Mary Jane, Grass, or Hemp: Call It What You Want, These 5 Songs Are All About It!

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Slowly but surely marijuana use across the country is being decriminalized. The failure of the war on drugs has been a long time coming. Even so, marijuana is the preferred drug of many musicians and artists alike. From the 1920s to the 2000s, these five artists take marijuana, and its legalization, very seriously—so seriously that they wrote songs about it.

5 Muggles – Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra

Taking it back to the great depression! Jazz’s king pin Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra recorded Muggles in 1928. Muggles is a slang term that refers to marijuana use by jazz musicians during the beat era. At the time, marijuana was legal in most states, and Armstrong himself was an avid user and promoter of the drug. My how the times have changed; but despite it all this song has not lost any of its immeasurable brilliance.

4 Ganja Babe – Michael Franti & Spearhead

Michael Franti’s voice is like liquid sunshine, golden velvet, and tangible softness. It’s the kind of voice that radiates from inside out as you listen. The bass heavy Ganja Babe is sweet, sexy, and seductive. There is playfulness to it as it winds through the community driven aspects of marijuana growing and smoking, to its esoteric pseudo-psychedelic effects. The song conjures up memories of being pleasantly stoned. And even if you don’t smoke, Ganja Babe is a quintessentially tranquil song.

3 Hits from the Bong – Cypress Hill

Sothern California’s hip-hop troupe Cypress Hill’s Hits from the Bong is one of the more realistic songs about weed. The song itself manages to sound like smoking out of a bong—bubbly, mellow, slow, and really hazy. The lyrics describe the physical act of taking a hit from a bong, and sort of acts as a how-to guide for bong novices. It’s the perfect song to put on as you “pick it, pack it, fire it up /come along and take a hit from the bong.”

2 Purple Haze – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

It’s no surprise the Voodoo Child espouses drug use. Purple Haze has been debated as to whether or not it’s actually related to drug use. Purple Haze is both a type of marijuana but also a type of LSD dispersed in purple capsules, as well as a reference to Dickens’ Great Expectations. Regardless of the real intent, it has been used to espouse weed smoking since its debut in 1967, and will continue to be an anthem for all the peace-and-love, classic-rock fanatics everywhere.

1 Legalize It – Peter Tosh

As the number one drug of the entire reggae genre, it’s no surprise that Peter Tosh’s Legalize It makes the list. Legalize It promotes marijuana use and suggests the legalization (…duh). What’s most striking about Legalize It are the lyrics: Tosh lists the various people who smoke marijuana: judges, nurses, lawyers, and he describes the illnesses marijuana soothes. In true reggae spirit, Legalize It has a positive message. The song is a simple, typical reggae number, but Tosh’s velvety voice is just as relaxing as a toke of a blunt.

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