Updated: Jan 14, 2021
This Day in Cannabis History:
In the mid-1960s, the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco became the epicenter of America's emerging new counterculture—attracting hippies by the thousands from all over the country looking to smoke weed, take LSD, and "tune in, turn on, and drop out." Two such hippies were brothers Jay and Ron Thelin from Oakland who—after seeing a lecture by Tim Leary's Harvard colleague & psychedelic partner Richard Alpert in 1964—tripped on acid and were inspired to open a store catering to the counterculture crowd.
On January 3, 1966, they opened The Psychedelic Shop at 1535 Haight Street—selling hippie clothing and jewelry, incense, records, posters, books, magazines, and of course, drug paraphernalia. Right away, the Shop became a hippie hotspot—serving as a hub for drug culture and information (and sales), and a hangout for radical activists groups like The Diggers (an anarchist street theater troupe).
Later that year (on Nov. 15), the Shop was raided by police, and Ron Thelin was arrested—leading to the longest trial in the city's history. Due to a fire and declining business, Thelin eventually closed The Psychedelic Shop permanently on October 6, 1967, and gave away their remaining inventory.