Before you say anything else, I'd point out that to Stanley and co, the use of psychedelic drugs was part of the doomed hippy attempt to produce a new, more empathetic and enlightened society, rather than just getting baked and talking shit. Mind-altering substances were meant to connect us to each other and the planet. Despite being an authoritarian Trotskyist, I can dig the motivation. It's just sad that being a hippy turned into selfish narcissism. With the Vietnam War ended under pressure from the new values to some extent, it seemed possible just for a while that a genuinely radical counterculture would exert influence on straight society. But: they chose the wrong drugs, and the wrong reasons to take them. They got into navel-gazing selfishness rather than doing their bit for society, some of them became grasping capitalist businessmen, and before you knew it, we had the 80s and the moment was gone.
"I wound up doing time for something I should have been rewarded for," he told the Chronicle's Joel Selvin.
"What I did was a community service, the way I look at it. I was punished for political reasons. Absolutely meaningless. Was I a criminal? No. I was a good member of society. Only my society and the one making the laws are different."
Owsley was no saint. There is a dark, down side to drugs. For him, it led to working for The Grateful Dead and then 'dealing' their bootleg recordings. Anyone who helped those self-indulgent wastrels is a walking advert for Just Say No.
Here's their execrable Alice D. Millionaire (hilarious), written about Owsley. I warn you though, it's a gateway song to harder hippy rubbish.