Coronado High: The True Story of the Coronado Company


Before anyone had heard of the Mexican cartels and the Colombian kingpins, there was a group of Cali surfers, friends who discovered weed in the ’60s and—in a fit of stoner inspiration—figured out how to smuggle in the best, most potent stuff on earth. Over a decade, they built an empire that made hundreds of millions, while laughing at the war on drugs. Joshuah Bearman, the writer who brought you ‘Argo,’ tells the whole true story:

The exchange always happens fast. Like in the movies, the money would come in Halliburton briefcases. Unlike in the movies, the Company usually waited to count it.

And count it. And count it. And count it. It took so long to count that much cash, they got bored. The partners each made half a million. For his rescue of the Duck, Don got an MVP award, a new Company institution, which came with a bonus payment of $25,000. Everyone else got their wad and prepared to scatter to the winds—the sweet, distinctive scent of their trade wafting from their clothes and hair.

It was exhilarating, the money and the camaraderie. The Company members saw themselves as hippie outlaws. There was no violence, no guns, just the threat of the law, which bound them together. They were criminals, but they were also a family. Afterward, Lou and Dave sat in his cabana, going through receipts, accounting for a very good year. They hoisted two flutes of champagne. “Here’s to everyone’s efforts,” Lou said. “Let’s do it again soon.”

Read the full story of the Coronado Company at GQ.com

This Bud’s For You!

It happened. We legalized it! Pot is going to be the next great consumer product. Or so we all sort of believe. To commemorate, GQ’s critical shopper (marijuana division) travels to the most weed-friendly states in the union and offers GQ readers the first-ever authoritative guide to the lingo, the rules, the shops, and of course the many, many methods (lollipops! honey! wax! magical microwave popcorn! something called “dabs”?!) of getting high-legally! kind of!—in these United States.

Justin Bieber: Pot Smoker

Justin Drew Bieber is a pot smoker. It’s official. The innocence of the Canadian disappeared the second the photographs of Bieber smoking what is 100 percent a blunt were posted to TMZ. And while most of the press is up in arms about Bieber’s herbal appreciation, there is no reason to be upset. These kinds of things happen. Teenagers—when they’re not busy being the worst people ever—smoke pot, even multi-millionaire ones with fantastic hair.

Now that Bieber is a known toker, there really is only one thing left to contemplate: Just what kind of pot smoker is he?

The Lion Smokes Tonight

The artist formerly known as D-O-double-G has unveiled a new persona that’s all about getting in touch with his inner Rasta-mon, mon. Becoming Snoop Lion, it turns out, didn’t require much of a transformation. As Drew Magary discovered, all it took was some fresh island beats, an enlightening journey to Jamaica, and pounds and pounds of weed:

"You always think 21 is your number in the hood, you know? Twenty-one. I’ve doubled up. As you become a man, you start having kids and living. You put the guns away, and your music becomes Hey, I’m with my kid and I’m living now… as opposed to Fuck that—I’ll shoot you on sight."

In recent years, Snoop has come to believe that his old music was a self-fulfilling prophecy, an ill omen. “If I focus on death,” he tells me, “it’s going to come closer than what it’s supposed to be. You’ll become it. I’ll say it to my friends: Write songs about being shot at and then the shit happens. And I don’t want to dwell on it long, but I wrote a song called ‘Murder Was the Case,’ and I never had a murder case in my life. But when that song came out, I had a real murder case.” (As it happens, Snoop’s life-imitates-rap time line is a bit fuzzy. He was charged with murder in August 1993 after his bodyguard shot a man named Phillip Woldermarian; both men were later acquitted. “Murder Was the Case” was recorded afterward and came out in 1994.)

The Snoop Lion thing is about exploring a more positive sound, one he never could have attempted when he was hanging around gang members and in and out of jail on minor drug-related sentences back in the early 1990s. Instead of writing songs about smoking weed and killing people, the newer, more mature Snoop is all about smoking weed and then smoking, like, more weed.

Like most rappers, Snoop is a master raconteur, the world’s mellowest loudmouth, and many of the questions I ask him over lunch spark long and fantastic stories about wild nights back in the day. Like the time in 1992 when he was marooned outside a hot downtown L.A. nightclub, trying in vain to get inside. “And motherfucking ‘Deep Cover’ “—Snoop’s first hit—”was playing louder than a motherfucker in there: boom, boom, boom. And there was a nigga in the club, and he told security, ‘Nigga, you don’t know who that is?’ Security said, ‘No.’ They said, ‘Nigga, that’s the nigga who’s singing on that song right there!’ Yeah. And guess what, kid? I didn’t get in!”