A publicity blitz for George Zimmer is randomly out in full effect this week. The Men’s Wearhouse founder, who was fired by the board of the company in 2013, is apparently working on two men’s clothing start-ups (what else?) out in San Francisco to compete with his former employer (and “betrayer.”). Oh, and he’s apparently working with private equity firms to buy back his beloved brand. The new Inc. magazine on Zimmer’s business life, oddly enough, opens with a scene in which the writer walks into Zimmer’s office to find his assistant laughing while the boss shoves something into a desk drawer—”there’s a distinctly skunky-smelling haze in the air.”
So Zimmer smokes pot. OK. He’s apparently a long-time advocate, as well.
Zimmer, who was born in New York City and grew up in Scarsdale, will be a keynote speaker at a cannibis conference this week in Oregon (where else?). Though he is not yet an investor in the industry, he did say that he’s been advocating for its legalization for years. “I’ve been trying to do what I can over almost 50 years to try to de-demonize marijuana, dating back to my days as a college student in the ‘50s, then in the mid-’90s with medical marijuana in California, and in recent years with the legalization in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, and now in California,” he told The Portland Business Journal.
Zimmer, who said he once had a “Jewish afro,” also said he still tokes up—just never in front of his children. And it’s only pot these days. Back in the day, he said he’d smoke joints with Baba Ram Dass (once they took down six in an hour), and inhale “anything that combusts.”
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.