Danny Danko is the Senior Cultivation Editor at High Times magazine, a passionate and hardworking advocate for marijuana reform, and one of the nicest guys in the movement. He’s also very busy, so it was more than exciting to get a few minutes of his time to discuss his past, and his next trip back to Boston.
How did you start out at High Times?
After moving to New York City, I started growing for a living in various loft apartment-type situations. I also had a number of jobs in shipping and got a gig for a hemp clothing company called Headcase Hemp Hats. They were an advertiser and friends of High Times, so I slowly but surely became a part of the fam. I played on the HT softball team and shared bud with many of the staff members. I remember I started out part time just answering phones and breaking down boxes. Eventually that led to a full-time gig as products manager in 2002 and then the rest is history.
How long have you been involved in marijuana cultivation? Any advice?
I was involved in it as a hobby since the early ’90s and more as a job since the mid-to late ’90s. Growing in an urban environment is very hard. For every successful crop, there are disasters where landlords or firemen intrude and things have to come down, nosy neighbors and things like that. There’s a thuggish element that preys on growers as well because they know we can’t, and won’t, go to the police.
Are you surprised with how popular home growing has become in recent years?
I am both surprised and not surprised. It’s a logical thing to want to grow your own and the easing of the laws makes it even more of a no-brainer. Why pay high prices for something you can produce for pennies, and also know everything that went in it or on it. It’s a great way to remove yourself from the black market and not have to rely on a dealer or dispensary to provide what you’re looking for.
What’s it really like working at High Times?
The day to day is we have to get the job done. We have a monthly magazine, five major events per year, calendars, books, videos, a thriving website with fresh content daily. It’s hard work.
We manage to have fun but if people think we just sit around getting high all day, they’ve obviously not been paying attention to our output.
Are you ever worried about High Times getting busted by the police?
They’ve targeted some of our advertisers in the past but it’s so few and far between. What is there to target us for? Everything we do is protected by the first amendment and we have great lawyers that keep us from crossing any lines. I can’t live my life in paranoia or fear.
I’ve got nothing to hide. I’ll smoke pot on CNN right now. I’m so sick of people hiding away their pot use.
Marijuana would be legal today if stoners had the courage of the civil rights movement, feminists, and the LGBT community.
Are you attending this year’s Boston Freedom Rally?
Of course! It killed me to miss it last year. I’m excited to say I’ll be in Boston for the historic first-time two-day Rally! I haven’t missed many over the years.
Long before I ever was onstage giving speeches or introducing bands, I was an attendee happy to see so many like-minded people get together peacefully and celebrate the flower. It fueled my fire to keep on doing what I was doing and played a major role in who I am today.