Demystifying The Man Behind The Mission: A Journalist’s Study Of Pro-Marijuana Activist, Rob Griffin
By Natalie Sativa
Marijuana. Cannabis. Dank. Four-twenty. Marley. The Yellow Submarine. Weed. Tai Stick. Torch. Toke. Grass. Reefer. Skunk. Smoke. Ganja. Pot. M.J. Jane. Indo. Puff. Smoke. Hemp. Dope. Chronic. Bud. Poke. Burn. Funk. Buddha.
Cannabis sativa (or subsp. indica) is a psychoactive plant primarily used by smoking the dried flowers and subtending leaves of the female plant. The major biologically active chemical compound in cannabis is 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), commonly referred to as THC.
Currently a modern movement for legalization of the cannabis sativa plant has taken stronghold in American culture, especially within the liberal sub-cultures of California. All over, people are pushing for the recognition of the substance as a medicine as well as the right to use it as a recreational substance. Just how new is this, “modern” movement?
As far back as the third millennium B.C., anthropologists have found evidence of the inhalation of cannabis smoke. Cannabis was known and used by the Hindus and other Indian peoples, the Assyrians and other Mesopotamian peoples, the Scythians and other Scandinavian peoples, the Thracians and other Grecian/Mediterranean peoples along with Native Americans, Native Africans, the ancient people groups of China and Russia and many, many more paleolithic to neolithic people groups of the ages. Using cannabis is not new. Fighting for the right to use cannabis in the modern political and government system of The United States Of America is new, however.
Rob Griffin: Genesis of a visionary and cannabis awareness activist. He walks tall these days among the movers and shakers of the Cannabis and Hemp awareness movements. He has taken his message global. This article attempts to demystify and humanize the man behind the mission; the present journalist attempts to uncover the real Robert Griffin.
Leading one of the most intense and driven efforts in the political and social movements seeking to legalize cannabis is Robert Griffin. “Rob,” as his fans, friends, online comrades and those involved in his movement prefer to call him by, began his mission in 1993 with the publication of a printed magazine which was titled, “420 Times.” Soon after came the arrival of 420Times.com, which was a forum and cannabis community originally created with the readers of 420 Times in mind.
The content of the forums was the beginning of the mission which supplied free and accurate information about marijuana to the readers and interactive users of the website. Access to worldwide cannabis news, information on cultivation of marijuana and the advanced horticulture that accompanies successful growth of this plant was provided on the site. Resources linking patients to prescribing and recommending physicians, legal information on obtaining medical licenses, accurate facts about cannabis, reliable statistics documenting the reality of how, when, where and by whom cannabis is used and for what reasons, along with information on the medicinal effects, as well as factual documentation on cannabis abuse and dependence amongst many, many other things. The site provided vast information on the use of hemp and “green” energy sources. The resources on environmental issues were progressive and ahead of the time as well as informative and an encouraging reminder to use renewable sources and take the initiative of recycling.
All of this information could be accessed for free. The honest desire to utilize free speech to provide information cost-free was the first notable mission of Rob’s.
The site also sufficed as an interactive, online community where users could get involved in discussions, debates, ask questions, answer questions, post polls, and seek advice from other users.
Not long after the launch of 420 Times, a similar site called, “Overgrow” which had a similar mission and provided similar information was shutdown due to illegal sales of cannabis seeds. Too many members who once belonged to that site were left with no online resources to trust, no online community to get involved with and no direction whatsoever in what would come next in the movement to legalize cannabis.
This was a major jump-off point for 420 Times. Being the only other leading cannabis community at the time, there was a sudden explosion of new members joining the site daily. However, there was also a brand new birth of cannabis communities all over the internet. 420 Times was the original and first cannabis community, however. “Overgrow” had a been a site targeted at information and instruction on growing and cultivating cannabis while 420 Times brought so much more into the picture – mainly the social cohesion of members of a sub-culture seeking to make information accessible and promote the legalization of cannabis as a medicine or otherwise. In 2005, 420 Times was renamed 420 Magazine and given the new internet address 420Magazine.com, forwarding all traffic from 420times.com to retain SEO and identity. As history unfolded, 2006 marked an unfortunate year in which the print version of the publication became unavailable due to financial obstacles which made hard-copy production of 420 Magazine no longer an affordable option on a regular basis. So they began doing sporadic print issues and passing them around at local shows and events, while focusing on the digital aspect of the mission. Presently, the publication is still active and released regularly although it is currently an online periodical which can be read on 420Magazine.com. If the reader prefers, it may be received directly by mail/email via a free email subscription option available on the website. Plans to reprint 420 Magazine with paper and ink are currently underway and the publication is expected to be hot off the presses again within the year.
As we seek to take this article to the main focus of discovering who Rob Griffin, the creator of 420 Magazine is, we must finish examining what his organizations are so that we can understand who he is with accurate knowledge in reference to his different projects, organizations and publications.
So who exactly is Rob and what is his mission? …Rob’s mission was birthed from a marijuana possession conviction occurring in 1992 while Rob was living in Maryland. Because Rob was then considered by law to be a felon of drug related charges, his right to vote was suspended permanently. No care or interest was taken as to whether the possession was medical or not and Rob was given the same caste in society as is given to major felony drug offenders – most often those involved with substances such as *************** and ******, or involved in crimes such as sales or trafficking drugs across state lines. Rob on the other hand was in no way affiliated with illegal sales or trafficking of anything, let alone any involvement with hard drugs. He had simply been the victim of an unfair and entirely undeserved conviction based on unjust biases that are the result of a recorded, national trend in lack of education concerning cannabis. Unfortunately, much of this suppression of education along with the spread of false “data” is the agenda of our own government.
This was the turning point for Rob Griffin when he decided to stand up, take action and form a movement to end the ridiculous illegalization of cannabis. Maybe Rob could no longer vote, but he certainly didn’t have to sit still or be quiet about it.
Rob’s mission was born. Legalize marijuana by a means of educating the public or “creating Cannabis awareness,” through online media, facts, information and a socially cohesive community.
Examined so far are the basics about Rob Griffin’s history, mission and his print publication, online organization and community. But who exactly is Rob and what does he do? Contrary to the opinion of those who do not actually know Rob along with those who have preconceived notions of the man who runs it all on 420 Magazine, Rob is not at all the playboy that one would imagine.
Rob is not flashy, rich, or a lady’s man. He doesn’t go out clubbing. He doesn’t party. And he certainly doesn’t sit around stoned all day. Rob’s work schedule could be described as twenty-five hours a day, eight days a week, four hundred and twenty days a year. He spends all of his time, that being from early morning to the late hours of the night, working diligently on the mission site and helping individual people. He answers over a thousand emails a day and is constantly working to manage the website/s as well as deal with one conundrum after another as each day goes by.
Proof of Rob’s lack of interest in monetary gain can be made clear in how he turned down a $75k (annual) employment opportunity from High Times. As we touch on the issue of other cannabis publications, it is excellent to ask, “What makes Rob and 420 Magazine different from High Times and other well known cannabis publications?” The answer to this is clear: the mission. While High Times and many similar magazines and websites support the legalization of marijuana, their primary goals are not about the legalization and the political movement for the decriminalization of marijuana. These companies entertain the smoker and provide plenty of content to humor and amuse along with plenty of promoting for the sales and purchase of marijuana seeds, THC-free entertainment “marijuana,” and smoking paraphernalia. However, they completely lack the mission and the goal that Robert Griffin has stood for, built up and created a community and organization for. The difference between 420 Magazine and High Times is purpose, reason and point.
Rob is, of course, a man of more things than just his publications and photography. His heart proudly pumps the blood of Cherokee Indian which accounts for 50% of his ethnic heritage. His own personal identity in terms of a licensed cannabis user falls into three categories. He is a legal, medical marijuana patient which allows him to legally buy cannabis from licensed collectives and use it as a medicine which is protected and lawfully governed under the State Of California as cited in California Senate Bill 420 (HS 11362.7). He is also an Ordained Minister of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry which recognizes the daily use of cannabis as a religious sacrament and permits the legal use of cannabis as a protected religious practice to those belonging to the Ministry. Rob’s Cherokee heritage also gives him legality as a cannabis user in the form of “Cannabis Hemp Rights,” which is an act of religious and cultural protection for the Native American peoples’ historical and ethnic use of the cannabis plant.
Rob had a unique family life experience. With his father being unavailable as a parent during Rob’s childhood, he grew up under the care and parenting of his grandfather. His grandfather was a renowned scientist and author of the famous academic book, “The Pennate Diatoms” [by Norman G. Jensen]. Rob’s relationship with his grandfather was a caring and positive experience for Rob. Rob remembers his grandfather as the ideal role model, mentor, teacher and caring father figure. Just as his grandfather published a book about botany, so too has Rob followed in his grandfather’s footsteps, albeit in a slightly different nature however, and is now his own author of a botanical publications. Rob hopes to one day complete one of his grandfather’s unfinished studies in the catologuing and analysis of diatom samples.
After fifteen years of blood, sweat and tears, what’s next for Rob Griffin and 420 Magazine? Current projects and work underway at 420 Magazine include production of a documentary about the community and mission as well as site expansion, technological upgrades, fundraising, promotion, the reintroduction of the print version of 420 Magazine, and more importantly, working to take the major political and social steps needed to propel the movement forward toward the mission goal of getting marijuana decriminalized in the United States.
Until then, it’s fair to say that Rob will most definitely remain working round the clock to continue his fantastic project of 420 Magazine. He will continue to answer emails, help others, provide support and advice and he will never stop fighting for what he believes in.
420 Magazine is still the number one, online cannabis community and information super highway for marijuana facts and information. It is still 100% free. Anyone can access the information and archives on 420 Magazine completely anonymously and with absolutely no cost or charge for access to any of the website or community. It is also bigger now than ever before and the most comprehensive site on the internet for up to date information about cannabis, worldwide cannabis news, cultivation information, and also has by far the most positive and enjoyable interactive community of individuals involved in the modern cannabis sub-culture.
Rob Griffin is thirty-eight years old and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. In what tiny amount of free time he has, he enjoys surfing, reading and occasionally getting to enjoy a rare moment of idle time. He is loved by many, appreciated by even more and supported by millions of people worldwide.