Marijuana Policy Project
Curved Papers

Let Weed Rule: Lenny Kravitz on Cannabis and Cheech & Chong

Lenny Kravitz on the first time he got high: "I took a puff and exhaled. Still no effect. Shannon told me to hold it in longer. I did, and this time something shifted."

Rolling Stone has exceprted Lenny Kravitz's memoir Let Love Rule in the latest issue. The headline reads:

Lenny Kravitz Discovers Weed and Led Zeppelin on the Same Day in New Memoir Excerpt

Kravitz writes about his first time smoking pot with his friends in Los Angeles:

"During our escape from school, in the deserted courtyard, Shannon broke out a joint, lit it and passed it to Derek and me. I had tried weed a couple of times before, but never felt much. For Santa Monica teens in the mid-'70s, smoking weed was like breathing air. I took a puff and exhaled. Still no effect. Shannon told me to hold it in longer. I did, and this time something shifted. At precisely the same time the head rush hit, Derek slipped a cassette in his boombox.

“'Black Dog.'

"This was a moment. Maybe the moment. My head exploded. My mind blew up with the sound of the screaming guitar, the crazed vocal, the blasting beat. I was knocked on my ass. I hadn’t even heard of Led Zeppelin. I didn’t yet know the names Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham. All I knew was that this music was electrifying every cell in my body. The mixture of marijuana and 'Black Dog' sent me soaring. The sky opened up. The world got bigger and more beautiful. I was fucked up.

"Shannon told me that I had to 'maintain.' Maintain was the word. I had to maintain my high. Going back into school, I had to find a way to act cool. It wasn’t easy."

Later in the excerpt, Kravitz takes a detour about his favorites comedians then - Richard Pryor and Cheech & Chong:

"The ultimate stoner kings were Cheech and Chong. Mom and Dad never did learn that I was a pothead. So to discover these pothead comics, especially those who made the get-high ritual ridiculously funny, was like finding long-lost friends. Shannon, Derek and I knew their routines by heart. Humor helped get us through school.The ultimate stoner kings were Cheech and Chong. Mom and Dad never did learn that I was a pothead. So to discover these pothead comics, especially those who made the get-high ritual ridiculously funny, was like finding long-lost friends. Shannon, Derek and I knew their routines by heart. Humor helped get us through school."

Tommy Chong Responds to Lenny Kravitz

Tommy Chong tells CelebStoner:

"We performed with Lenny a few years ago. Outdoor somewhere. We hung with him before he performed and watched him from backstage. He's a very cool dude. Very successful and very in control. Shelby really liked him."

Chong was referring to his wife Shelby Chong.

 

Kravitz Interview in the New York Times

Rob Tannenbaum: "You smoked marijuana every day from the age of 11 until you were 35. Then you stopped for a while. Do you smoke now?"

Kravitz answers:

"I smoked like Bob Marley - I was on that level. I guess now you could say like Snoop Dogg, right? That’s how I was, from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. Then I needed to come off it, and I did. I realized that was trippy. Regular, not-being-high life was like being high. I needed to feel things, in a different way. Now I just do it when I feel it."

I Have a "Bone" to Pick with Lenny Kravitz

When I was music editor of High Times in the '90s, Kravitiz was one of the musicians we wanted to feature in the magazine. He'd had hits with "Let Love Rule" (No. 89, 1989) and "It Ain't Over 'til It's Over" (No, 2, 1991), His third and fourth albums - Are You Gonna Go My Way (1993) and Circus (1995) - both cracked the Top 20.

I'd been interviewing many musicians who wanted to talk about their experiences with marijuana as well as their advocacy. One was Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes. During our interview he specifically suggested reaching out to Kravitz.

I contacted his record label Virgin numerous times to no avail. Kravitz never talked to High Times.

He was saving these stories for his memoir. Now I get it, all these years later.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.