Howard Marks

Howard Marks
Dennis Howard Marks
Born 13 August 1945 (1945-08-13) (age 66)
Kenfig Hill, Bridgend, Wales
Alias(es) Mr. Nice
Conviction(s) Drug trafficking
Penalty Imprisoned for 7 years
Status On parole
Spouse Judy Marks

Dennis Howard Marks (born 13 August 1945) was a Welsh author and drug smuggler who achieved notoriety as an international cannabis smuggler through high-profile court cases, supposed connections with groups such as the CIA, the IRA, MI6, and the Mafia, and his eventual conviction at the hands of the American Drug Enforcement Administration. At the height of his drug career, he was said to have controlled ten percent of the world's hashish trade.[1]

He lived in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.[citation needed]


Early life

Marks was born in Kenfig Hill, near Bridgend, Wales, and attended the Garw Grammar School in Pontycymer (he is a fluent Welsh speaker[2]). This was followed by Balliol College, Oxford, between 1964 and 1967, where he studied natural science with nuclear physics. Among his friends at Balliol was the epidemiologist Julian Peto, and the journalist Lynn Barber. After this he studied Physics (Grad. Inst P.) at the University of London (1967 to 1968). Then, he went back to Balliol, Oxford (1968 to 1969) to study History and Philosophy of Science (Dip. H.Ph. Sc.) and then he went on to the University of Sussex (1969 to 1970) to study Philosophy of Science.


He spent seven years imprisoned in the Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute, Indiana. During his smuggling career, he claims not to have used violence and to have refused to deal with hard drugs. Both he and his now ex-wife Judy Marks were extradited from Mallorca, Spain to Florida. They have three children together: Amber, Francesca and Patrick. He also has an older daughter, Myfanwy, from a 5-year relationship with Rosie Lewis.

Life after release

Following his release from prison, Marks published a best-selling autobiography, Mr Nice (Secker and Warburg, 1996), which has been translated into many languages. In addition to Mr Nice, he compiled an anthology called The Howard Marks Book of Dope Stories (Vintage, 2001) and more recently a follow-on from his autobiography; Señor Nice: Straight Life From Wales to South America. Señor Nice differs from his previous book as drugs are not central to the story and, while autobiographical, the book is more Marks' own exploration of his ancestor, the pirate Sir Henry Morgan.[3]

Marks is a campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis and tours the world with a one-man show. He also appeared in the documentary Stoned in Suburbia which aired on Sky1 in the UK. In October 2010, Howard hosted a documentary on Current TV titled 'Howard Marks On Drugs', which investigated drugs laws in the UK.

Judy Marks has also written her autobiography of their life together entitled "Mr Nice and Mrs Marks" published by Ebury Press, 2006.

Marks recorded the song 'Grow More Weed' with the UK dub punk band P.A.I.N.

Within the world of music, Marks co-recorded a song 'Three men in a boat' with his long time friend Lee Harris. The record was later remixed by River Styx (Musician, rap poet) and released on the album 'Angel Headed Hip Hop' on Genepool/Universal Ltd.

Marks stood for election to UK Parliament in 1997, on the single issue of the legalization of cannabis. He contested four seats at once: Norwich South (against future Home Secretary Charles Clarke), Norwich North, Neath and Southampton Test. The average vote was over 1%. This led to the formation of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance (LCA) by Alun Buffry in 1999.

From 1999 to 2000 he was the honorary rector of Glasgow Caledonian University.

On 28 October 2010 he appeared as a guest on the BBC music quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Marks is the voice-over for the television series Dirty Sanchez.


Marks had a role as a customs officer in the planned film Ecstasy, based on the bestselling book by Irvine Welsh and also made a cameo appearance in the 1999 film Human Traffic (in the "spliff politics" scene).

In 2010, he played a fictional role in the infamous gangster movie Killer Bitch directed by Liam Galvin.[4] He is also the subject of a biopic starring Rhys Ifans as Marks entitled Mr Nice, named after his autobiography of the same name. Chloë Sevigny plays the role of his wife Judy. The film was released in October 2010.



External links

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