Country music stars open up about legalizing marijuana

Special Reports

Marijuana is something more and more country music artists are opening up about. They talk about it in their music, at their concerts, even on the radio.

“It’s definitely done some really cool things besides just smoking it and getting stoned and writing some really great music. It’s really actually done a lot of amazing health benefits for a lot of people so we’re obviously advocates,” said Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley from Florida Georgia Line. 

And some of them are letting News 2 personally know how they feel about the subject.

“I just don’t believe that prohibition works. I mean, I’m a recovering addict. I’ve been sober for 24 years so I don’t get high, but, I was locked up for a little while and mostly with guys who didn’t do anything but have drug habits. Making marijuana illegal has never worked in the whole time that it’s been prohibited,” said Steve Earle.

Artists like Steve Earle and Ray Benson support legalizing marijuana in Tennessee.

Ray Benson said, “It’s one of the stupidest laws since the prohibition of alcohol certainly, and there are certain definite medical benefits and there are certain recreational benefits. And as I’ve always said, Willie’s my canary in the mine and if he’s 85 and still smoking, I reckon it’s good for your health.”

He mentioned Willie Nelson, who perhaps is the most famous country music artist recognized for showing his support for the legalization of marijuana. He even has his own line, “Willie’s Reserve.” And Nelson and Margo Price are teaming up to develop and launch a new organic strain of cannabis under that line that came about because Price needed something to help relieve her back pain and insomnia.

She said, “I’ve been working on this strain for quite a while. It’s been like a couple of years coming, actually. And it’s out in California and it’s with Willie’s Reserve. It’s called ‘All American Made’.”

Price said she strongly supports legalization in Tennessee.

“I really think we should. I think that marijuana is a safer drug than alcohol, I think. I mean the benefits for cancer patients, there are so many different benefits for it and I just hope that you know, we can see that not only are there medical benefits, but there are financial benefits to be made. Tax it, and we could do something good with that money. I’m pretty sure we could find somewhere to spend it,” said Price.

At a recent Willie Nelson concert at Bridgestone Arena, Jack Johnson sang, “Willie got me stoned and took all my money,” which he said is a true story. He also thinks marijuana should be legal in the Mid-State.

“I talked to a friend of mine who’s an emergency room doctor and I asked him, how many people do you think you see, like what percentage would it be that are like alcohol-related you know for being in there whether it’s too much alcohol or an accident caused by alcohol. And I forget the number he gave me but it was somewhere up at like 70-percent or something like that when he thought about it for a minute. And then I asked him, I said, how many people have you ever seen for smoking marijuana? And he thought for a while and he’s like, I can honestly say that I never had anybody come in the emergency room for marijuana,” said Johnson.

The Avett Brothers tell us they feel like marijuana in certain forms should be legal everywhere.

“I think it’s beneficial for more people than it’s not. It probably does more damage being illegal,” said Scott Avett.

“Scott and I personally don’t have a dog in the fight per se, but it seems to have been proven that it has benefits for certain ailments. Some sort of permission would be good probably across the country,” said Seth Avett.

So will the growing number of well-known artists openly admitting to using marijuana affect the legalization process in Tennesee?

Price told News 2, “I’m kind of skeptical, but I have hope. I have hope that you know people will kind of realize that it’s not, it shouldn’t be demonized like it’s been for all this time, and that it can actually help people.

The fact is, Tennessee may be light years away from legalizing recreational marijuana, but efforts by some in the country music industry to legalize it will continue.

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