Howard Marks, the controversial and celebrated drug smuggler turned author, has died at the age of 70, after being diagnosed with cancer a year ago.
Howard Marks was arrested in 1998 while in Spain on the charge of drug smuggling. After eluding the authorities for decades, the US DEA finally swooped in on him. He was given a 25 year sentence in jail for his global and highly prolific years in the drug business.
However, he was released after serving only seven years of his sentence due to good behaviour. He quickly rose to fame with his autobiographical book, Mr Nice, which was published shortly after his released in 1996.
The book detailed stories of his time in the drug underworld, his time in prison and went on to become an international bestseller. It was subsequently turned into a film starring Mark’s friend, Rhys Ifans and was the subject of a one-man show, “An Audience With Mr Nice”.
Mark’s said of the book:
“Through a plethora of media interviews and several public book readings, it became clear that the predominant reason why so many adolescents and university students read and enjoyed Mr Nice was their frustration with the law prohibiting cannabis consumption and trade.
“Until then, I had no idea of the extraordinary extent of cannabis use by young people today.”
Marks was born in Bridgend, Wales and went on to become a campaigner for drug enforcement reform. He stood for parliament in 1997 on the issue of legalising cannabis.
Howard Marks revealed in 2015 that he had been diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer. He said at the time:
“I’ve come to terms with it in my own way – which for me was about learning how to cry.
“It’s impossible to regret any part of my life when I feel happy and I am happy now, so I don’t have any regrets and have not had any for a very long time.”