Sad to hear that Howard Marks - A.K.A Mr Nice - has passed away of inoperable cancer at the age of 70. The father of four was born in Kenfig Hill, Wales in 1945 and went on to study at Oxford University at Balliol college where he took nuclear physics, and later got post graduate qualifications in philosopy he was also a fluent Welsh speaker and practicing Bhuddist.
As a drug smuggler he found infamy however, asnd was sentenced to 25 years inprisonment , realeased on parole in 1995 for good behaviour.
In his 1996 autobiography Mr Nice he wrote with humour and unashamed bravado about his life and the sheer scale of his daily deeds and escapades involving a whole host of characters ranging from the C.I.A. M.I.6. the P.L..O. the I.R.A to the mafia.
Mr Nice was one of 43 aliases he used which struck a chord in the public imagination.
A man I was fortunate to meet, at a speaking tour and remember rushing up to him at Hay -on - wye one year in order for him to sign some king size rizlas of mine, and amiable friendly bloke I could not hope to have encountered. Mischeivious twiknling eyes and warm handshake
On his release he became a notable campaigner for the legislation of cannabis and toured a comedy show, a man regarded as a true modern day folk hero, counter cultural icon and loveable rogue. A life spent indulging in all things good, friendship, laughter music and of course drugs.
A man of very few regrets he will be remembered with fondness. He certainly lived quite a life.
Reflecting on his crimes he said " Smuggling cannabis was a wonderful way of living - perpetual culture shock, absurd amounts of money, and the comforing knowledge of getting so many people stoned."
Still passionate about the issue he stood for Parliament on four seperate occassions on the single issue of the legislation of cannabis.
He had completed eight cycles of chemotherapy and had initially responded well, but alas his condition finally succumbed. He died surrounded by loving family members at his Bridgend home in the early hours of Sunday.
One of his last acts was to set up the Mr Nice foundation, to ensure causes dear to him continue to get support. It is still outrageous that after his death the innocent little drug that is cannabis is still illegal, and that the war on drugs is still not succeeding. Let us hope that in the coming years, legislation is finally achieved, that it becomes controlled and sanitised .
Howard Marks, Mr Nice, R.I.P keep on rolling deep. Hashes to ashes.
Stoned immaculate. Do not go gentle into that good night.