For better or worse, drugs have always been synonymous with the music industry. Some of the biggest acts in the world have confessed to being ‘inspired’ by various narcotics; The Beatles were on them, Pink Floyd were on them, Keith Richards is still on them. Out of all the drugs out there however, marijuana reigns supreme; it features all over the musical spectrum, from rap to psychedelic prog rock, and most musicians aren’t shy about professing their love for it. Some go the extra step, and become full on advocates for legalization; a select few are heavy proponents of medical marijuana, and have been furthering the MMJ cause in the public eye.
This kind of mainstream support for medical marijuana has certainly helped the cause, with some performers relentlessly campaigning for the drug over many years. The recent spate of MMJ legalization (29 states to date have legalized the medicine) is certainly a victory for advocates, and the trend looks set to continue over the coming months and years. Some musicians are advocates of marijuana in general – some specifically MMJ – and some even view the popularity of the drug as a premium business opportunity, lending their name to dispensaries and stains.
With all this celebrity endorsement in mind, we’re taking a look at three prominent musicians who’ve publicly endorsed or supported MMJ in the past, some of whom remain heavily involved in marijuana advocacy across the U.S. in 2017.
Singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge is one of the most outspoken proponents of MMJ, especially after she underwent a traumatic experience with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2004, Etheridge managed to beat the disease and is now completely cancer-free; she ascribes her recovery to her use of medical marijuana. She has since claimed that she believes everyone who uses marijuana ‘is doing so medicinally, whether they consider it so or not’.
Last year, Etheridge put her money where her mouth is and set up her own company, Etheridge Farms, which will soon be providing patients in California with her own homegrown product. Etheridge was also highly vocal about New York’s lackluster efforts to legalize MMJ, and called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to pass the Compassionate Care Act for patients across the state, which he finally did in 2014.
Despite the bill going through, New York legalized an extremely conservative MMJ program, which has undergone heavy criticism since its introduction three years ago. So it looks like Melissa still has a bit more work to do on the east coast; hopefully she might turn her advocacy attention back there sometime soon!
A recent newcomer to the MMJ scene is rapper The Game, who sees the legalization and recent acceptance of the medicine as a business investment. While he’s not the first star to involve himself in the marijuana business, he’s doing it in an innovative way; in August last year he became an official partner in The Reserve, an MMJ dispensary which operates out of Santa Ana, California. The Reserve is a legally licensed dispensary, which makes The Game the first celebrity to partner with an outlet of this kind.
He stated that he ‘finally has a platform to legally cultivate and sell a plant that saves lives and is changing our world in a positive way’. The rapper also created his own strain earlier in 2016 for use in traditional cigarettes and drinks, and is planning on creating a few more strains for his new partnership with The Reserve.
The Game isn’t the only hip hop star to dabble in marijuana creation; fellow rappers Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa have both invested in marijuana and developed their own unique brand of the herb, which is used medicinally and recreationally in legalized states.
English rocker Sting has been a vocal proponent of ending America’s ‘War on Drugs’ for many years. In 2010, he came out with a strongly-worded article in the Huffington Post where he allied himself with the Drug Policy Alliance, an organization which champions the smart legalization of some drugs and condemns the failures and titanic costs of the ‘War of Drugs’. In the article, Sting explicitly mentions medical marijuana, and pointed out that those who are suffering from a variety of illnesses that could be effectively treated or eased by marijuana do not have access to it.
Obviously a lot has changed in the seven years since Sting wrote the article, and many across America can now legally access MMJ, but his point still stands; if it is an effective treatment for specific conditions, shouldn’t everyone who’s suffering be able to avail of it if they choose?
So it’s clear to see that music and marijuana remain steadfastly aligned in 2017. Hopefully we will see more and more musicians supporting the cause of MMJ as the medicine is embraced in states across the country.