420 Club: Most Marijuana-Friendly Musicians
Already up to her neck in controversy, Rihanna made more unwanted headlines last month when ten of her tour buses were pulled over at the border between Michigan and Canada after cops found a small quantity of weed on one of her entourage. However, some artists have become so synonymous with marijuana, that their music has almost become secondary to their use of the drug. Here’s a look at some of the biggest pot-smokers in the industry today.
Far from a casual user, country legend Willie Nelson has done more than most to promote the legalization of cannabis thanks to his appointment as co-chair of the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Even a collapsed lung and a bout of pneumonia didn’t tempt him to quit the habit with Nelson choosing to smoke the drug through a carbon-free system instead. Unsurprisingly, he’s been arrested several occasions for possession, first in Texas in 1974, then 20 years later in the same state, resulting in a cancelled Grammy Awards appearance, and in 2006 on the way to Ann W. Richards’ funeral. The latter isn’t the only example where his love of politics and weed collided – according to a biography, Willie Nelson: Epic Life, the singer also smoked the drug on the roof of the White House during several of his many visits to the President’s official residence.
Dr. Dre may have named his 1992 solo debut after the slang word for cannabis (The Chronic), but it was his former Death Row labelmate who went onto become far more renowned for his fondness of the drug. Indeed, despite claiming that he’d quit the stuff in 2002, he’s since recently confirmed that he now smokes 80 blunts a day. While his crusade to teach children about the positives of the substance with a book called It’s Just A Plant: A Children’s Story Of Marijuana almost makes Nelson’s crusade look half-hearted. Snoop has also had his fair share of trouble with the law over his usage, being caught with possession in Los Angeles in 1998, Cleveland in 2003 and Texas in 2010. But it was the addition of a firearm which resulted in his most serious punishment – a three-year suspended sentence and 800 hours community service back in 2007.
Who would have thought that the squeaky clean pop heartthrob behind “Club Tropicana” would go on to become one of music’s biggest stoners. Michael might not be an activist like Snoop or Nelson, but he’s arguably created far more headlines because of his habit, once admitting that if he drunk like he smoked, he’d look like Keith Richards. Arrested for possession in 2006, he was then banned from driving for two years in 2007 after he was discovered slumped at the wheel. But he obviously didn’t learn his lesson as in 2010, he famously crashed into a Snappy Snaps store in London, resulting in an eight-week stint in prison for driving under the influence of drugs. However, following his much-publicized health scare, Michael has now claimed that he’s given up his former drug of choice.
With their tendency for terminally long guitar solos and jazz-derived improvisation, Vermont jam-rock outfit Phish’s entire sound appears tailor-made for zoning out to. Sharing their name with a strain of the drug, the band have since become the obvious successors to The Grateful Dead’s stoner-rock throne, with Trey Anastasio regularly appearing to nod off himself during the band’s mammoth sets. The band’s frontman has since revealed he’s given up the stuff following a stint in rehab and a spell of community service dished out for erratic driving whilst under the influence. But their rabid fan base – named Wookies for the fact they are only capable of Chewbacca-like grunts by the end of a show – appear to have no intention of following his lead. Indeed, over 200 people were arrested on narcotics charges during a three-day Phish festival at Virginia’s Hampton Coliseum in 2009.