Henry Rollins is a legend on many levels. When I think of people that have used their fame and enormous platform to fight to help make the world a better, Henry Rollins extremely high on my list. Having been born in 1981, and Henry Rollins talking about social issues for so long, it seems like I have always known a world in which Henry Rollins has lent his voice to very worthy causes.
The issues that Henry Rollins was talking about on major TV stations like MTV and beyond throughout the years seem very common in 2017, but that wasn’t always the case. I was an impressionable youth when Henry was talking about those things, and it seemed so radical at the time. But I also remember admiring Mr. Rollins because he always stated his opinion in an unapologetic fashion, but also in a way that was very concise. That combined with him having a bad ass look made him someone that I definitely wanted to be growing up. He fights for veterans, the LGBT community, freeing the cannabis plant, and many other things.
Through the forces of the internet, cannabis, and what I can only assume is fantastic luck on my part I got to interview the man, the myth, the legend himself Mr. Henry Rollins. Henry Rollins is a ‘performer, writer, journalist, publisher, actor, comedian, radio host, motivational speaker, activist, and musician’ according to his Wikipedia page, which is absolutely one of the most impressive resumes you will find. He is as prolific as they come.
Henry Rollins is going to be the keynote speaker at the upcoming Oregon Marijuana Business Conference in Eugene, Oregon which is taking place this Friday April 28th. Tickets are still available, and you get $100 off the ticket price if you book your ticket before midnight tomorrow. I will be there, and you should be too. It’s my understanding that Henry is going to be at the VIP reception the night before the conference to hang out, and that’s something that you will absolutely not want to miss, and is worth every penny of the event fee in itself.
WN: You have long been an advocate for the LGBT community. How has the fight for LGBT rights been similar to the cannabis movement’s fight to reform prohibition laws?
Rollins: I think they have some similarities but are not necessarily the same struggles. LGBT rights, an example like the Obergefell v Hodges decision, why this had to go all the way to the Supreme Court is to me at least, ridiculous. There is no such thing as a “gay wedding.” Two consenting adults can get married, end of story. First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment stand up for this. The fact that cannabis use is prohibited in most of America has more to do with ignorance, racism and bigotry than it does with any legitimate concern. It is not a gateway drug any more than alcohol or prescription drugs, which I think are far more dangerous than cannabis. I think the movement to legalize cannabis has more to do with science, spreading of information and changing perception than it being a direct Civil Rights issue. That being said, a lot of the same people get knocked around in both areas.
WN: One thing that you seem to be very passionate about is helping military veterans. Despite numerous studies showing that cannabis can help veterans, doctors at the VA are still prohibited from discussing medical cannabis with their patients. How do you feel about this and other hurdles for veterans and safe access to cannabis?
Rollins: Again, it’s perception. It would be hard for the Department of Defense to have photographs of soldiers dealing with any number of medical issues with a joint in their hand. I think that could change but it will take awhile. If cannabis can help veterans, then it should be utilized immediately. I am willing to bet there would be reprehensive from the pharmaceutical world lobbying to block. For these people, it’s always profit over progress.
WN: You have been very forthright in admitting that you are not personally a cannabis user. So why advocate for reform so passionately?
Rollins: I have at least a few reasons. Just because I don’t want to use it, I don’t want to see you going to jail for using it. If it helps grandma’s arthritis so she can knit again, then she should have access right now. She can get bullets and vodka but not cannabis? Ridiculous. Also, selfishly, perhaps, but if there comes a day when I want to use it, I want to go to a store and buy it, not look for a “dealer.” I just think that the upsides of legalization and decriminalization of cannabis far
WN: What would you say to someone who is on the fence about supporting cannabis reform because of negative things they were told growing up about cannabis?
Rollins: I would say that in the light of day, they should take a sober look at the information on cannabis and run it against the things they were told and see if they still think the same way.
WN: You are coming to Eugene, Oregon to be the keynote speaker at the upcoming Oregon Marijuana Business Conference. Have you ever been to Oregon before, and if so, what do you think of the State?
Rollins: I have been there many times. I was there earlier this year for a show in Portland. I think the first time I went was in the summer of 1982. I have only been there for shows, so a few days at a time. People have always been good to me there. I can’t say I know too much about the state.
WN: A lot of the issues that are part of the current mainstream national conversation are issues that you have been championing for decades. What projects are you working on currently?
Rollins: I am working on some book projects. I am trying to get two out this year. One is going to the printer soon and the other one is in edit. Past that, I have some travel plans but nothing has been confirmed. I have a lot of regular work like radio and print stuff that keeps me busy. The book work takes all the time I can put into it.