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Barely Legal: Pot in Pop Culture and American Politics

Celebrate 4/20 with the best stoner songs and the latest on marijuana reform in the U.S.

April 20, 2011 12:55 PM ET
Barely Legal: Pot in Pop Culture and American Politics
Tom Hill/WireImage

According to stoner lore, 4:20 was the time of day, in the Seventies, that a small group of smokers at San Rafael High School in California would meet to get high. The number has come down to us as "the universal time to get high" and/or a nice shorthand for marijuana. For our purposes, it's a flimsy but serviceable pretext to spend this week – anchored as it is by Wednesday, 4/20 – digging into the politics of pot in America, as well as its place in popular culture. Check back here for regular updates throughout the week

"420 Week" Coverage

The 15 Greatest Stoner Songs
The artists included on our list are a  diverse lot, but most every song has two things in common: a mellow vibe and a deep, passionate love for marijuana – and ganja, pot, cannabis, grass, weed, kaya . . .

Listen: Peter Tosh's Pro-Weed Classic 'Legalize It'
Revisit the title track of a roots-reggae masterpiece

Real Time Host Bill Maher on Offshore Pot Smoking and the War on Drugs
"Is it one of our top 10 problems, to legalize pot? No, but ending the drug war would be a great way to save a metric fuckton of money."

The State of Marijuana Law Reform in America
A look at the past year's progress and setbacks on the road to a saner drug policy

Marijuana Law Reform: What's Next?
Interview with legalization advocate Ethan Nadelmann on the outlook for the year ahead

Pot by the Numbers
How many Americans have smoked up? Where is public opinion on medical marijuana? Legalization? Answers to these and other questions

From the Archives: Rolling Stone on Drug Law Reform and the War on Drugs

Just Say Now
In August 2010, Ari Berman reported on Proposition 19, California's legalization initiative, which came close to passing the following November

MarijuanAmerica
Mark Binelli wrote in April 2010 about the green revolution sweeping across the nation, from California to downtown Detroit, and how it's changing the weed business forever

How the Cartels Work
Guy Lawson's September 2009 report on how Mexican drug lords have transformed the narcotics trade in America, leaving the DEA appears powerless to stop them

Plus: Guy Lawson on Mexican Drug Lords and How the Cartels Work (Video)

A Drug War Truce?
Tim Dickinson's June 2009 look at the drug policy of the Obama administration and the growing pressure for marijuana law reform

The War Next Door
In November 2008, Guy Lawson wrote about Mexico's descent into violent chaos as drug cartels battled the government

How America Lost the War on Drugs
Back in December 2007, Ben Wallace-Wells wrote about how, after 35 years and $500 billion, drugs are as cheap and plentiful as ever

The Great California Weed Rush
Vanessa Grigoriadis' February 2007 report on how medical marijuana is turning L.A. pot dealers into semi-legit businessmen

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Love Is the Answer”

Utopia | 1977

The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

More Song Stories entries »
 
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