A Stoned Immaculate 420 Playlist

Today is 4.20 and you know what that means: Marijuana, you bunch of freaks! Ok, so I am quoting Arlo Guthrie’s famous exclamation at Woodstock, back in 1969, when the weed came in bricks from Mexico and was weak enough that a freak could smoke all day and still function as a human being. Arlo’s father, the late, great Woody Guthrie is one of my heroes. To me a good evening is spent reading his autobiography, Bound for Glory whilst being gloriously stoned….as you can see from the photo.

Even back in the ’90s marijuana was really not that strong. Back then I only smoked hash, I hated the smell of grass and hash was a little stronger. With me the problem with weed was that I could never get high enough. That is definitely not the case nowadays.

Weed is my medicine, some might say my last vice. Nowadays I can buy a legal, somewhat accurately dosed edible gummy or laced mint, and get higher on marijuana than I strictly have any need to be. Need is one thing, enjoyment is another. I love being stoned. I can’t smoke here in this apartment, and though there is a certain charm to smoking weed around a campfire in the woods, I am not unhappy with this state of affairs at all. Edibles are a good way around it all, they are just a bit tricky.

Eating cannabis is not an instant high, though some brands have fancy additives which means the gummy hits faster – within 20 mins or so, most require a two hour waiting period. Sometimes I forget, in my middle aged fog, that I have eaten one a couple of hours previously and end up startled and wondering why I am high all of a sudden. It never fails to still surprise me and give me a jolt, but then I am the kind of person that enjoys that jolt, so don’t feel sorry for me. It is my hobby to find edibles that get me fucked up enough in the right way.

Unfortunately what is done cannot be undone, and in this quest I have sometimes come unstuck. If 10mg is ok, 20mgs getting there…I do tend to skip to just eat 60mgs and then sit tripping and marvelling how psychedelia pot can be. That is just me. Call it a quirk, call it druggie behavior. I don’t care. I am just happy my arthritis doesn’t hurt, my mind is calm and the nausea from my celiac disease disappears. I don’t have the time and money to waste weed in trying to dose it right, and instead just go for the best experience I can have…and occasionally hold onto my hat when I meant to crack open the doors of perception and end up blowing the bloody doors off entirely.

Weed keeps me California sober. It is enough that I am not continually jonesing for relief. To me, it is a wonder drug. Non addictive, non harmful to adults whose brains have fully developed, it is an excellent pain reliever. Who on earth would have an aspirin when a weed does it better…and it is fun, fun, fun.

People are suspicious of fun. Anything that is enjoyable is clearly of the fucking devil, and the devil’s lettuce is no exception to the minds of these rain on my parade type of individuals. Being the typical pothead, I am of the belief that alcohol is far more dangerous. It has proved to me that it is, yet the social acceptability of booze has weed demonized and criminalized, while people get to ruin their lives and others with the demon alcohol. I mean, listen to The Kinks. Ray Davies knew a bit about being an alcoholic, and has a wicked tale to sing. After all, how can we celebrate 4.20 without making it clear that the demonization of cannabis is both unfair and not proved by fact?

The Streets have one of my favorite tracks about the dichotomy of the way marijuana and alcohol are seen by society. Mike Skinner makes good points, even if he does exaggerate the bad side of booze for the sake of the song. Not everyone is a toxic drunk, but how many young men who are drunk cause damage and suffering and even deaths by their behavior while they are drunk? Alcohol in excess can and does kill, it is a highly dangerous drug that humans have decided they can manage the risks around. It’s social acceptability comes merely from the fact it has always been used, and has always been presented as something that is as much part of the epicurean experience as food. 20 year old Chivas, ancient bottles of wine? Give me an eighth of Dream Beaver (the mystical perfect strain that I had once and have never seen again) and a Pink Floyd record! I certainly won’t be raising hell, I might finish writing a few pages of my novel, then fall asleep on the sofa.

In the end weed might be a drug, but alcohol is a scourge. I cannot ever drink again. Not that I turned into Terry in The Irony Of It, but it was going to kill me all the same.

Fraternity of Man with the 1968 on the road Easy Rider classic teaching good manners to hippies everywhere: don’t hold onto that joint, puff puff pass, share and share alike. No one likes a pot hog! The fraternity of man is rarely helped by alcohol, booze leads to fights, not peaceful slide guitar playing hippies, singing about sharing weed fairly. Try and take a drinker’s bottle off em, try get the to share….it never works out well. A polite musical request to puff puff pass, and not ‘bogart that joint, my friend’ is a far friendly, more fraternal proposition. In fact nowadays I dare anyone to smoke an entire joint of this modern weed. A few hits and it is more than enough for all but the most seasoned of smokers….and me…remember, it is 420, don’t bogart that joint, my friends…pass it over here….

Everybody gotta get stoned according to ole Zimmy. Rainy Day Women 12 and 35 might be the ultimate folk stoner anthem. The enigmatic title appears to reference 420: 12 x 35 is 420! The song insists that ‘everybody must get stoned’ but it was written far too early for that cultural reference and Dylan denied all knowledge of such shenanigans. Personally I think this proves Dylan is a folk singing alien sensation, who sold his soul to the devil…and perhaps did a little time travelling (joke, Zimmy, joke), but what do I know. I never went through his trash, hand on heart promise. He reckons it has something to do with the Bible. Don’t think so, Bobby…I’m onto ya!

Ever been too stoned to be out in public? Well this one’s for you. One toke over the line in a railway station, hoping that train comes so you can sink into yourself and huddle down with the paranoia or the munchies in a corner seat with yer back against the wall is never a good place to be. I am not such a weed evangelist that I won’t admit that weed can prove troublesome to the mentally frazzled or the unexperienced. The key, in my vast experience of smoking weed while unhappy and fucked up, is not to get too high, to smoke good shit that is not adulterated, and don’t smoke sativa if already hyper and stressed out. Mindset is everything. Be happy, take it easy, and enjoy the train ride. Don’t worry, it is only weed, Hunter S Thompson’s bats are not going to be coming to get ya as you roll down the road…

Joe Cocker is here performing Lets Go Get Stoned in my beloved Filmore in the good old days of 1970 when the weed was weak and a stoner could smoke all day. Joe belts out this classic definitive performance of a song originally put out by The Coasters in 1965. You could get stoned on these sleazy guitar riffs and Cocker’s passion if you don’t have any green to burn…not sure about that angel dust that he sings about! Joe….It’s all fun and games until Joe starts preaching about hitting the PSP at 4.58 ! Yikes! That is a totally different and terrifying suggestion! “Don’t blow your cool” is always good advice that never dates, unlike those pants…

Who doesn’t like to see a live performance of this Workingman’s Dead song! The Grateful Dead were the quintessential live band and the nucleus around whom the summer of love and the scene in San Francisco revolved. I wish everyone a high time today…Jerry is the human embodiment of the best of marijuana’s external forces towards chill, creative and good times. I never tire of listening to this performance.

Arlo Guthrie with Coming into Los Angeles with a couple of ki’s of weed. The rallying call of stoners: “Marijuana! Bunch of freaks!” means it is time to remember how prohibition does not work. For most of my high life marijuana has not been legal. The situation in the US with it being not legal on a federal level is unforgivable. Criminalizing people who get stoned is not good for society or individuals. Getting stoned should never come at such a high price. It is a war between freedom, creativity, fun, kindness, communities of color, hippies, those in pain. Please don’t check his bag, Mr. Custom’s man…we need ou medicine. I am so grateful to live in California where marijuana is legal, clean and good. It makes my life so much better. Everyone should have that possibility.

Unkle Neil had just lost both Danny Whitten and roadie Bruce Berry, and sounds like a man serenading the dead and is more than one toke over the line(s). Roll another number for the road, Neil…it all don’t matter anyhow. Neil’s stoned drawl, the lazy guitar, “I feel able to get under any load…though my feet aren’t on the ground, I’ve been standing on the sound of some open hearted people going down,” he sings, and sings like he really means it. Weed loves music, and whether it is going up or coming down, open hearted stoners and good sounds always helps make the experience a good one.

“I feel inclined to blow my mind, get on up, feed the ducks with a bun” sings Ray Davies of The Kinks, in Itchycoo Park. What did he do there? He got high of course. Parks are made for grass and not just of the kind that you stand upon. This song of an idyllic summers day, might not be about weed entirely, but the innocence, the sheer enjoyment of being high and young and free in the park makes this charming track a pure nostalgia kick for me.

Amy Winehouse never fails to bring a smile to my face with this ode to “the green man” and not letting your friend’s boy smoke all your weed. You tell ’em Amy, I gots mine…and you can go get yours! Where there was weed, there were people who dealt it. Generally back in the day these were small time operations, ran out of people’s houses, almost charities. There was nothing dangerous about it. It was a case of civil disobedience rather than outright outlawism. Still…as Amy sang, if you run out, you ‘gotta call the green man’ and get some more. I suppose don’t bogart that joint, that old hippy idea morphed into ‘I get mine and you get yours..’ I’m with Amy. That green is too expensive and back in prohibition days, too much of a pain to get hold of, to let some chick’s boyfriend smoke the entire stash. It almost makes me nostalgic for the prohibition experience, before I remember I can go out today and buy clean good weed, of a strain I prefer in a nice safe legal shop. Hurrah for 420!

Van the Man in a nostalgia trip, fishing, weed and moonshine, what else do you need!

Peter Tosh brings that reggae beat to preach legalizing marijuana, and of course marijuana, ganja, whatever you call it is an essential part of the Rastafarian faith, making illegalization even more unforgivable. The laid back beat, and the righteous message is a thing of great beauty. Legalize it!

I couldn’t leave out Snoop, the man who got Martha Stewart stoned immaculate. Someone had to, I guess….Smoke Weed Every Day counsels Snoop, and Snoop should know. The patriarch of the rap scene is famous for his tolerance and devotion to the green, and the vibe of this song is undeniable with the perfect Dre beat.

Oh Willie! I would say something about returning to the Earth, all one with the universe or some such platitudes, but I would get get in the way of the party. Considering Keith Richards snorted his father, I am sure we can persuade someone to roll up Willie and smoke him when he dies…

There is no other song I would rather wind up 420 with than Musical Youth’s Pass The Dutchie. Dutchie is slang for a joint, but these talented and wonderful young group managed to persuade the world that this was not a weed song, and instead the ‘spirit of Jah’ that they sing about was a song about passing a cooking pot and I love them for it. This song holds so many memories for me, that every time I light up a joint, or sit and get stoned on these newfangled gummies I am immediately transported back to my youth.

Happy 420! Don’t forget to pass the dutchie on the left hand side, not bogart that joint, my friends, and don’t forget about our friends in not so enlightened places who have to still go ‘visit the green man’ and risk going to jail for smoking a little weed while our drunk friends can go buy bottle after bottle even if some people wreck devastation while drunk. Legalize it.

green cannabis plant

Post Script:

I was thinking of going to Hippie Hill to smoke some weed and perhaps find some inspiration, but it would appear that instead of being a celebration of renegades kicking against the pricks, it has become a corporate event, swallowed up by big business, with legal sales of weed in the park, tickets, checks on ID and fences. Whenever the freaks have something good, they are first vilified for it, and then it is engulfed by the Establishment and gets melted into polite society, and by doing so, they always fucking ruin it.


  1. nickreeves

    ps. re D. Whitten. Really fond of his styling; a kinda tightrope walk on electric wires, leaning forward, almost falling, but never falling. R.Wood strikes me similar – a great part of his playing (especially on film) is the way he seems to throw himself at a solo, just to see what sticks. Lovely.


      1. The Paltry Sum

        If you can find it, that whole Rockets album is pure gold. Hey…if the first one doesn’t get ya…the cup of coffee will! Glad I am good for something. Been shouted at too much today. I wouldn’t mind, but I ain’t in fucking jail….

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