When David Crosby Smoked Out The Beatles

The Mighty Croz with canna-stogie

David Crosby has been smoking marijuana for 60 years. “It hasn’t killed or derailed me,” he says. “I’ve done all the other drugs and they were very bad to me.”

The legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Famer has had a number of health issues over the years, including heart disease that required several stents, and a kidney transplant, but he claims cannabis – these days he prefers vaping flower in his Pax 3 – has been “a good part of my life.”

That includes once smoking out The Beatles with a potent strain of African weed. He was in England hanging out with the Fab Four, who were rolling up hash with tobacco. “They gave me one of those and I said, 'Not in your life. I ain't smoking no damn tobacco. You're crazy. Now try this!' the Croz explains. “I gave them that and they had to sit down. That was quite funny. They never had weed like that. It upped my stock with them quite a bit.”

RELATED: Let's 'ave a Larf: The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Marijuana

On November 2, we were invited to join the “Under the Canopy” Zoom program, hosted by Canopy Growth’s VP of Government Affairs David Culver, featuring Crosby, whose canna-brand The Mighty Croz is readying to launch in the U.S. Canopy has partnered with celebrities on several brands (Leafs by Snoop, Seth Rogen’s Houseplant and Martha Stewart CBD).

“Until we can make a deal for the whole country, it’s all just building the brand,” Crosby said in a follow-up interview with CelebStoner. “The banks are pissed. All that money is going to Canada and companies like Canopy. Legalization is inevitable, but I wish it was for the right reasons.”

Confident of national legalization once Joe Biden takes office, Crosby believes cash-strapped states need the money derived from taxes and regulation fees for health, education and welfare. “All those states starving for money are watching Colorado and Oregon, where they can build schools, roads or hospitals,” he continued. “They can write a check that won’t bounce. There is now a new source for state-controlled tax money.”

David Crosby on pot: "When I’m really stoned I have trouble remembering your name, but it hasn’t had any physical harm as far as we can tell.”

In the rush for cannabis’ economic benefits, Crosby thinks the criminal justice issue is being ignored. The NORML advisory board member wants “to see every person in jail for marijuana out now. Jail is no fun, believe me. I did a year in a Texas state penitentiary so I know. If you think being in a cell is bad, wait until you try the food.”

Crosby also cited the overload on the police, judiciary and prison system as reasons to make marijuana legal and free those who've been sentenced under previously draconian laws.

“The police need to be concentrating on crimes with victims, like rape, arson, robbery and murder,” said the former member of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. “Not hassle somebody over a joint.”

Asked about his own influence on pot culture, Crosby pointed to the Byrds’ 1966 classic “Eight Miles High” (watch below), which hit the airwaves not long after Bob Dylan’s “Everybody must get stoned” anthem, “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.” Crosby wrote "Eight Mile High" with Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark.

“Those were two of the first to get labeled ‘drug songs,’” he noted. “I’ve written other songs with that kind of attitude, like ‘Almost Cut My Hair,’ which I’m told influenced people as to how they lived their lives and made certain choices. At least I hope it did.”

These days, Crosby is pretty much stuck at home sitting out the pandemic, which has put a severe crimp in touring with his two current bands, Sky Trails with James Raymond, the son he discovered only late in life, and Lighthouse, the outfit with Snarky Puppy’s Michael League and singers Becca Stevens and Michele Willis.

“It’s a really tough time for singer-songwriters,” he said about life during Covid-19. “Streaming took away our money from records. They don’t pay us for beans, so we all depended on live concerts to pay the rent. Now we can’t even do that. And there’s no help for us. Nobody is trying to help us for squat. But it’s worse for those younger musicians trying to make a living. They’re sleeping on their mothers’ couches because they can’t pay the rent.”

A Cali pot farmer, Crosby commented, “The fortunate part is, we can still grow it in our backyards.” Thunderfuck, a Canadian sativa he cultivated this summer, “was so strong I decided the Mounties were coming to get me and I had to call my tour manager to get me another room. I wanted to hide under the piano and suck my thumb.”

At 79, the Croz concluded: “We’ve been watching the effects of smoking marijuana on me for almost 60 years now. So far it hasn’t done anything we can tell. My memory has never been really great, and when I’m really stoned I have trouble remembering your name, but it hasn’t had any physical harm as far as we can tell.”


David Crosby Bio

Born in Los Angeles in 1941, Crosby got his start in music folk singing with Terry Callier. Through Callier, he met McGuinn. Crosby, McGuinn and several others formed the Byrds in 1964, which started the country-rock movement. They had No. 1 hits with “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn, Turn, Turn” in 1965. Crosby left the band in 1968 and by the next year he was in Crosby, Stills & Nash, which evolved into Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, whose 1970 album Déjà Vu peaked at No. 1. After his debut solo album If I Could Only Remember My Name in 1971, Crosby released six more from 1989 to 2018. In 2019, he was the subject of A.J. Eaton’s documentary, David Crosby: Remember My Name.

Crosby was convicted of cocaine and heroin possession in 1985 and spent nine months in a Texas penitentiary.

In 2004, Crosby left a suitcase behind at a hotel where he was staying at in New York. A hotel employee opened up the bag and found an ounce of pot, a loaded pistol and two knives. When Crosby returned for the bag he was arrested. He pled guilty to the gun charge and paid a $5,000 fine. The marijuana charge was dismissed.


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Roy Trakin

Roy Trakin

Veteran music journalist who writes for Variety, Pollstar and CelebStoner