|“What do you mean, what would I do for a lighter?”
Marijuana activist/visionary Rob Griffin set the standard, simply because he was there before almost anyone else. When he launched 420 Girls in 1993, there weren’t any other sites centered around photos of naked women smoking weed.
The goal, Griffin says, was always to draw more people into the legalization movement through the beauty, glamor and sex appeal of the nude female figure.
The site features nude women smoking pot, posing with cannabis paraphernalia, marijuana plants and buds, posing in dispensaries, fields and grow rooms.
While the formula has certainly caught on — there are many others like it today — 420girls.com was the original.
Griffin’s mission came into being as a result of a marijuana possession conviction from 1992, while Rob was living in Maryland. Because he was then considered, by law, to be a felon due to drug-related charges, his right to vote was permanently suspended.
(NSFW after the fold)
According to Griffin, “No care or interest was taken as to whether the possession was medical or not,” and he was given the same caste in society as is given to major, felony drug offenders — most often those involved with hard drugs, or involved in crimes such as sales or trafficking drugs across state lines.
Rob, on the other hand, was in no way involved with illegal sales or trafficking of anything, much less anything to do with hard drugs. He had simply been the victim of a cruel, unfair and entirely undeserved conviction based on unjust biases that are the result of a national lack of education concerning cannabis.
“Unfortunately,” Rob says, “much of this suppression of education, along with the spread of false ‘data’ is the agenda of our own government.”
This was the turning point for Griffin. He decided to take a stand, take action and form a movement to end the ridiculous criminalization of marijuana. “Maybe I couldn’t vote any longer,” Rob said, “but I certainly didn’t have to sit still or be quiet about it.”
Rob’s mission was born: Legalizing marijuana by educating the public and creating cannabis awareness through online media, facts, information and a socially cohesive community.
Blazing A Trail
Rob Griffin was the first individual to create a nude modeling project combined with cannabis imagery, with the 420 Girls “420 Girl of the Month” competition. The first photos the world saw in this theme and style were Rob’s original idea and creation, and marked the launch of the 420 Girls division of 420 Magazine
Of course, immediately following this popular feature, similar versions of the same idea popped up all over the Internet.
Rob’s own personal identity as a cannabis user falls into three categories.
He is an ordained minister of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry, which recognizes the daily use of marijuana as a religious sacrament.
He is also a legal medical marijuana patient, which allows him to buy cannabis from licensed collectives and use it as medicine which is protected in California law.
Rob’s Cherokee heritage (he is 50 percent Native American) also gives him legality as a cannabis user in the form of religious and cultural protection for the Native American people’s historical and ethnic use of the hemp plant.
According to Griffin, 420 Magazine
is still the number one online cannabis community for marijuana facts and information, and it is still 100 percent free.
“Anyone can access the information and archives completely anonymously and with absolutely no cost or charge for access to any of the website or community,” Griffin said.
”It is also bigger now than ever before, and the most comprehensive site on the Internet for up-to-date information about cannabis, worldwide cannabis news, cultivation information, and the most positive and enjoyable interactive community of individuals involved in the modern cannabis subculture.”
The content of 420girls.com
is 18+, and it is a pay site, but Rob generously agreed to let Toke of the Town
give you a little sample of what you can see a lot more of at his site.
Any adult with a credit card can access and enjoy more than 15,000 photos of nude women of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds, smoking, posing with and showing appreciation for ganja.
According to Griffin, all money raised from subscriptions to 420girls.com
go right back into the financial demands of running 420 Magazine
, of which 420 Girls is considered a division.
Predictably, some people insist upon viewing 420 Girls in a quite negative manner. Many have dismissed the site as pornography, glamorizing drug use and encouraging illegal behavior.
But that would be an inaccurate and biased view. First of all, the site is not pornographic. Since pornography is defined in cultural anthropology as the depiction of sexual degradation of women and as material having no artistic value, it’s an inappropriate term for 420 Girls.
There is neither degradation nor any sort of penetration depicted on the site. All the photography is based on the choices of each model regarding how much or how little to show, what positions are used, and how much or how little sexuality the model wishes to project as part of the photography.
Some sets are quite sexual; others remind the viewer more of being in a museum of art or even of a quiet evening at home getting high with your girlfriend. Some of the models are silly and laugh a lot in their photos (which wouldn’t be hard to do, considering the amount of weed being consumed in some of the shoots). Other models maintain a steamier, more mysterious “come hither” appearance.
The wide variety of women presented as 420 Girls is one of the great strengths of the site. The women range from amateur models to political activists to porn stars, college students, grandmothers, random volunteers and a healthy sprinkling of girls next door and stoner girlfriends. A variety of body types are seen, from thin to rotund, a refreshing change to the numbing sameness of body type when it comes to mass media standards.
The 420 Girls are white, African American, asian, Native American, Indian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic and from all countries, backgrounds, income brackets and belief systems.
Naked Girls Smoking Weed
In 2007, Griffin released a very successful spin-off from the 420 Girls, his first major published work in relation to 420 Magazine
and the 420 Girls division. The book was named Naked Girls Smoking Weed
(great title), with the subtitle, “Best Of 420 Girls.”
The coffee table book is chock full of cannabis facts and photography, featuring hundreds of tasteful photos of naked girls smoking marijuana using bongs, joints, blunts, pipes, hookahs, and vaporizers.
Girls are posing with plants, covered in buds and more. Each page includes an important fact about hemp and/or marijuana.
Featured in the book are some of the best 420 Girls from the 420girls.com
“Could there be anything better?” Griffin asks. “Playboy Bunnies, Penthouse Pets and amateur models coming together and taking a stand by creating cannabis awareness to the world.”
He’s All About The Work
Looking from the outside, one might imagine that Griffin leads something of a playboy lifestyle, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
Rob isn’t flashy, rich, or a “lady’s man.” He doesn’t go out clubbing, doesn’t party, and he doesn’t sit around stoned all day.
Rob describes his own work schedule as “Twenty-five hours a day, eight days a week, 53 weeks a year, 366 days of the year.”
Griffin spends all of his time, from early morning to late at night, working on the mission site and helping individual people. He answers more than 1,500 emails per day and stays busy managing his websites and dealing with day-to-day struggles of being in business.
Rob has actually revealed the amount of his first royalty check for Naked Girls Smoking Weed, and it came to $1,300. (For informational purposes, that is how much Griffin earned in the first six months since the publication of the book.) Griffin said the royalties went immediately back into the website, paying for the costs of Internet upkeep and round-the-clock site moderation.
Money actually seems a secondary consideration for Griffin, especially since he turned down a $75,000 employment opportunity from High Times magazine.
So what makes Rob and 420 Magazine
different from High Times
and other cannabis publications?
According to Griffin, it’s the mission. “While High Times and many other similar magazines and websites support the legalization of marijuana, their primary goals are not about the legalization and the political movement for the decriminalization of marijuana,” Rob said.
Looking At The Future
After more than 15 years, what’s next for Rob Griffin, the 420 Girls and 420 Magazine
Current projects underway include production of a documentary about the community and mission, as well as site expansion, tech upgrades, fundraising, promotion, and working to make the major political and social steps needed to propel the movement toward the goal of getting marijuana decriminalized in the United States.
Until then, Rob will continue to answer emails, help others, and provide support and advice.
“I’ll never stop fighting for what I believe in,” Griffin said.