Already, there are so many reasons to look forward to 2021. The year ahead promises an end to the pandemic, a new era of decency in politics and opportunities for new jobs, new relationships and new experiences.
As the end of the year draws nigh, you might draw inspiration for next year’s behavior from any of the following stoner icons, who have changed weed history in one important way or another:
Mary Jane Rathbun
Mary Jane Rathbun, also known as Brownie Mary, was a hospital volunteer at San Francisco General Hospital during the 1980s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Compassionately, Mary Jane passed her “special” weed-infused brownies to AIDS patients, who gained much-needed weight as a result. Her efforts influenced doctors at the hospital to study the effects of cannabis on AIDS and helped develop a medical marijuana program for San Francisco and California.
A true master of his craft, Bruce Lee liked to unwind with a good amount of weed. The man with iron fists was known to be loose with joints at parties, but his favorite way to partake was hashish brownies.
Considered to be the father of the modern weed legalization movement and given the nickname the Emperor of Hemp, Jack Herer was an activist and a head shop owner in the 1970s and ‘80s. Today, you might recognize him thanks to a beloved sativa strain named in his honor.
Dr. Lester Grinspoon initially began studying the effects of marijuana to prove to his friends and young people that the drug was terribly dangerous. Yet, his ample research only demonstrated the safety of cannabis, both medicinally and recreationally. His book “Marijuana Reconsidered” shifted the national conversation on the drug for the better.
One of the friends Dr. Grinspoon hoped to convince with his research was none other than famed astrophysicist Carl Sagan. Though in life he wrote about the drug only under the pseudonym “Mr. X,” his revelations helped ameliorate the drug to a generation who believed marijuana was bad for the brain.
It is impossible to ignore the icon who popularly sang “Smoke Weed Everyday.” Snoop’s stance on the sticky stuff hasn’t changed since he first found fame in the early 1990s, and today, he is rightfully venerated as the Doggfather of Weed.
There aren’t many country music stars like Willie Nelson. A maverick in his field, Willie has always campaigned for the country to take cannabis seriously, and he has even been arrested for his activism. Today, Willie has his own brand of bud, Willie’s Reserve.
A younger and more modern weed icon, Rihanna is unapologetic in her love for the substance. The singer/dancer/entrepreneur is often photographed with blunt in hand, which has helped a new generation of women — and black women — become accepted as responsible weed users.
Hunter S. Thompson
Admittedly, most of the Beats were more than a little liberal in their drug use, but Hunter S. Thompson was particularly proud of his pot stash. Thompson ran for sheriff in Santa Cruz in the hopes of legalizing weed, and he only narrowly lost. Allegedly, clones of his very own cannabis crops are being sold across the country, from Colorado dispensaries to Maryland marijuana shops.
Whoopi Goldberg has long been open and honest about her love of cannabis; she even smoked a fatty before her Oscar acceptance speech in 1991.
Louisa May Alcott
The author best known for penning “Little Women” is strongly believed to have used a good amount of hashish in her day. Though none of her personal writings admit to cannabis use, Louisa May Alcott wrote a short story called “Perilous Play” in which she accurately describes the feeling of being high — and praises the feeling, too.
No list of weed icons can conscionably neglect Bob Marley, who has more or less been canonized as a cannabis saint. Marley converted to Rastafari in the 1960s thanks to the spirituality he felt from getting stoned, and he influenced legions of his fans to do the same.
Seth Rogen has done much to elevate stoner media in recent memory. His comedies help to depict using weed as harmless fun, which no doubt has shifted the public perception of the drug and improved legalization efforts.
Arnold Schwarzenegger cultivated a public persona based on health, wellness and strength, but even during his serious bodybuilding days, the Arnold smoked a lot of weed. To this day, ex-Governator attests that “marijuana is not a drug; it is a leaf.”
Though Michael Phelps was chastised for his marijuana use back in the day, the 23-time Olympic gold medal winner has since become an icon for his ability to maintain his fitness — physical and mental — while partaking of the good kush.
Sir Richard Branson
Despite being a billionaire and a knight of the British Empire, Branson isn’t abashed by his marijuana use. In fact, Sir Richard has petitioned the United Kingdom to decriminalize and legalize the drug, and he has plans to participate in recreational sales if given the opportunity.
In his youth, Barry Obama met frequently with his friends on Hawaii’s beaches to smoke dope — or “choom” as they called it. Though he claims to have abandoned the pastime when he left adolescence, there is no saying what President Obama is doing in his well-deserved retirement.
William Shakespeare never wrote directly about hashish or cannabis, but he did mention a “noted weed” in one of his sonnets. More importantly, researchers found traces of cannabis on clay pipes within Shakespeare’s home — though there’s no telling that they were his, it is pretty likely that the Bard gained inspiration from beauty as well as bud.
Almost all of America’s Founding Fathers grew hemp on their property, as was required by law at the time. However, James Monroe, the fifth U.S. president, smoked weed for almost his entire life, including his time in office.
Also known as Gary Goodson, Tom Forcade was several things during his lifetime: journalist, drug smuggler, intellectual, political activist and more. Most weed-lovers will recognize one of his most important works, founding and personally funding High Times magazine, which has taught generations of Americans about marijuana.
Many weed activists are motivated and multitalented but not particularly well-educated; many dropped out of high school or college — but not Ethan Nadelmann, who has both a JD and a PhD. Armed with intellectual prowess, Nadelmann has fought relentlessly to end the War on Drugs and drive legalization, to great success.
So many people have used weed throughout history, and so many have found success thanks to (or at least despite) their drug use. You could be the next great marijuana icon — if you set your goals right in 2021.
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