Famed Poet John Sinclair Makes Michigan’s First Recreational Cannabis Purchase

Poet and activist John Sinclair, 78, became the first person in Michigan to legally purchase recreational cannabis after living a lifetime dedicated to cannabis freedom. The purchase represents an iconic shift from prohibition to legalization in the state over the past 50 years.

In 1969, Sinclair was arrested for possession of two joints and originally faced an excessive sentence of ten years in prison, which prompted a wide scale protest. A few years later, at the John Sinclair Freedom Rally in Ann Arbor, notable artists and activists such as Allen Ginsberg, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Bob Seger, Stevie Wonder, David Peel, Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman all participated in the effort to free Sinclair. The musicians and poets wondered if the police or federal authorities arrested him due to his anti-Vietnam War views. As a member of the Yippies and the White Panther Party, he was generally regarded as a threat. The protest arguably forced the Michigan Supreme Court to overturn Sinclair’s conviction, reducing it to under three years and led to the decriminalization of cannabis in Ann Arbor.

In a bizarre twist of fate, Sinclair now becomes the first to make a legal cannabis purchase in Michigan without a doctor’s approval. Sinclair purchased 10 pre-rolls of Gorilla Glue #4 at Arbors Wellness in Ann Arbor. “It went swiftly. I got some weed over the counter,” Sinclair told ABC News when reached by phone. “It’s about time. I’ve been waiting for this for 50 years.”

Dec. 1 marked the first day of recreational cannabis sales in Michigan, and four of Ann Arbor’s six legal provisioning centers are open. Sinclair’s purchase marks an end to an era, when as little as two joints could lead to a 10-year stay in prison.

John Sinclair Seeds features poems, songs and merchandise related to the poet. Below are the lyrics of a song called “John Sinclair” that John Lennon wrote on behalf of the poet and his wildly excessive prison sentence:

 

It ain’t fair, John Sinclair

In the stir for breathing air

Won’t you care for John Sinclair?

In the stir for breathing air

Let him be, set him free

Let him be like you and me

They gave him ten for two

What else can the judges do?

 

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