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Howard Marks Remembered 5 Years After the Death of Mr. Nice

Howard Marks Remembered 5 Years After the Death of Mr. Nice

As a Welshman, it is with sadness that I reflect on the Life and High Times of Howard Marks and celebrate his lifestyle and Iconic Welsh status, five years after his untimely death from cancer on the 10th of April 2016. Born in 1945 in Kenfig Hill near Bridgend, South Wales, on the 13th of August, he attended Oxford University and started smoking and selling, then smuggling hashish from around the world. At his height, he controlled a tenth of the hashish produced in the 1970s and ’80s. As I was growing up and started indulging in Marijuana and Cannabis, I became aware of Howard Marks appearing on the BBC Wales News about his impending American court case in the mid-eighties. An irate, overzealous DEA agent had pursued him. The US taped his conversations about Nordle (code for cannabis) when he was using aliases to pursue an indulgence in a natural plant and consumed his cannabis in a joint, mainly…smuggling cannabis into America in rock bands, speakers, and kit for shows.

Howard Marks and Jason Rice at Spannabis 2011

On the run around the world, he continued to traffic cannabis, but it culminated in him being found guilty and sentenced to 25 years, serving the time in the notorious Terre Haute State Penitentiary, Indiana, and nicknamed ‘Narco Polo’ by fellows there. Because of good behavior and continued self-education, he served around 7years and was released, then subject to a book commission to write his memoirs. Thus transpired Mr. Nice, the book, then the film, after a life of excess in the cannabis world. A name from one of his many false ones. Howard was a man of the world, he had the voice of Richard Burton, and he looked like a Rolling Stone. He promoted his successful books and traveled and was a DJ as well as performing with musicians Super Furry Animals and others.

He pursued the cause of cannabis Liberation and legalization, supporting THC4NHS, an event to support the UK National Health Service back in 2011, locally to Tredegar, organized by myself, near the birthplace of the British National Health Service in 1947 in the HOT-VW…he stood for UK Parliament and helped cannabis aficionado Shantibaba start Mr. Nice Seedbank. I last saw him in Amsterdam in 2014 at the Cannabis Culture Awards, which he lost to Marc Emery. Also, many times in the audience at his Stand-up show, smoking and not smoking! He placed Jamaica as an admired place to visit and, when traveling to the Indian sub-Continent, saw as much as a ton of hash in one deal. But loved Wales! Howard produced fiction as well as his own story, Mr. Nice, and his tales and musings about cannabis in his Dope Stories. Other travel tomes were published about a Welshman abroad. A raconteur, orator, and generally great man, much missed and still celebrated with the Marks Marijuana March held in the Welsh Capital, Cardiff, in May annually, part of global cannabis awareness.

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– Jason Rice Heads of the Valleys Wales CC (HOT-VW CC) 2021-03-01 St David’s Day, Patron Saint of Wales

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