The world of cannabis is very much like the stat-saturated world of baseball: There are top performers in every kind of category imaginable. So we decided to present our own picks for the most memorable achievements in marijuana land – the best and the worst, the hits and the misses.
 
Hardest-Working Strain
The backbone of so many modern-day strains, NL5 x Haze is Sensi Seed Bank’s cross of Northern Lights #5 and the formidable Haze. The resulting strain achieves a perfect balance: It’s both classic and new, with the sweetness of the Northern Lights and the tang of the Haze blending into a rich, robust smoke that provides a nearly psychedelic and supremely uplifting high. And arthritis sufferers take note: Anecdotal evidence indicates that the NL5 x Haze is useful in treating the ailment.
 
Biggest Joint
It made its appearance at the Seattle Hempfest in 2008: Approximately three feet long and six inches wide, this über-joint was crafted using 10 rolls of E-Z Wider rolling papers, a bucketful of Blueberry and a cardboard paper-towel roll as the filter. Among the hundreds of Hempfest attendees who partook of its glory were HT’s own Bobby Black, NORML founder Keith Stroup and the late, great Jack Herer.

 

 
Most Confusing Legal Ruling
The Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that if you get caught with a pipe used for smoking pot, you’re in possession of “drug paraphernalia” – but if you’ve been using Grandpa’s pipe to get high, you’re in the clear. It all depends on the pipe: If it’s colorful and made of glass, you’ve committed a crime; if it’s a classic briar or corncob pipe, you’re okay. That’s because it’s the pipe that manifests the criminal intent, with the high court ruling that criminality “objectively” resides in the product’s likely use rather than the defendant’s state of mind. Unfortunately, you’ll still be the one who goes to jail – not the pipe.
 
Dumbest Pot Bust
A young couple in Callaway, FL, was charged with possession with intent to deliver as well as possession of drug paraphernalia. The cops ended up searching their home after responding to a call that the couple themselves had made – apparently, someone broke into their place and made off with a quarter-pound of weed, and they wanted the cops to get it back so they could sell it. Good thinking, dumbasses.
 
Oddest Name for a Non-Pot Product
Do you need Kush Support? No, not a constant, unfettered supply of top-grade buds – Kush Support is a device for women who sleep on their sides. It’s a high-quality plastic thingamajig that’s placed between the breasts to promote comfort and alignment, relieve pressure on delicate tissues and prevent cleavage wrinkles.

 
Best TV Show
When HIGH TIMES celebrated its 25th anniversary, we named The Twilight Zone and The Simpsons as the top stoner TV shows of all time. But not any more: AMC’s Breaking Bad, which chronicles the exploits of a cancer-stricken high-school chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin, is positively addictive – with more startling twists and turns, both comic and horrific, than you’ll see on-screen anywhere in the broadcasting universe. In fact, we’ll go so far as to say that it’s the best TV show ever, stoner or not. Making audiences root for a dude who produces this poison is downright subversive – and we can’t wait for the next episode.
 
Coolest Grow Op
Batman’s got nothing on these guys: In December 2005, the authorities raided a million-dollar vacation home in the woodlands of Tennessee. The house was empty, but in the garage they discovered a hidden door that led to a series of underground caves as long as a football field that contained a “shockingly” sophisticated hydro operation. The growrooms held 1,000 plants and generated 12 to 14 crops per year – for an estimated $6 million to $8 million annually. The pot bunker also included full living quarters and a concealed escape hatch, the top of which was a disguised as a large rock in the yard.

 
Best Stoner Rock Band
Queens of the Stone Age arose from the ashes of their stoner rock progenitors, Kyuss, to deliver their eponymously titled 1998 debut, which blew the doors open for the multitude of grunge-sludged, psych-metal proponents that followed in their wake.
 
Most Effective Pot Activist
Every political movement needs an elder statesman, someone whose deep and abiding commitment commands respect and provides inspiration to all those who join the cause. Our community has Dr. Lester Grinspoon, associate professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School. The author of Marihuana Reconsidered and Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine, Dr. Grinspoon has long since retired from teaching, but at age 83, he still writes frequently about medical marijuana and continues to educate the public through his own websites and frequent media interviews. He even traveled to Denver this year to address the 40th Annual NORML Conference. An amazing purebred sativa strain named Dr. Grinspoon is now available – feel free to burn some in his honor!
 
 
Best New Way to Ingest Pot
To enjoy the latest innovation that’s taken root among health-conscious cannabis aficionados, you’ll need a vegetable juicer. A growing number of people claim that raw cannabis juice – made from the fresh leaves and/or buds of the plant – contains tremendous healing powers. One such person is Kristen Peskuski, a survivor of multiple life-threatening ailments, who credits drinking raw pot with restoring her health. Read more at hightimes.com/rawpot.
 
Stupidest Anti-Drug Ad: Slomming
Over the years, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and its allies have released so much stupid, irresponsible, fear-mongering propaganda that’s its hard to choose just one as the dumbest. You’ve got the dog talking to the girl who’s melted into the couch, or the classic “This is your brain on drugs” breakfast ad from the ’80s. But the most bizarre of the bunch was an “Above the Influence” TV ad that showed a number of teens in school engaged in what they referred to as “slomming” (short for “sticking leeches on me”). We assume this was meant to discourage the act of succumbing to peer pressure, but really – equating smoking a joint with attaching bloodsucking creatures to your body? And we’re the ones who are supposed to be fucked up ….

Best New Album to Zonk Out to
With a name like Fucked Up, these visceral Toronto punk rockers clearly aren’t counting on mainstream radio play – which is too bad (for mainstream radio), because Fucked Up have scored big with their monumental narrative opus, 2011’s David Comes to Life. Supercolliding dramatic theatricality with gruff-throated howls, shoe-gazing blissfulness and white-noise intensity, they’ve managed to one-up their earlier gargantuan hardcore epic, 2008’s The Chemistry of Common Life.

 
Top Baseball Stoners: Past & Present
While playing for the Boston Red Sox from ’69 to ’78, Bill “Spaceman” Lee drove manager Don Zimmer to fits with his comments to the press about “sprinkling marijuana on my pancakes” before jogging to Fenway Park for games. Lee’s antics endeared him to offbeat sports fans who appreciated his wit and candor – in fact, by the time he was banished to the Montreal Expos, fans would throw foil-wrapped balls of hash to him after a good start. His controversial appearance on the cover of HIGH TIMES in 1980 cemented his place in counterculture history.
 
More recently, the man known as “the Freak” is now more often referred to as “the Franchise”: Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants was busted for pot just two weeks before he received his second Cy Young Award as best pitcher in the National League. These days, you can buy T-shirts proclaiming “Let Tim Smoke!”, while a strain called the Freak is a popular item in Bay Area dispensaries.

Most Daring Grow
A Massachusetts couple devised an interesting use for the dumpster in their yard. After their outdoor plot had been compromised, they moved their budding bushes to the only place they could keep a good eye on them – literally 25 feet from the sidewalk and the road. The plants were finished out and harvested with no one being the wiser. One man’s trash is another man’s THC!

 
Top Pot Comics
They’re two different strains of cannabis comedian: Joe Rogan is edgy, raw and incisive about pot issues, while Doug Benson offers a more dreamy and stoned stand-up persona that has made him a mascot of the pot world, especially with the release of his comedy doc Super High Me.
 
Top Pot Legends
It’s hard to believe, but “Cheech & Chong” has now become an adjective – former Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey once belittled marijuana as “Cheech & Chong medicine.” However, Barry neglected one minor detail in attempting to slur cannabis and/or the veteran comedy stars: Cheech & Chong medicine actually works! Just like the boys themselves, who’ve been diligently plying their trade in the medium of stoned silliness since the 1970s.
 
Top NFL Stoner
He’s a vegan, a yoga instructor who’s studied Ayurvedic medicine, and one of the National Football League’s premier running backs – and he’s tested positive for pot four times. But though Ricky Williams is watched like a hawk these days (or at least his urine is), he says he’ll probably resume pot smoking once his football career is over.
 
Best Stoner Guitarist
Latino-American axe handler Carlos Santana still reigns supreme. The spiritual pro-weed advocate hit his stride in the ’70s with the mighty Abraxas and never looked back. His lucid arpeggiated chords ring truest on the gliding instrumental jam “Song for Devadip,” from his overlooked ’78 sanctification, Oneness.
 
Biggest Domestic Garden
Eddy Lepp sowed a garden in Lake County, CA, of 35,000 medical-marijuana plants. Volunteers worked night and day to tend, prune and water the farm, which resembled a winery in its symmetry and beauty. Unfortunately, the authorities felt otherwise and swooped in to bust Eddy and destroy the medicine. Imprisoned in 2009, the 58-year-old Vietnam War vet still has eight more years to serve on his 10-year sentence.
 
Best Celebrity Activist
Woody Harrelson has continually put his fame on the line in support of cannabis causes, donating millions of dollars and even getting himself busted in 1996 for planting four hemp seeds in Kentucky. If there were an Academy Award for Hollywood activists, Woody’s Oscar would be made of hemp
 
Most Transparent Ad Grabs for Stoner Dollars
When Nike began marketing skater T-shirts emblazoned with “Get High” and “Dope,” their corporate rationale was that “Sport is an antidote to dugs.” Right – because kids are buying these tees for their clear anti-drug message.

And how about Budweiser? Suddenly, the company’s longtime ad slogan has been significantly altered: It’s no longer “This Bud’s for You” – these days, it’s “Grab Some Buds.” And you expect us to believe that no one on the corporate level managed to notice that blatant reference to marijuana? What, are you high?

 
Top NBA Stoners
What is it about playing center? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robert Parish and Bill Walton – all NBA Hall of Famers – each had a close relationship with cannabis. Abdul-Jabbar wrote about his pot use in his autobiography, Giant Steps (but said it never helped him make a jump shot). Walton was a Deadhead and made no secret of his affinity for weed, while Parish made headlines in 1991 when the cops intercepted two ounces shipped to his house. His $37 fine became a rallying point for MassCann activists, and today possession of less than one ounce has been decriminalized in Massachusetts.
 
Biggest Disappointment
Despite President Barack Obama’s promises to the contrary, the Feds continue their war on the medical-marijuana industry. Moreover, the Justice Department has recently dug in its heels and doubled down on its stated position that pot has no medical value whatsoever. After decades of abuse at the hands of unenlightened presidents, the cannabis community expected a lot more from this one, especially given his forceful rhetoric on the campaign trail. Alas, it’s been a case of “Barack to the Future.”
 
Best Ganja Yoga Class
Toronto-based Dee Dussault teaches “ganja yoga.” She offers the classes in her home yoga studio, artsy lofts, hotel rooms, even at the stoner-friendly Hot Box Cafe in the Kensington Market neighborhood. Her classes can be giddy, trippy experiences for some, but she encourages ganja use as a sacred vehicle to arrive at profound kundalini awakenings. Dee has had mostly positive feedback, except for a few puritanical yoga practitioners who claim that achieving nirvana shouldn’t rely on any external aids. Dee reminds them that in ancient India, yogis would smoke hash or imbibe ganja-infused milk drinks to enhance their spiritual experiences. She also believes that entheogenic substances are the crux of all mystical traditions and touts cannabis, mushrooms, and other forbidden delights as a tool for awakening the “God within.”

Biggest Foreign Pot Farm Bust
In July 2011, the Mexican army seized what it described as the largest marijuana farm in the country’s history – a 300-acre pot plantation in Baja California that required 60 workers. The authorities claimed that it could yield as much as 120 tons of pot annually, worth an estimated $160 million. The garden was hidden in plain sight under black netting in the desert.
 
Top Pot Heroes
Who else but the late, great Jack Herer, the granddaddy of the modern marijuana movement, and Dennis Peron, the premier medical-pot pioneer?
 
Top Pot Rallies
In North America, there are no equals: The Seattle Hempfest has been drawing hundreds of thousands of pot fans for 20 years and, in August 2011, devoted three days to the celebration. Further north, the Toronto Freedom Festival has drawn over 40,000 people for five consecutive years and features a boisterous annual parade through the city’s streets.
 
Best Headphone Experience
The psychedelicized Scottish band known as the Aliens landed atop the subterranean jungle with their 2009 gem, Luna. The album’s epicurean opener, “Bobby’s Song,” finishes up with a trippy, dope-smokin’ mantra that will hook every serious Beatles disciple, while tracks like the fascinatingly hallucinatory “Theremin” drift mellifluously into the ether.
 
Most Amazing Pot Cure (Well, Almost)
Lamb and Lynx Gaede were raised as neo-Nazis. At the tender age of 11, they began performing songs about white supremacy as Prussian Blue, their singing group. But pot “saved” their lives, they say, rescuing Lynx in particular from the scourge of pharmaceuticals, which had wrecked her health after she was diagnosed with cancer. The Gaede twins have become advocates for the legalization of medical marijuana in all 50 states, and they also say that pot has made them more tolerant of humanity.

Still, a few pesky issues remain, such as the Holocaust. Lynx allows that “certain things happened,” but adds: “I think a lot of the stories got misconstrued. I mean, yeah, Hitler wasn’t the best, but Stalin wasn’t, Churchill wasn’t. I disagree with everybody at that time.” And Lamb opines: “I just think everyone needs to freakin’ get over it. That’s what I think.”