Pop Music and Cannabis: A Romance That Began in the 1930s

Aside from a brief mention in a Drake song, you probably won’t hear any obvious cannabis lyrics at this Sunday’s Grammy Awards ceremony. Songs like Afroman’s “Because I Got High” and Willie Nelson’s “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” are now beloved classics, but they tend not to garner the hardware come awards season.

On a day that the nation’s attention is turned to music, though, it’s worth remembering that the relationship between cannabis and popular song goes back–way back. To the 1930s.
More than 80 years ago, when American music tastes were morphing into what we call the Swing Era, cannabis references began popping up regularly in popular music.

Pioneering jazz historian and multiple Grammy Award winner Dan Morgenstern said that as America was coming out of alcohol’s Prohibition, marijuana caught on with many people as an intoxicant. And it wasn’t just in the big U.S. cities.

Read More: Leafy