It’s April 20, also known as 4/20 – a certain smoker’s holiday of sorts.
In Texas, we all know that one ubiquitous Texas musician heavily associated with weed – Willie Nelson. But country music’s history with cannabis is more vast.
Spencer Dukoff, director of audience development at Consequence, recently co-authored a piece looking at country music’s historical relationship with weed. Listen to the story above or read the transcript below.
This transcript was edited lightly for clarity:
Texas Standard: We don’t have time to go through all ten songs, but maybe we should begin with a classic from Merle Haggard, I think. You know the one.
Spencer Dukoff: Yeah, “Okie from Muskogee” we really kind of picked out as a starting point, being this huge country smash and also firmly positioned country music on this more socially conservative side of the country. And the rest of the song kind of draws links between, you know, dope-smoking hippies and kind of the collapse of traditional values in the United States. Just given how popular that song was, even if there was a little bit of a wink and a nod and it was somewhat of a sillier song, you know, there were plenty of people who were listening and saying, “OK, country music is on this side. It’s 1969. Rock and roll is on another side.” And so that’s kind of the starting point we had for this.