Miami, FL to attend law school. At that time, Miami was the center of the Colombian pot trade. Robert turned his business acumen to the mission of smuggling Colombian pot.

It was attorney general Griffin Bell that named Robert's organization the “Black Tuna Gang” and alleged they were responsible for smuggling most of the marijuana crossing the Florida coast. In 1979, a year after quitting the smuggling business, he was indicted, convicted and sentenced to 64 years in federal prison. He was released in late 2008 after serving almost 30 years in eleven different prisons.

In 2010 he founded The Silver Tour to teach seniors the benefits of medical marijuana. Robert now lives in Florida with his wife Lynne. He works for medical marijuana and has actively collecting signatures for this year’s Florida ballot medical marijuana initiative. He appears in the media constantly to promote the cause, as well as speaking at universities, concerts, benefits and expos to promote the cause and tell his story.

(Source, High Times)

Sasha and Ann Shulgin

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Inductees to the Counterculture Hall of Fame are Sasha and Ann Shulgin.

Alexander Theodore "Sasha" Shulgin (June 17, 1925 – June 2, 2014) was an American medicinal chemist, biochemist, 
pharmacologist, psychopharmacologist, and author known for his creation of new psychoactive chemicals. In 1960, Sasha tried mescaline for the first time. 

He then experimented with synthesizing chemicals with structures similar to mescaline such as DOM. 

He taught public health at Berkeley and San Francisco General Hospital. Although he didn't invent it, Sasha first synthesized MDMA in 1965; however, he did not try it at that time. 

In 1976, the effects of MDMA were described to Sasha by an undergrad at San Francisco State University. Sasha was inspired to cook up a batch of the drug, which he began testing on himself in September of that year. He found the compound to have worthwhile qualities.

In 1977 he introduced the material to Leo Zeff, an Oakland psychologist who worked with psychedelics in his therapy practice. Zeff introduced hundreds of therapists to MDMA and word quickly spread outside the therapist community. 

After that, Sasha Shulgin synthesized and self-tested hundreds of psychoactive chemicals, recording his work in five books and more than two hundred papers. 

He was a fixture in the psychedelic community, who testified in court, granted frequent interviews and instilled a sense of rational scientific thought into the world of self-experimentation and psychoactive ingestion.

Sasha's partner Ann Shulgin also conducted psychedelic therapy sessions with MDMA before it was placed on the US government’s list of banned controlled substances. In her writings, she has stressed the potential of these drugs from a psychoanalytic perspective, as well as their use in combination with hypnotherapy. She often appears as a speaker at conventions, and has continued to advocate the use of psychedelics in therapeutic contexts.

Sasha and Ann authored the books Pihkal and Tihkal and contributed to the books Thanatos to Eros: 35 Years of Psychedelic Exploration, Entheogens and the Future of Religion, Ecstasy: The Complete Guide, The Secret Chief Revealed, Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics, and Manifesting Minds: A Review of Psychedelics in Science, Medicine, Sex, and Spirituality. 

In April of 2010, Sasha and Ann Shulgin were honored for their lifetime of achievements in the field at the Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century conference in San Jose, CA

On November 17, 2010 Sasha suffered a stroke. Though his recovery went well, he continued to face a variety of age-related health challenges. On June 2nd, 2014, he died at home surrounded by friends and family.

The Counterculture Hall of Fame was created in 1997 by High Times Editor Steven Hager. The purpose of the Hall of Fame was to help focus ceremonies at the annual Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, and to celebrate the history of the counterculture by recognizing its saints. The inductions are done in Amsterdam every year on Thanksgiving as part of the Cannabis Cup awards show. Often a documentary film is shown to introduce the inductee(s) to the audience. A silver Cannabis Cup is awarded as part of the induction ceremony.

 (Source: Wikipedia,High Times)

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