Billy Hayes likes to say he’s been in the cannabis market for the previous 50 years, and is amazed at the progress produced in the new globe order of weed.

“I not too long ago visited each dispensary in Las Vegas,” he shared. “As I stroll in every door, I can not think that this exists. I was like a kid in a candy shop! It is completely thoughts-blowing to see all the items out there now from this one particular remarkable plant that is sustained humankind for thousands of years.”

Lately, he hit the pavement in his hometown of Las Vegas to market his one particular-man play, “Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes.”  The play has him reliving his knowledge, when telling the truth of his time in a Turkish prison for smuggling two.five kilos or a tiny additional than 4 pounds of hash out of Istanbul, Turkey. The show plays one particular evening only in Las Vegas on Saturday, August 17th at eight p.m. at the Significant Springs Theater. 

“The film, Midnight Express, was loosely primarily based on my book, but had a lot of misnomers – particularly of my speaking out in court against the Turkish individuals. I really like Turkey and its individuals. At the time I went into court I had been practicing the Zen of yoga – I was into really like and light, and there’s no way I would have screamed out my hatred for the Turkish individuals – that just didn’t come about.”

The riff with Turkey has lengthy considering that been settled, and he’s been welcomed back considering that. The other fallacy from the film was that the arrest was the initial time he had smuggled hash out of Istanbul.

Billy Hayes at his trial Courtesy of Billy Hayes

“I had carried out it 3 instances prior, with no challenges,” he explained. “It was a popular issue to do back then. I was in my senior year of college in Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to grow to be a journalist, when a buddy who had just returned from Istanbul shared some hash with me, and that is when all the things changed. “

His buddy conveyed how low cost the hash was in Turkey, that you could obtain it on the street, and they didn’t verify baggage or frisk you prior to boarding the plane. But in the late 1960s, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and its army started blowing factors up, top to a crack-down on safety, and he was searched. Hayes was one particular of the hash smuggling victims, if you will, from a further country’s war.

The irony of his arrest and subsequent prison sentence (decreased from life to 30 years), is that on his pretty initial evening in prison he was handed a hash pipe. This trend would continue, as hash was usually enjoyed in Turkey and in prison. In truth, of the vacationers in prison with him, most of them have been there for smuggling hash. Provides continued upon his escape, rowing 17 miles to Greece and freedom, with gives to obtain hash at every turn. 

“For me, to be in a position to stroll into a dispensary these days and obtain what ever solution I want with cannabis, concentrates—hash—is bittersweet. There are nonetheless individuals sitting in prison all more than the globe for promoting weed, and right here I am enjoying the bounty in the now legal state of Nevada. It is surreal, to say the least.”

Hayes, who was just 14 hours shy of getting a degree in journalism upon his arrest, stated he wanted to travel to see the globe, to be in a position to inform stories. But, he by no means imagined a lifelong gig of becoming the guy who escaped a Turkish prison for smuggling hash.

His escape in 1975, following 5 years in prison, was certainly a story. The book, Midnight Express, is named following what they get in touch with an escape. It was published in 1977 and speedily optioned for a film of the similar title, written by Oliver Stone. By 1978 he was at the Cannes Film Festival, exactly where the film won awards and received accolades. But the genuine prize was meeting his wife, Wendy. The couple are nonetheless with each other these days following 39 years of marriage.

In his backpack throughout his arrest was a book on yoga, Light on Yoga, by B.K.S. Iyengar, and he credits his continued practice on assisting him get by way of prison and the aftermath of fame to adhere to.

“Yoga saved my life in prison and it nonetheless does each day,” he stated. “I’d get up prior to dawn each morning, spread a blanket and do my yoga. I was so fortunate to find out yoga when I did. Yoga keeps me healthier, but additional importantly, it keeps me emotionally balanced. It keeps me reasonably sane and I’ll take reasonably sane any day of the week!”

Hayes does not take into account himself a cannabis patient, sticking to smoking flower of sativa from a glass pipe, in lieu of dabs or concentrates.

“I like to be higher,” he laughed. “The initial time I smoked I was in college – it was 1966 when I was passed my initial joint. We have been in an attic, sitting in a circle and I took a hit. My close friends stated not to take in also significantly, but I took a genuinely huge hit, held it in for as lengthy as I could. As the smoke flowed out of me, my complete physique tingled. I genuinely, genuinely liked it and knew it was for me.”

He’s proud to say he’s smoked weed just about each day of his life considering that. Rather than get in touch with him a criminal for smuggling hash out of Turkey to the U.S., you could say he was meeting provide and demand. In light of legalization spreading across the globe these days, that is not a stretch.

Hayes has performed his one particular-man show, “Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes,” hundreds of instances about the globe. He’s pleased to share the story in this new age of cannabis and hemp acceptance. 

 “In going to dispensaries in Vegas to market my show, I’ve loved the power of the young individuals I’ve met,” he shared. “They are healing the globe, and I’m pleased to be a smaller component of that healing 50 years later.”

Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes
Saturday, August 17, 2019
eight:00 p.m.
Significant Springs Theater
333 South Valley View Blvd., Las VegasFor additional data check out, http://www.ridingthemidnightexpresswithbillyhayes.com/weblog/schedule_tickets