Cannabis. There is no doubt that this flower hasn’t been pungent to the noses of mankind for centuries. In this day and age, hemp is used as an outlet to creativity, especially in today’s music industry. Want to score some?

Let’s travel back to the 1920’s in New Orleans, known as the home of jazz music, southern hospitality, and racism. Let us first define the word “jazz” for you; derived from the jargon expression jasm, jas for “speed”. Speaking through their instruments, musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, and Hoagy Carmichael so happened to bind their kinship with a few rotations. 

 “Pops” loved his pot. Not your grandfather, but considerably the grandfather of jazz, Louis Armstrong. He was a music virtuoso from the risky neighborhood of Battlefield in New Orleans. Little Louis grew up to become “Satchel-Mouth” or “Satchmo” for short. His mouth, like a messenger bag, carried a tune like no other. This trumpeter was a “bona fide” activist and daily user of cannabis. He was so avid about his plant, that he requested to obtain a permit to burn his best bud. 

Chicago clarinetist, Mezz Mezzrow, was known more for his “reefer” than his clarinet’s reed. Several words could describe Mighty Mezz, but to put it in simple terms he was “THAT GUY”! He was also that guy with the “gas”. His gage had everyone engaged, especially fellow “jazz vipers”. The word, “viper” was yesterday’s jazz slang term for a stoner. “We liked things to be easy and relaxed, mellow and mild, not loud or loutish…we members of the viper school made music that was real foxy, all lit with inspiration”. -Mezz Mezzrow

In the 1930’s, head of the United States Federal Bureau of Narcotics, Harry Anslinger put more jazz musicians behind bars than one could count. He was so talented in his work that he could discern talented musicians from the not so talented ones. Not every day do you learn about a government official with no musical talent being an expert on musical talent.

Yours truly, had the ticket argument in the courtroom for the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. In front of the US Congress, he broadcasted his undoubtedly racist conviction that those “reefer smokers” playing “satanic voodoo jazz” would make white women want to have sex with negroes. Guess what Anslinger…You would be rolling in your grave now if someone told you that interracial marriage is higher than ever and cannabis is legal in several states! 

Getting to the “roach of this joint” Mezz not only served an era of jazz, but served the truth that cannabis is key to a soft, yet soulful noise of improvisation and ingenuity. If anyone is putting five on anything in that courtroom, the ultimatum was based upon racism and jealousy, so that brown brothers could not make something influential. They only want you to think that there is one way of life … and that is theirs.

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