Marin Weed Watch Entrepreneur Barry Cohen is ‘almost never on time.’
By Jonah Raskin
When I think about time, I think of the Chambers Brothers hit, “Time Has Come Today.” It sounded psychedelic in the ’60s. It still does. Now, when I think of time, I also think of my 420Waldos watch that features a marijuana leaf on the face, another leaf on the back and two more leaves on the straps.
The timepieces are named after a legendary group of Marin County stoners who gathered religiously at 4:20pm at a wall outside San Rafael High. Now, April 20 is the day when marijuana users get stoned from San Rafael and Santa Cruz to outer space, which might be in your own head.
My 420Waldos watch provides a cool way to break the ice and start a conversation about marijuana, the Chambers Brothers and Marcel Proust, the French author of In Search of Lost Time.
Barry Cohen, the man behind the Waldos, tells me, “Irony of ironies, after 30-plus years in the watch industry, I’m almost never on time.”
An ex-New Yorker, with an office in Corte Madera, Barry founded Luminox decades ago, and manufactured watches for police departments and the military, including the Navy Seals. Naturally, consumers wanted those same timepieces. Four years ago, Barry sold his company. More recently, he decided to give back to the community and help his favorite causes. “I know how to make watches,” he tells me. “I also believe that marijuana should not be criminalized.”
A percentage of the profits from the sale of the 420Waldos goes to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), an organization truly deserving of support. Barry tells me, “The time is now for the feds to legalize medical cannabis.”
Over the course of the last year, Barry sold about 1,000 cannabis watches. Not as many as he would have liked to sell. “If Seth Rogen or Snoop Dogg said ‘check out these watches,’ I’m sure we’d sell a lot more than we have so far,” he says.
Part of the problem might be that nowadays most of us consult our phones for the time, though the Bohemian editor has a real wristwatch.
Thorstein Veblen, who wrote The Theory of the Leisure Class, might call the 420Waldos an example of “conspicuous consumption.”
My pal Gus Reichbach would say, “If you have it, flaunt it.” A lawyer, a judge and a pothead, he flaunted his boho lifestyle that included Cuban cigars, silk scarves and elegant suits. I remember getting stoned with him in 1967 and listening to the Chambers Brothers “Time Has Come Today.”
An advocate for legal weed, Gus would surely want a 420Waldos, on sale now for under $100. (420waldos.com/shop/) As Judge Reichbach would say, “That’s a steal.”
Jonah Raskin is the author of “Marijuanaland: Dispatches from an American War.”