You don’t have to be a marijuana user to know that Snoop Dogg is the king of cannabis. He raps about weed, consumes weed, owns weed businesses, and on 420, he’s featured in a Netflix documentary that tackles the controversy surrounding marijuana. Yet despite his very accomplished ganja resume, he’s just one relaxed fish in a sea of pop culture influence dating back decades. From Louis Armstrong’s sultry jazz hits—said to be swayed by his love of herb—to the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life”—which Paul McCartney claims was actually a love song about pot, not a significant other—cannabis surfaces in our music, movies, art and more, whether we know it or not. So as the high holy day of stoner holidays nears, kick back, relax and enjoy our ode to 420—a pop culture guide to marijuana entertainment, mixed with a few recommendations for those who partake.
Snoop Dogg Aside from being one of the most famous rappers of all time, Snoop co-founded Casa Verde Capital, a company that deals with the business-related side of the weed industry and, according to High Times, raised more than $40 million in weed investments in 2018.
Willie Nelson The Red Headed Stranger has his own cannabis line—Willie’s Reserve—and he’s been an outspoken proponent of ganja since, well, forever. As the Willie’s Reserve website says, “He has always operated under a simple philosophy: My stash is your stash.”
Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball”-era Miley wasn’t shy about her pot usage, but the Disney actress-turned-singer cleaned up her act and ditched the marijuana for a brief stint to clear her head. She has since returned to the green life, and is said to have smoked with her “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” collaborator, Mark Ronson.
Dave Chappelle The comedian has always made jokes about smoking weed—remember his bit about how he only smokes with white people because they just talk about all the other times they got high? What about the time he was too high to perform at a show in 2015? When it comes to Mary Jane, he’s just as candid about the green stuff off-stage as he is on.
Lady Gaga She talked candidly about her marijuana use while she was recovering from an injury. And while Gaga recently said she's cut back since her recovery, she still advocates using it to catch some Zs in her busy schedule.
Cheech and Chong
Not everyone is in favor
There are a bunch of celebrities that are proponents of marijuana—but there’s a handful of notables who aren’t in favor of it, either. Pope Francis, unsurprisingly, is vehemently anti-drug, and yes, that includes a little herb. 43rd President George W. Bush also carries a strong anti-drug and weed stance, although he admitted to smoking it when he was young. Method Man made a career out of rapping about getting high with his hip-hop partner Redman, but as a father, Method said he’s kicked hash to be a better role model and family man.
Smiley Face Anna Faris is hilarious in this sneakily profound movie about a slacker who eats way, way too many pot cupcakes and embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery across LA.
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse The colors, man! The colors!
Evil Bong A micro-budget horror-comedy with about as much ambition as its lazy stoner characters, Evil Bong is nevertheless kind of endearing, from its completely immobile monster to its obligatory Tommy Chong cameo.
Dazed and Confused
2001: A Space Odyssey
Breaking Habits Released on VOD this week, Rob Ryan’s documentary follows California’s Sisters of the Valley as the weed-growing order of nuns fight both the police and the black market in their efforts to bring legitimate, locally grown medicinal cannabis to their economically depressed town.
The Big Lebowski The Dude abides.
The Wackness A bittersweet romantic comedy and coming-of-age story, Jonathan Levine’s Sundance-winning film is a nostalgic tribute to the ’90s starring Josh Peck as a sensitive teenage pot dealer and Olivia Thirlby as the girl for whom he falls.
Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical Mocking notorious anti-marijuana propaganda film Reefer Madness gets old quickly, but this musical parody provides all the mockery along with catchy songs and a lively lead performance from Kristen Bell.
Samsara Watching this abstract documentary, with its hypnotic images of nature, cityscapes and human activity, sometimes feels like being high without the aid of any substances, so adding weed to the equation should be a serious head trip.
Dude, Where’s My Car?
Night of the Living Dead “They’re coming to get you, Barbara!”
Inception A dream within a dream within a dream.
Super High Me Stoner icon Doug Benson abstains from cannabis for 30 days, then indulges for 30 days, documenting the process and proving that pot use has been a positive force in his life.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Love is beautiful and tragic at the same time, and this movie understands it all.
The Matrix Whoa.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Hunter S. Thompson's drug-fueled epic, as interpreted by Terry Gilliam, is a defining moment for both stoners and Sin City.
Beavis and Butt-Head Do America Huh huh, this movie rules
Not interested in making a movie-length commitment? Check out That ’70s Show reruns for its round-table “enlightenment,” or Netflix’s Grace and Frankie for ganja cameos and trusted sitcom laughs. Lovers of animation should check out Big Mouth and South Park for jaw-dropping absurdities, while Planet Earth will satisfy environmentalists or artists seeking to expand their minds and pontificate about their role in the universe. Get a case of the munchies with Vice’s Bong Appétit or the Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Party Challenge. Finally, HBO’s High Maintenance mixes drama and comedy in a marijuana-themed storyline that follows a cannabis deliveryman through the viewpoint of others, including a customer’s dog.
Grand Theft Auto V (GTA Online/PS4/XBOXONE/PC) The destructive mayhem you can invoke playing GTA V or its online counterpart cranks up, providing you with an almost limitless playground for the ridiculous.
Tetris (Original Nintendo Entertainment System) Were you awful at Tetris? Revisit this classic and you’ll realize what you really needed was to relax and let those pieces slide in right where they belong.
Minecraft (Basically everything) It’s video game Legos.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 or 3 Pick the version of this skateboarding classic with your favorite soundtrack and shred. Skateboarding and weed have gone hand in hand since the ’80s.
Fortnite (PC/ XBOX ONE/PS4/ iOS/Android/Nintendo Switch) You can play this hundred-man death match on everything from a high-end PC to your iPhone. Its lighthearted leaning and global events make it the best version of this popular genre to play while intoxicated.
Monument Valley 1 and 2 (iOS/ Android) These gorgeous M.C. Escher-inspired puzzle games are casual yet compelling. They’re a wonder to behold and a real trip to play under the influence.
World of Warcraft(PC/Mac) The most popular MMORPG is still going strong. Nostalgic for Barrens Chat? Have no fear, Blizzard is launching Vanilla servers summer of 2019.
Mortal Kombat (PS4/XBOX ONE) With a brand-new MK on the horizon, you can combo your friends into oblivion while eating Combos with them on the couch.
Worms Armageddon (PC) Despite being 20 years old, this game is still receiving updates. Hilarious strategy incorporates weapons like exploding sheep and holy hand-grenades.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch) Getting bombed with a blue shell while in first place isn’t half as infuriating when you’re relaxed.
Sleep, Dopesmoker (2003) Duh. The 64-minute title track marks the pinnacle of heavy stoner-rockdom.
GZA, Liquid Swords (1995) You thought we were gonna say 36 Chambers, didn’t you? But yeah, any RZA-produced Wu-Tang stuff should work.
Bob Marley & The Wailers, Catch a Fire(1973) This list simply can’t be made without him.
Ween, The Pod (1991) When you want something weird that moves around a lot.
Boards of Canada, Music Has the Right to Children (1998) Electronic and bouncy but far from dancey. Couchtronica?
Pink Floyd, Obscured by Clouds (1972) When you’ve worn out Dark Side and Wish You Were Here, try this half-instrumental soundtrack to an obscure French film.
Madvillain, Madvillainy (2004) You don’t need your own metal mask to enjoy this MF Doom/Madlib hip-hop collabo, though it might be more fun.
Electric Wizard, Dopethrone (2000) The demon smoking a bong on the cover hints at the music within—frightening and nasty, in the best possible way.
Grateful Dead, Live/Dead (1969) Still the lights-off, late-night champion.
Beastie Boys, Ill Communication (1994) “Ah, yes indeed it’s fun time.”
A 10 SONG 420 PLAYLIST
Mighty Diamonds, “Pass the Kouchie”(1982)
Black Sabbath, “Sweet Leaf” (1971)
Cypress Hill, “I Wanna Get High” (1993)
Neil Young, “Homegrown” (1977)
Missy Elliott, “Pass That Dutch” (2003)
Fraternity of Man, “Don’t Bogart Me” (1968)
Redman & Method Man, “How High” (1995)
Peter Tosh, “Legalize It” (1976)
Bob Dylan, “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” (1966)
Willie Nelson,“Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” (2012)
Looking to fill out that party anthem playlist? Consider pretty much everything by Migos and Wiz Khalifa, including “Young, Wild & Free” with Snoop Dogg and “Keep Floatin’”with Mac Miller. Kendrick Lamar’s ode to California’s crop shines through in “The Recipe,” and even OutKast gets in the mood with “Crumblin’ Erb.” Sublime’s entire 40oz. to Freedom album embodies the kush lifestyle, and the band’s remake of “Smoke Two Joints” is about as 420 as it gets. While the ladies are scarce on this list, seeming to prefer a more discreet approach, Lana Del Rey isn’t shy in “High by the Beach,” and neither is Tove Lo in “Habits (Stay High).” For layered ambient tracks and no mention of marijuana, check out records by Bonobo or Oofoe for catchy background noise.
Books, Podcasts and More
Marijuana shows up in more than just music and movies. It’s part of our culture at large—that purple haze infiltrates magazines, blogs, books, podcasts and YouTube channels. If you’re looking for something to do while imbibing or if you’re simply hoping to learn more about ganja, check out these top 20 Pot Culture picks.
Stock your bookshelf with a nice overview of the field, such as (1) Weed: The User’s Guide: A 21st Century Handbook for Enjoying Marijuana and (2) Green: A Field Guide to Marijuana. If that’s too many words, have some fun with weed-themed coloring and activity books, such as (3) Color Me Cannabis by Chronic Crafter, (4) The Killer Weed Coloring Book and (5) The Scratch & Sniff Book of Weed. Or, go in for some retro fun with a (6) Magic Eye illusion book or a classic (7) Where’s Waldo? picture book.
Whether you follow the recipes or simply look at the pretty pictures, weed-oriented cookbooks have come up like … weeds. And their punny titles are worth the purchase price alone: (8) Bong Appétit: Mastering the Art of Cooking With Weed, (9) High Tea: Gracious Cannabis Tea-Time Recipes for Every Occasion, (10) The Art of Weed Butter: A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Cannabutter Master and (11) Edibles: Small Bites for the Modern Cannabis Kitchen.
For magazines, start with the O.G. of high society, (12) High Times magazine, which has been reporting on cannabis culture since 1974. For a weed publication created for women, by women, check out (13) Push magazine. Budworthy blogs include (14) HighHowAreYou.com, (15) BudtenderNation.com and (16) LetsTalkHemp.com.
On the audio front, listen to the popular podcast (17) Weed + Grub by Mike Glazer & Mary Jane or download the cannabis comedy podcast (18) The Weed Show.
If you want to zone out and enjoy the vibe, head over to (19) National Geographic’s YouTube channel for relaxing nature videos. Or spend some time chilling out on the silent bushcrafting YouTube channel of Danish wilderness crafter (20) Rune Malte Bertram-Nielsen.
Jenny Holzer, VEGAS Holzer’s forever-scrolling LED wall of aphorisms at the Aria is the kind of thing edibles are made for. Example: “When you expect fair play, you create an infectious bubble of madness around you.”
Roger Dean, Views, Magnetic Storm and Dragon’s Dream The English artist responsible for most of Yes’ album covers pretty much defined the black-light poster aesthetic of stoner rock in the 1970s (and was enough of an influence on James Cameron’s Avatar for Dean to sue). These three books corral most of his dragons together.
Melanie Bernier, Joints State legalization of weed inspired Bernier to make sculptures of what government-regulated, buy-it-at-the-7-11 joints could look like. “Anticipating a shift from illegal to legal, underground to commercial, really intrigued me, especially since weed culture is so goofy,” Bernier said, in a 2017 interview with Vice.
Matthew Spiegelman, Officioné The New York-based photographer’s colorful series considers the whole marijuana experience, from bud to pipe to the billows of smoke wafting away.
Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian, Buddha Machine This tiny sound box has a simple purpose: It plays nine loops of chill musical phrases, suitable for meditation or for navigating through hazy clouds of bliss.
Amedeo Modigliani The Italian painter of dreamlike, elongated nudes (1884-1920) was a recreational smoker.
Fred Tomaselli Not only does this contemporary artist create beautiful paintings of marijuana leaves, he grows his own.
Marijuana Destination Cities
Amsterdam, Netherlands It goes without saying that the OG city of recreational marijuana use tops this list. Amsterdam sets the gold standard for all other cities aspiring to be a capital of coffee-shop cool.
Portland, Oregon Oregon has always been ahead of the trend when it comes to weed—it was the first U.S. state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis, way back in 1973. Today, it’s a city known for its quirks and vibrant food scene.
Lisbon, Portugal Much of the Continent can be dreary weather-wise, but Portugal, with hundreds of miles of sandy beaches fronting the Atlantic Ocean, is a tourist destination for many reasons, one being its decriminalization of all drugs since 2001.
Kingston, Jamaica While not legal, weed is so entrenched in the culture in Jamaica, its ganja tours are a must for any weed-loving visitor.
Anchorage, Alaska Cannabis was made legal here by a ballot initiative in 2014, making those subarctic winters bearable. But should you choose to visit Alaska in the summer, there are plenty of activities outside as well.
Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica While pot is not legal in Costa Rica, its use is widely accepted and is very much part of the tourist culture. Toking up while watching breathtaking sunsets on the beach is just another day in this Central American paradise.
Vancouver, Canada Come for the weed, stay for the universal health care. Our neighbor to the north, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2018, suddenly looks like an awesome place to chill.
Montevideo, Uruguay In 2014, Uruguay became the first country in the world to have a system regulating legal production, sale and consumption of cannabis. Today, you can buy weed in regular pharmacies for as little as $1 a gram.
Jerusalem, Israel Jerusalem is the birthplace of cannabis research—it was here that scientists first isolated THC in 1964. Today, Israel has one of the largest government-sanctioned marijuana-growing operations in the world, providing more than 30,000 patients some of the finest weed for medicinal purposes.
Las Vegas, Nevada After legalizing recreational marijuana in 2017, the Entertainment Capital of the World is now home to some of the largest dispensaries in the world, giving tourists yet another reason to visit.