In an interview in Variety to promote her new album, Barbra Streisand says she was never a pot smoker.
“I tried it once and I didn’t like the way it made me feel,” the singer shrugged. “So I never did it again.”
Streisand embellished with this story: “One night I really did it onstage when I was doing the Forum concert in the '70s, it was part of my shtick. I talked about pot and I was working with [producer] Richard Perry, so that’s why.”
Barbra Streisand on pot in 1972: "It relieved all my tensions. And I ended up with the greatest supply of grass ever."
Seth Rogen, who co-starred with Streisand in The Guilt Trip in 2012 (watch the trailer below), noted then: “She wouldn’t smoke weed with me. I tried, but she wouldn’t do it. I don’t think she would’ve functioned well on it, honestly. She’s kind of an over-functioner as it is.”
But in 1971, Streisand had a completely different view of pot, according to an interview in Rolling Stone:
"Since I get nervous in places like Vegas, it occurred to me to do this funny little routine - actually telling the audience about my hangup. The point was, you shouldn't rely on emotional crutches. It was almost a sermon - no crutches, people; crutches are a no-no. Then at the end, I'd take out a joint and light it. First, just faking it. Then I started lighting live joints, passing them around to the band. It was great - it relieved all my tensions. And I ended up with the greatest supply of grass ever. Other acts up and down the Strip heard about what I was doing - Little Anthony and the Imperials, people like that - and started sending me the best dope in the world. I never ran out."
Update: In her 2023 memoir, My Name Is Barbra, the native New Yorker recalls losing her virginity to a man after smoking a joint, also a first for Barbra:
"I took a puff and went weak in the knees. I thought it was him. Turns out it was marijuana, which I had rarely smoked before (and rarely after)."
Streisand’s album Release Me 2 features a duet with Willie Nelson on “I Want It to Be With You” (watch below). At the end of the video, she coyly asks, "Can I ride on your bus sometime, Willie?" Nelson replies: "C'mon, Barb, let's get on this bus."
Asked by Variety, “I was imagining Willie Nelson pulling out a joint and he starts smoking. I imagine you wouldn’t like that," Streisand fired back, “Why not?”
So then, what are we to believe and why would Streisand suppress the real story about her cannabis use when she was churning out hits like “Stoney End” (watch below) in the ‘70s?