Over the years there have been many celebrities who have associated themselves with cannabis in film, music and popular culture. Probably the most notorious celebrity cannabis activist is Tommy Chong from the 1970’s comedy duo Cheech and Chong.
The comedy duo grew from being an underground cult film phenomenon to become global popular culture icons for their comedic take on the prohibitionist culture and war on drugs in the United States. Originally from Canada, before becoming a naturalized US citizen in the 1980’s Tommy Chong has been an outspoken activist for cannabis legalization across the United States, Canada and globally, promoting the use of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational purposes as a safe alternative to tobacco, alcohol and harder drugs. Another Popular culture icon most people are familiar with is Jamaican Reggae Icon Bob Marley.
Bob Marley and the Wailers pioneered Rastafarian culture in Jamaican reggae music and were outspoken about the use of cannabis for religious purposes. Marley helped bring awareness to the religious persecution faced by Jamaican Rastafarian’s for their regular use of ganja as a sacrament to Jah, and brought global awareness to both reggae music and Rastafarian culture as a result. Despite the continued religious persecution Rastafarians face in Jamaica, the knowledge of the Rastas and their sacramental use of Ganja have spread globally and are widely known, becoming almost synonymous with Jamaican culture in general. After Bob Marley’s passing, his protege and fellow band member Peter Tosh went on to record the reggae anthem “Legalize it” before he was assassinated, with conspiracy theorists again pointing to the outspoken nature and rising profile of Tosh being the possible motive behind his untimely demise. Yet despite the ongoing persecution these artists suffered at the hands of law enforcement and government authorities they persevered. The work they did using their public profiles to highlight all the absurdities of the war on drugs and decades of cannabis prohibition have enlightened the general masses to the realities.
Their efforts have finally begun to pay off as a new generation emerges with a more educated view of cannabis and weed. Legalization or decriminalization are now being announced state by state country by country. The tide is turning and it's now only a matter of time before the rest of the world finally snaps out of their delusional way of thinking about drug policy and smells the cannabis. Man does it smell good.