“Sometimes good people make bad laws,” reputable journalistic adman Rick Cusick explains to his 10 year-old daughter, Dylan, when confronted with his ’07 Beantown arrest for simple marijuana possession.
The Montclair native, an associate publisher of High Times, would’ve had a hard time denying the charge since his face was plastered on Boston Globe’s second page the day after the incident. But while lightweights may’ve trembled at the thought of going down in a ridiculously ludicrous pot bust, the easygoing Cusick took it in stride. All this and more from a man who once went to church demanding to be excommunicated.
For a short history lesson, the bond between the publication you’re now perusing, Aquarian Weekly, and stoner signpost, High Times, has continued to be strong. Both enlightened journals have been around for over thirty years, with Aquarian promoting marijuana legalization since its earliest 1969 issues and High Times (initiated in 1974) hiring a few of Jersey’s longest running weekly’s colorful individuals during the ‘90s.
First, Merilee Kuchon (now in the band, Blower), whom I met shooting pool at a music label party, hired me and moved on to High Times circa 1996. Then, Aquarian advertising director, Rick Cusick, let his freak flag fly higher and went to HT (a few years after music editor Steve Bloom rewarded me with a part-time writing gig there).
Before becoming a crony of Cusick, a weather-beaten gray-haired son-of-a-Jersey-cop, I had already befriended his better-looking half, Delaney, while she worked at Aquarian. Over time, Cusick gained notoriety for his knowledgeable cannabis culture writings and occasional on-air appearances, proclaiming the benefits of ‘good herb’ and earning a prestigious spot amongst stoner elite. His camaraderie with iconic idols Willie Nelson (whom he has twice interviewed), Tommy Chong, and George Carlin, plus stints on Showbiz Tonight, Spike TV’s Manswers, and nationally syndicated radio program, The Phil Henry Show, brought my good natured pal a modicum of underground fame. Cusick claims he’s received his “fifteen minutes of fame in thirty-second increments.”
Presently, Cusick is involved in a groundbreaking lawsuit against the State of Massachusetts for getting caught toking a doobie with long-time cannabis defender and National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws director, Keith Stroup, at 2007’s Boston Freedom Rally. Prior to the annual event, held at the prestigious Boston Commons by NORML and regularly attended by 5,000-plus people, Cusick and Stroup setup a shared booth then got busted with one-third of a joint. Both veteran pot advocates refused to back down when confronted with jail time and community service, receiving the high-minded services of Harvard Law Professor, Charles Nesson, thereafter.