Vibing to music while smoking. Singing high, singing and blazing. The music-weed relationship is magical and powerful—it transcends time and is always gaining strength. Lyrics about weed, smoking on music videos, and interviews expose a relationship between Latin artists and weed legalisation in the region.
Pop, rock, reggae, trap, and rap are some of the music genres used to support cannabis regulation. Some artists take advantage of the spotlight to stress the need for comprehensive legislation in favour of medical and recreational cannabis in Latin America.
“What a great night to light up a joint”
In 1994, at a music show in La Plata, singer Andrés Calamaro, an Argentine rock legend, roared at the audience: “what a great night to light up a joint”—a phrase that will echo forever. This ended with Calamaro being prosecuted for “incitement.” Eventually, the case was dismissed in 2005. In a more low-key fashion, “Aquí no podemos hacerlo” (“We can’t do that here”)—a Los Rodriguez song released in 1995 and written by Calamaro—resorts to ambiguity so that the meaning is up to interpretation. Depending on your point of view, the song goes about a girl or the cannabis plant. After the ’94 incident, the artist was spotted smoking weed again, this time at a music show in Uruguay in 2019.
Demands for Change in Mexico and Colombia
Mexican guitarist Carlos Santana is a firm believer that cannabis should be legalised across all Latin America. “Do you want real change for America? Then bring peace back to the people, invest in education, and legalise weed in every country”—a recurrent quote by Santana, which certainly represents the artist’s mind. Mexico is still debating on cannabis legalisation, which is expected to take an important step this year.
Colombian musician Juanes claimed at a 2014 interview for ¡Hey! magazine that weed regulation may be a key element in the fight against drug trafficking. “Decriminalisation could be a huge achievement. This is a very complex matter, but, eventually, things will change.” Even though his music does not address this topic at all, the artist makes use of interviews to highlight an issue that escapes mainstream conversations and sets out his arguments in favour of legalisation.
Lyrics and Blunts: The New Musical Era
Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio, most known as Bad Bunny, is currently one of the most popular rappers in the Latin music scene. His performance alongside Shakira at Super Bowl 2020 shot him to international stardom. This Puerto Rican artist joined reggaeton singer Farruko to release a new version of his song titled “La Cartera,” which conveys an explicit message demanding weed legalisation. Its music video, showing a weed paradise, police officers vaping, and crippy weed in purses, has hit over 97 thousand views on YouTube.
Mauro Lombardo, known as “Duki” is 23, lives in the City of Buenos Aires and needs no introduction. He is one of the biggest Argentine trap singers to date and a key player of the latest generation of Latin American trap on a global level. Duki does not bat an eye when admitting that he does weed just for fun and that his greatest hits were conceived smoking in the toilet, hidden from his family. “Weed is a part of recording and making music to me: I wrote my first songs in the toilet at my parents’ house, high on weed. I locked myself in for three hours there and no one knew whether I had the runs, or I was dead, or whatever. And I was just there, recording and smoking. It was a tiny toilet, 1sqm. The scent stayed in and no one bothered me—it was my time capsule,” the artist reveals at an interview.
All music genres represented, more and more artists, musicians and celebrities are confessing that they do weed, either on a daily basis or from time to time. What matters here is the attention given to and society’s growing rejection of cannabis prohibitionist ideas.