CALIFORNIA is on the forefront of a revolution, and in the works to make history as the first state to legalize the possession and distribution of Marijuana. A measure to decriminalize the drug has already qualified, and will be on the ballot for Californians to vote on, come November. Marijuana, although currently illegal, is surprisingly accepted throughout California, and often promoted in mainstream media, especially music.
Marijuana, weed, ganja, cannabis, and many other names all refer to the same beloved drug that is being currently promoted and pushed by many. Megan Fox, one of the biggest names in Hollywood, has openly admitted to the use and enjoyment of marijuana, as well as stating that she is all for the legalization of the drug. Along with its home in Hollywood, weed has always held a huge undertone in the music community, and it seems now, more than ever, artists of all stature are coming forward to push for the legalization of Marijuana. Many artists admit to using when writing and recording, as it, ‘clears their mind’. Top rappers such as Lil Wayne and Asher Roth avidly promote the use of Marijuana through their music as well as interviews, and can be seen smoking joints and blunts in numerous videos all over Youtube. In an interview last year with High Times, Roth states, “Smoking marijuana brings me back down to Earth,” to Senior Cultivation Editor Danny Danko. Roth adds, ““Some people think pot hinders your thoughts, but for me, it just kind of straightens me out.” (http://hightimes.com/video/dan/5342)
The bay area, specifically San Francisco, has gained notoriety for its leniency towards Marijuana. The hip hop group Cypress Hill, who also serve as avid legalization activists, celebrated ‘Weed Day’ this year in San Francisco, as the group performed at the Warfield Theater this past Tuesday. The celebrations were not limited to the concert, as San Francisco’s criticized acceptance of marijuana was clearly visible on Tuesday, as pot smoke clouds filled the sky as thousands upon thousands gathered at ‘Hippie Hill’ in Golden Gate Park to celebrate this ‘Weed Day’, or ‘420’, which is it’s most commonly used name, as it occurs every year on April 20th.
It was an unbelievable sight at ‘Hippie Hill’, as men, women, boys, girls, and even some children, packed the park to what seemed like capacity. There was marijuana everywhere. Look to the left; there’s a high school-aged boy taking a rip of the bong. Look to the right, and there’s a beautiful 35 year old, professional looking woman taking a bite out of her weed cookie. Surprisingly, it was not just the average hippie who was enjoying the weed smoking festivities. As music played from a PA system on the grass, attendants looked closely at their watches, waiting for the 4:19pm time to turn over. As the clock struck 4:20pm, a huge cheer erupted from the hill, shortly followed by billows of smoke that looked like they could’ve belonged to a freight train. As the park filled with smoke thicker than peninsula fog, the celebration continued, with chants for legalization, and sing-a-longs performed by attendees who had brought along their acoustic guitar. Although the celebration makes marijuana seem loving and peaceful, and almost convinces one to support the legalization of the drug, there are still many concerns. Pictured is a woman, holding her infant baby, right in the heart of the Marijuana haze. For, or against the legalization of marijuana, most can agree that exposing a baby to something of this nature, is taking it too far, which stirs up more skepticism of how ‘harmless’ Marijuana really is.
While weed itself has never been pinned to real negative physical affects and diseases, it is known to increase the chance of a miscarriage, and cause birth defects when used during pregnancy. Marijuana is commonly referred to as a, ‘gateway drug’, and is said to lead users to heavier, and extremely dangerous substances. This, again, is seen crystal clear in the music industry, as so many legends have put an early end to their career with an accidental drug overdose, after their marijuana use and carefree ways brought them to hard drugs. If weed is legal, what will the children of California do in the ever so cliché act of teen rebellion? Will they start out with cocaine, potentially ruining their life with the first line? Weed is also known to decrease motivation in some smokers, as well as skew judgment. But, in defense of the weed smoker, the drug’s effects do no worse to the mind, than those of alcohol, when consumed in large portions.
Although personal use is widely accepted, many have directed hate towards the media for projecting pro marijuana stances. Many movie stars and musicians alike openly support the legalization of Marijuana, only practicing their 1st amendment rights, but is advocating the use of marijuana, to the youth and future leaders of the nation, crossing the line?
As many Californians have already spoken, it is time for the bay area music community to speak. The question is posed; the date is set.
Where do you stand on the legalization of Marijuana?
Questions, comments, and arguments are greatly encouraged and appreciated, and are not limited to bay area residents or members of the music community.