Songs about weed have pervaded country music for decades, but it seems now more than ever there is a general acceptance of the use of the drug across the genre.
Everyone from Zac Brown Band to Kacey Musgraves is referencing smoking weed in their tunes lately, if not directly writing songs centered around the typically illicit activity. Amid discussions nationwide of legalizing the drug, artists like Willie Nelson have become well-known advocates in recent years, and many other country artists feel similarly.
Whether it’s mentioned in passing as a way to relax and party or championed as a solution for many of life’s ills, marijuana is a focal point for many songwriters in today’s country landscape. We’ve put together a list of some of the best.
"Sun Daze"Florida Georgia Line
For Florida Georgia Line, there’s such thing as a perfect day, and for them that means wearing flip flops and shades, drinking Jack and Coke, and getting stoned. The artists’ tune “Sun Daze” is a summer anthem dedicated to that state of mind, and smoking pot seems to be an integral part of the itinerary. In the music video, the band takes full advantage of the summer to do all of those things and more, hanging out by the pool, doing a slip-n-slide and drinking with friends. The tune is off the band’s Anything Goes album and was released as its second single in September 2014, hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and No. 3 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
"Sunday Morning Coming Down"Johnny Cash
Written by Kris Kristoffersen, “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” is a somber tune about the morning after a long night of intoxication, but also about a greater sense of emptiness. Johnny Cash’s version, released in 1970, certainly captures the depressing sight of a man who notes he wished he were stoned so he wouldn’t have to face seeing all the other happy people enjoying life or sleeping peacefully in their homes while he was in such pain. The tune is not necessarily just about marijuana, but it does feature prominently throughout the song. Cash's “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart the year of its release.
"Stoned at the Jukebox"Hank Williams, Jr.
Hank Williams, Jr. wrote this lament about a lost love for his 1990 album Lone Wolf, and its desperation still shines through the lyrics and Williams’ voice today. The narrator of “Stoned at the Jukebox" is left devastated by a girl who left, but manages to get by during the day. Unfortunately, the night eventually comes and he turns to vices to get him through, leaving him “stoned at the jukebox” listening to sad songs and wallowing in his pain. It doesn’t reveal whether marijuana helped him out at all, but it does imply it played a role in his recovery, for better or for worse. The song was not a single for Williams, but it’s got his trademark style and a focus on lighting up that earns it a slot in our Top 10.
"High Cost of Living"Jamey Johnson
Jamey Johnson’s “High Cost of Living” is more of a cautionary tale about marijuana and other drugs than a celebratory one, telling a personal story about his struggle with addiction and eventually overcoming it. The song describes his life in a haze, with no real grasp on reality or what he was giving up by staying high all the time. “My life was just an old routine, every day the same damn thing, I couldn’t even tell I was alive,” Johnson sings of this time in his life. “The high cost of living ain’t nothing like the cost of living high,” he concludes. The song was Johnson’s second single off his third studio record released in 2008, titled The Lonesome Song. It was rated No. 38 on Rolling Stone’s list of the top 100 songs from that year, and peaked at No. 34 on the country charts.
"Ready to Roll"Blake Shelton
“Ready to Roll,” from Blake Shelton’s 2011 Red River Blue album, is a laid-back weekend tune with a Motown-style bass line and a dash of Jimmy Buffett flair. While it’s a bit more subtle than some of the other songs on our list, it’s clear Shelton has a specific experience in mind when he says, “let’s kick back and take a trip.” The song title’s double meaning is not lost in context as Shelton suggests how to unwind after a long week. The tune was co-written by Jim Beavers, Jonathan Singleton and three-time CMA winner Chris Stapleton, and though it wasn’t released as a single, it’s one of Shelton’s more memorable tunes.
"Weed Instead of Roses"Ashley Monroe
An unapologetic ditching of typical romantic tropes, Ashley Monroe’s “Weed Instead of Roses” is an irreverent note to a long-time partner, hoping to spice up the relationship a bit. The artist takes a bold approach to a common real-life situation — getting stuck in a rut with your spouse or long-term significant other — and suggests trying some less conventional tactics. “Bring me weed instead of roses, whiskey instead of wine,” she sings. “I don’t need a card from Hallmark, box of chocolates, Heaven knows, bring me weed instead of roses, and let’s see where it goes.” The lighthearted, flirty tune has a traditional country spin, as does the video, which looks like it was filmed in the early '80s. “Let’s go call your no-good brother, we both know what he’s been growin’,” Monroe continues, unashamedly propositioning some Mary Jane to change up the routine. The song, co-written by Monroe, was released as the third single from her record Like a Rose in 2013.
"Weed With Willie"Toby Keith
Though it wasn’t always the case, Willie Nelson has become the official champion of marijuana usage in country music, and Toby Keith reinforced this sentiment with his tune “Weed with Willie.” Inspired by Keith and co-writer Scotty Emerick’s experiences at Farm Aid with Nelson, it tells of a backstage hang out with the icon, who offered the new guys a “fat boy and he passed it around.” Apparently it was too strong for the songwriters, who vowed to "never smoke weed with Willie again.” The song ends, however, with them giving in, saying they lay in the fetal position, drooling, because they “broke down and smoked weed with Willie again.” The tune appeared on Keith’s album Shock’n Y’all as one of two special live tracks with Emerick.
"Smoke a Little Smoke"Eric Church
Eric Church’s "Smoke a Little Smoke" is a blatant tribute to the feeling that comes with smoking weed from the first note, starting out longing to “turn the quiet up, turn the noise down, let this old world spin around.” The song appropriately has a bit of an outlaw sound, unashamedly noting in the bridge the desire to “dig down deep, find my stash, light it up, memory crash.” Church co-wrote “Smoke a Little Smoke,” the third single from his 2010 album Carolina, with Jeff Hyde and Driver Williams. Something about the tune must have resonated with country fans, because it reached No. 16 on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs chart. It’s hard to deny this song is one of the most popular odes to lighting up.
Perhaps one of the more upfront songs on our list, accomplished singer/songwriter Brandy Clark’s “Get High” doesn’t use any euphemisms or hint at what she’s trying to say. The artist tells the story of a woman who works hard to take care of her family and the everyday to-dos, but sometimes gets overwhelmed by life’s problems or bored by the monotony. The way she copes? “Rolls herself a fat one,” Clark sings in the upbeat, quirky tune. The singer continues the story of the woman, carrying on with the day-to-day, interjected with a chorus declaring that "sometimes the only way to get by is to get high." The woman’s story ends asking God to teach her how to accept the things she can’t change. “But until then,” she adds, “thanks for the Mary Jane.”
"It's All Going to Pot"Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
A newer tune for both the iconic artists, this song was released on the duet record Django and Jimmie earlier in 2015, appropriately on April 20. Written by Buddy Cannon, Larry Shell and Jamey Johnson, it was the first single from the collaboration and advocates for the use of marijuana, clearly noted in the music video, which features the artists passing a joint back and forth during the recording process. It almost prophesies that the rest of the world is moving in a direction that will eventually advocate for it as well, even over more well-accepted vices like whiskey. Nelson has his own line of marijuana coming out soon, so this song reflects his personal beliefs. The upbeat, tongue-in-cheek song features a cameo by Johnson and reintroduced the world to the infamous country duo of Nelson and Merle Haggard, not to mention highlight their support of Mary Jane.