Howard Stern how do you do it? His SiriusXM show is the eye of a tornado involving Hugh Hefner, Playboy Mogul, and his jilted ex-fiance Crystal Harris. It's dripping with gossip details, 85-year old man sex, all the things that make for clickability on the Internet. More disturbing are Ms. Harris' allegations that the Playboy Mansion is a cult-inducing fortress from which there is no easy escape. It's an ugly spat on the heels of his 2010 documentary â€œPlayboy, Activist, Rebelâ€ that showed his role in civil rights movements, sexual liberation and the establishment of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Hero, villain or both? As medical cannabis patients we may want to reserve judgment until we have explored the entire storyâ€¦ â€œTo live outside the law, you must be honest. And that's what Howard is,â€ said Bob Lefsetz, a pop culture writer of the highest repute. â€œThis Crystal Harris interview needs to be heard. If so, there'd be outrage. The Playboy empire would crumble, the Mansion would be closed. Instead, the mainstream props it up, it's a good story, it sells newspapers and TV shows, it generates clicks. And you wonder what's wrong with Americaâ€¦â€ Hef has always made headlines, and has been stalked by hypocrisy since he argued he was fighting the women's liberation battle while feminists said to his face, that he was setting the movement back with blatant objectification on his glossy magazine pages. He gave up alcohol after developing a nasty habit, and became fond of smoking cannabis out of his ever-present corncob-pipe. When NORML founder Keith Stroup was being rejected by every foundation in the country, it was the Playboy Foundation that made the first grant of $5,000. Hef personally explained what an important issue it was to him, and Stroup was ready to take another job if he couldn't raise funds for NORML. Imagine how medical cannabis laws would be different if NORML never became the lobbying force it was in the 1970s. It's a rather interesting twist of fate that is often overlooked in America's cannabis folklore, so take five minutes and watch Keith Stroup tell it from his point of view. Patrick Anderson wrote extensively about this period of NORML's development in his book â€œHigh in America: The True Story Behind NORMLâ€ despite being a square when it came to cannabis consumption. â€œAs a writer, I have been fascinated by the mixture of comedy and tragedy that has surrounded the issue, and by the wonderful variety of people who became caught up in it in the 1970s,â€ Anderson worte in the first chapter of his 1981 classic. â€œThe cast of characters includes Stroup, an admirably flawed protagonist; Peter Bourne, a well-intentioned man who ventured beyond his political depth, Hugh Hefner, who scorned drugs for years, then suddenly found marijuana giving him unexpected pleasure, and a cocaine investigation causing him unexpected pain; Gordon Brownell, a Ronald Reagan adviser who was transformed by psychedelic drugs into a pro-marijuana politician; Sue Rusche, a liberal Atlantan who became an anti-drug crusader; Tom Forcade, a smuggler turned Yippie who made a fortune with a pro-drug magazine; Frank Demolli, a college freshman whose love of marijuana won him a twenty-five-year prison term; and Bob Randall, a teacher who challenged the government because he needed marijuana to save his eyesight.â€ Even as late as 2010, Hef told Fox News: â€œI don't think there's any question that marijuana should be legalized because to not legalize it, we're paying the same price we paid for prohibition. In other words, it is a medical concern and it should be handled that way.â€ It's an unfair burden that the medical cannabis community carries. Those that speak out in our favor become our image-makers, their reputations become intertwined with our cause. Since so many want to see cannabis as an illegal substance with no redeeming qualities already, the fall of Hugh Hefner concerns us. Not as much as Federal Agents raiding our community gardens, but on some cultural level it stings a bit. Obviously the cannabis community won't race to defend Hef, he has capable staffs and a wealth of experience side-stepping PR disasters. He can handle his own. But as he closes in on the funeral arrangements, we need to give him acknowledgement for decades of support. Even as we disagree with his choices, because cannabis activism is a unisex operation that seeks gender equality in everything we do, or if we think he's a smut peddlerâ€¦ his contribution to legal cannabis reform is still rewarding us today. As Hef gets clowned from Auckland to Amsterdam with stories like this sensationalist bit of drivel on the otherwise classy Huffington Post, we suggest you watch the award winning documentary and think about what life was like before Playboy Magazine. And what life would be like had NORML never existed.