top of page

as seen in High Times:

Who is Paxton Quigley?

by Maureen Meehan
Paxon Turtleneck.jpg

Like most cannabis users in the 1970s, Paxton Quigley knew it was wise to be discreet about her cannabis consumption as she moved through several successful careers in academia, research, investigative journalism, and acting.

Then she took a job where she came face-to-face with one of the most famous names in marijuana, Keith Stroup, founder of NORML, who was visiting the most famous person in the adult entertainment industry, Hugh Hefner.

No, Quigley was not a Playboy Bunny. And Stroup was not at the Playboy Mansion for the usual reasons that gentlemen visit there.

Quigley had been hired by the company’s CEO, Christie Hefner, as Corporate Director of Community Relations with the goal of promoting the “positive side” of Playboy and the Playboy Foundation.

The year was 1980 – the beginning of two terms of President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy’s disastrous “just say no” policy. Thankfully, Hugh Hefner countered the First Lady’s misleading propaganda by just saying “yes” to cannabis. 

Quigley became aware of her employer’s pro-weed stance her first day on the job when she shared a blunt with Hugh Hefner, Christie, and the actor James Caan. She also knew she’d just landed a “job made in heaven.”

Soon thereafter she was organizing massive fundraisers for Hefner’s and Playboy’s various philanthropic activities, including NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

“Many of today’s cannabis consumers may not know that in 1971, the Playboy Foundation had quietly provided NORML with an initial $5,000 then soon became its primary funder throughout the 1970’s, giving the organization $100,000 a year for seven years,” Quigley told High Times.And it wasn’t just about the money nor the centerfolds.

The first balanced media coverage about the War on Drugs was done by Playboy magazine, and the coverage continues today.

“By focusing attention in Playboy magazine on some of the most egregious victims of the war against marijuana smokers, [Hefner] helped us convince millions of Americans that marijuana prohibition was a misguided and destructive public policy,” Stroup said when Hefner passed away in September 2017 at the age of 91.

Fast forward through years of writing and publishing books, lecturing about women’s self-defense issues, and hosting a variety of TV and radio shows, Quigley decided it was time to get back into the fight.

“I decided to use my media experience to spread the word about cannabis,” she said.

The podcast Cannabis Healing with Paxton Quigley radio was born in June 2018.

On her weekly radio show, Quigley interviews a wide variety of people in the cannabis space—physicians, researchers, athletes, advocates, attorneys, parents of autistic children, and others in the industry. Of course, Keith Stroup was one of Quigley’s first guests on her show.

“We’re all about sharing cannabis stories, helping small companies get their products known and raising awareness about legalization, policy and pot prisoners through such guests as Amy Povah, who founded a non-profit that advocates for non-violent drug offenders,” Quigley said.

Cannabis information also includes such basics as growing one’s own weed at home. That topic was taken care of by HIGH TIMES senior cultivation editor Danny Danko in Quigley’s December 2018 broadcast.

bottom of page