For the 50th anniversary of 4/20, we decided to highlight and honor the original “OG” cannabis journalists. These are the pioneers who covered this plant, the industry overall and its community for decades.
The evolution of the cannabis industry and its reversal from prohibition is one of the most interesting topics to witness in our lifetimes. Sitting front row, and the ability to chronicle these changes, has been a priceless experience to each one of these individuals.
Writing for everything from High Times to Rolling Stone, as well as book deals, this is a list of a few of the most important writers to ever document the plant. Today we would like to thank Danny, Mary, Steve and Sharon for their hard work in this industry.
About Dan Vinkovetsky (formerly Danny Danko of High Times)
Danny Danko is a Cannabis editor, writer, and photographer who was the Senior Cultivation Editor of High Times Magazine for 18 years. He has personally selected HIGH TIMES’ annual Top 10 Strains of the Year since 2005 and is also the creator and founder of the HIGH TIMES Seed Bank Hall of Fame. He has judged more Cannabis Cups than anyone else on Earth.
Danny is the author of “The Official High Times Field Guide to Marijuana Strains” (2011) and “Cannabis: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Marijuana” (2018). Danny hosted the podcast HIGH TIMES presents Free Weed from Danny Danko” from 2011-2018. He currently hosts the podcast “Grow Bud Yourself!” and is the editor of Northeast Leaf Magazine since July 2020.
Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/dannydanko
Amazon Book Link: https://amzn.to/2HHvVnJ
Northeast Leaf Magazine
@northeastleafmag on Instagram
About Mary Jane Gibson
Actress, writer, and former culture editor at High Times, Mary Jane Gibson is a prominent female voice in one of the largest emerging industries and worldwide cultural shifts in modern times, traveling the world tracking the legalization of medical marijuana, adult-use cannabis, and CBD with integral public figures, brands, and personalities since 2007. She’s the co-host of the top-rated Weed + Grub podcast alongside fellow actor/comedian Mike Glazer. Raised in Newfoundland, Gibson performed in theater and film in Montreal, Dublin, London, Paris, Seattle, and New York City before moving to Los Angeles. Her unique perspective in cannabis and world culture has earned her work with numerous media outlets, including Rolling Stone, Playboy, and PBS, and the title “one of the 15 most powerful women in the weed industry” from Complex Magazine. Complementing her writing, film, production, and performance credits, Gibson’s received the Overall Excellence in Performance Award from FringeNYC, the William and Eva Fox Foundation Fellowship, and two Seattle Fringe Festival PONCHO Artistic Pick awards (2002, 2003). Gibson is a graduate of the British American Dramatic Academy: Midsummer in Oxford and the National Theatre School of Canada. She also performs voiceover work using a range of regional American, Canadian, European and Australian dialects. Gibson has conducted in-depth celebrity interviews with Margaret Cho, Melissa Etheridge, Awkwafina, Charlie Sheen, Jim Belushi, Laganja Estranja, and the Super Troopers. She also created and starred in the piece “Fatal Attraction in 10 Minutes” with Reggie Watts for his show Radio Play at PS122.
Mary Jane wrote and edited for High Times for over a decade. She was named one of the “15 most powerful women in the weed industry” by Complex and was featured in Forbes. She now writes for a number of outlets including Rolling Stone and Playboy. Mary Jane covers cannabis culture, entertainment, and cutting-edge trends, and has interviewed stars like Margaret Cho, Melissa Etheridge, the Super Troopers, Awkwafina, and Reggie Watts. She co-hosts the Weed + Grub podcast with comedian Mike Glazer. Vulture called them “true experts in comedy and marijuana.” Mary Jane is also an award-winning actor and playwright. Follow her on IG @thisismaryjane_.
About Steve Bloom
Steve Bloom is a longtime journalist and author with 32 years in the cannabis community. His credits include:
Publisher of CelebStoner.com, one of the leading sources for marijuana and celebrity news on the web since 2007.
Former editor of High Times from 1988-2007, and producer of the Stony and Doobie award shows and the two Hempilation benefit albums for NORML (1995 and 1998) while at High Times.
Former editor-in-Chief of Freedom Leaf magazine and freedomleaf.com from 2014-2019.
Former Editor-in-chief of two Centennial Media titles, Marijuana Goes Mainstream and The Complete Guide to CBD from 2019-2021.
Co-author of Pot Culture: The A-Z Guide to Stoner Language and Life (Abrams Image, 2007) and Reefer Movie Madness: The Ultimate Stoner Film Guide (Abrams Image, 2010) with Shirley Halperin.
Recipient of NORML’s Media & Culture Award in 2004, Cannabis MVP by the Cannabis Business Awards in 2018 and New York NORML Activism award in 2019.
Has appeared as a moderator, panelist and speaker at many marijuana-reform events, including the NORML Conference, the Drug Policy Alliance Conference, International Cannabis Business Conference, Cannabis Media Summit, Seattle Hempfest, Boston Freedom Rally, Cypress Hill SmokeOu, the NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally and more.
Board member and co-organizer of the annual NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally.
Discovered 420 in 1990.
Founder and organizer of the Teapot Party with Willie Nelson since 2009.
Founder and commissioner of the New York Media Softball League since 2007.
Author of Video Invaders (Arco, 1982) and Watch Out for the Little Guys (St. Martins Press, 1989).
Lives in Bronx, NY.
About Sharon Letts
Sharon began her professional career as a gardener at the age of 24 in Southern California, with many assuming she grew cannabis. In reality, she designed, planted and maintained flower beds for high-end homes in Southern California for 17 years, before becoming a producer for television, then advocating for the plant.
Gardening turned to television when she was asked to host and produce visiting gardening show, In and Out of the Garden, for local television in Southern California. This led to executive producing travel series, Off the Beaten Path, for PBS in California, which led to producing national documentary and magazine shows in Los Angeles.
Sharon was brought up to Humboldt County in Northern California to produce a news show, then became the lead features writer for the Times-Standard, the longtime daily paper in the county.
While working in media in the cannabis capital of the world, Sharon presented with breast cancer and was given cannabis oil made by Pearl Moon of the Bud Sisters of Southern Humboldt. Much to her surprise, the oil successfully put the cancer into remission, while simultaneously doing away with upwards of 10 prescription medications and supplements taken for numerous ailments.
Since she already had a voice in the media Sharon followed the calling and has written exclusively and extensively on cannabis as medicine ever since. Called one of the most prolific and informative writers in the space, for the past ten years she’s written for just about every cannabis publication and platform, penning patient profiles, telling successful stories of healing with cannabis.
Sharon also shares her own stories of healing regularly, penning essays on her own cancer experience in using cannabis as medicine, treating and preventing colds, flu, the coronavirus, broken bones, fractures – and replacing opioids with cannabis oil. She’s even included her dogs in the mix, from their rescue near death, to their current healthy lifestyle that includes dosing daily with cannabis and/or CBD.
Recently, her path has brought her full-circle back to media, developing television series from the series she’s written for magazines for years . Her two series, What’s in Your Stash?, written for High Times for the past two years, and Weed Traveler, a travel series for Weed World Magazine in the UK, are currently being shopped by Montel Williams as executive producer, with ten more show concepts on her list.
She’s currently being represented by Pam Pho of D4EO Literary Agency, with an equally long list of book concepts, also based on the series she writes, being developed and shopped now.
This past weekend Sharon’s work was honored by Cannabis Activism Now Magazine, voted Best Writer in the cannabis industry by readers.
You can read Sharon’s work, as follows: High Times: Higher Profiles, What’s in Your Stash? (TV); Weed World Magazine: Kitchen Apothecary, Weed Traveler (TV); Women of Weed World; Vegas & Tahoe Cannabis Magazine(s): Daily Dose, A Day in the Life of a Cannabis Patient; Dope Magazine: Road Trip: In Search of Good Medicine, Cannaopolis (eBook/Amazon & scripted TV series); The Emerald Magazine: Humboldt Medicine; Humboldt Stories, eBook/Amazon (winner 2016 Tokey Awards); Toke Signals: Toke Stories; Educated Stoner: essays of personal healing. Self-syndicated globally in several languages.