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Marijuana and Music in the 20th Century – Part 2


Marijuana and Music in the 20th Century – Part 2

Marijuana has been a part of the creation, production and enjoyment of music since at least the early 20th century. Years ago, Cannabis Culture published a four-part history of marijuana and music in the 20th century written by Russell Cronin. This is our “part two” of a highlights reel for you, but you should definitely check out the full series at www.cannabisculture.com. You can start with part one of the series here.

During the 1970’s, as marijuana was a huge element of the reggae movement, disco was also emerging. Like we mentioned in regards to progressive rock, harder drugs took over the disco scene as well, and cocaine emerged as the disco drug of choice. The artists still used pot for inspiration (case in point: Rick James), but the club scene wasn’t really interested.

When punk emerged in the 1980’s, musicians wanted to separate themselves from the hippie dippie pot smoking culture. It wasn’t that they didn’t enjoy marijuana…it’s just that cannabis was for hippies, and punks didn’t want to be hippies – obviously. According to Cronin, though, they just waited until no one was looking to light up a spliff.

In the late 1980’s, marijuana’s presence in clubs was for a very specific purpose. Cocaine was old news, and the newest drug on the market was ecstasy. It had everyone hooked. Partying at raves would end with marijuana in “chill rooms,” which would make the comedown smoother.

The 1990’s saw a return of ganja love, mostly thanks to hip-hop. Cronin says that “the entire hip-hop nation seemed to be living under a pall of pot smoke” and any selection of 1990’s rap will probably prove that point. In the rock and pop world, pot also made a comeback, with representatives like Oasis and the Beastie Boys.

Now, after we’ve experience fourteen years of 21st century music, it’s safe to say that the music we hear every day has been inspired by the use of cannabis – often it even references the drug. We love what Cronin says – “Decades of anti-pot propaganda, claiming that cannabis is a dangerous drug, is contradicted by the lyrics to innumerable pop songs that have lodged themselves into the consciousness of even the most casual listeners.”


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