Howard Marks didn’t sell the most dope ever, not even for an English dealer. He had more losses than others, was in more trouble than others, yet he still has an image that beats anyone else’s. He is notoriously cool and smart.

The legend of Howard Marks, one he also liked to weave, especially after his latest spell in prison with his autobiography shaping his legacy. He wasn’t always the cool laid back hippyesque dude he now tries to shape himself as, maybe he morphed into that dude over the years, but unlike hippies he loved the money and expensive suits and treats. But isn’t that what makes a cool drug dealer? In that case Mr Marks has really helped to shape quite the exquisite style: being a forerunner of the chic-hippy style many have copied since. Yet his is actually believable and true. He has the credentials.


Unlike other gangster D. H. Marks never resorted to violence, guns, or shady methods. He loved yoga, his family and took a great interest in his product and the fact that weed is illegal, as this makes anyone who is a consumer or distributer a criminal in the eyes of the law.

We all know that crime attracts violence, because there are no regulations, hence anything goes in some peoples view. Yet weed chills people out. It is no cocaine that plays with your sanity. It is not the nature of weed to behave violent, or aggressively. Marks stayed with the weed, expect for a few trips, he took nothing else. He smoked his own product, up to 20 spliffs a day and also tries to get it legalized. He is actually a nice guy, like the alias he assumed under a false passport that stuck to him so famously: Mr Nice.


Obviously Marks’ charisma and the media attention he not always disliked helped shaping the legend of Howard Marks, yet it was also his remarkable life: from using his brief involvement with the MI6 to getting out of a speaker scam, through battling his prison sentence in the United Sates down. Something highly unlikely as the Reagan administration back then, liked to put extra high and ridiculous sentence on weed dealers, dealing with them the same as smack, crack and cocaine dealers. The war on drugs was hot and the DEA was particularly hot for Mr Marks, pressuring Spain into his extradition.

In prison he battled depression and health problems. He only overcame these changing his mental attitude to the problem – with the right mental attitude, persistence and trying harder and smarter he managed to be released much earlier than he was supposed to, thus being re-united with his family. What I never understood was that the US prisons put him in solitary confinement when he was never a threat, or violent to anyone. They just said he had superior intelligence, which in itself was a threat. Really? Sure he was heading a dope syndicate, but he was and is not vindictive.

Anyway, what is not to like about an intelligent, adventurous, well-dressed man with a sense of humour, who also smuggled tons of weed across the world and smoked it too?

The legend of Howard Marks lives on.