Opening Theatrically Today: “The Sunshine Makers,” About Two Men Who Thought They Could Save The World By Dosing It With LSD

January 20, 2016 —People have had ideas about how to save the world, but the one that Nick Sand and Tim Scully came up with was definitely original.

Back in the 1960s, they decided that they were going to produce enough LSD so that everyone could “expand their consciousness.” To this end they planned to create 750 million doses of the hallucinogenic drug. And expanding everyone’s consciousness was, of course, exactly what the world needed.

Tim Scully was so convinced in the scheme, that he wanted to give the drugs away. Nick Sand was less happy with that idea.

With the  financial help of a rich young man named Billy Hitchcock, they actually did create a massive amount of LSD. Their most impressive version of the drug was known as “Orange Sunshine,” which became immensely popular.

Of course, it was inevitable that the production of such large amounts of a controlled substance would attract the interest of the Feds. Both men and Hitchcock would be arrested, and Hitchcock would give Sand and Scully up to keep from doing any jail time. Scully and Sand would be tried in fron of one of the toughest possible judges, who would sentence them to 20 years for Scully and 15 years for Sand at Washington’s McNeil Island Penitentiary.

It is extraordinary that the authorities placed the two men in the same cell — probably an unwise idea. When Sand’s girlfriend smuggled in a significant amount of the drug, Sand was able to dose the entire jail.

Scully would find a loophole that got them out of jail, but they lost their appeal. Scully would return to jail,and be released after 3 years, but Sand ran off to Canada, where he lived for two decades. Upon his return to America he was required to spend 6 years in jail.

This story is detailed in the well-received documentary The Sunshine MakersThe Hollywood Reporter said of the film “Providing further evidence, not that any was needed, that truth is stranger — and oftentimes a lot more fun — than fiction, Cosmo Feilding-Mellen’s documentary shines a spotlight on the two men who were probably the most responsible for sparking the ’60s-era LSD craze. Described as a “real-life Breaking Bad for the psychedelic set,” The Sunshine Makers is an entertaining look at the days in which the phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out” were words to live by.”

The Sunshine Makers opens theatrically today — check here for theaters and times.
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