Rock legend Bob Dylan's latest achievement is a huge milestone for cannabis culture. Earlier today, the official Twitter account of the Nobel Prize announced that Dylan had been chosen as the 2016 Nobel Laureate in Literature.
The award makes Dylan the foremost cannabis icon among his fellow laureates. Dylan played an instrumental role in popularizing the 1960s counterculture and its values of opposing conformity, encouraging political activism and experimenting with mind-expanding substances like cannabis.
And his smoking circle is legendary. He's the man who introduced cannabis to The Beatles when he visited the Fab Four at their suite in a New York hotel on August 28, 1964. Ringo says he was first to dive in. But the others soon joined and the meeting had a lasting impression on all four. Shortly after the meeting, John Lennon penned the Dylan-esque folk tune Norwegian Wood - one of the group's first forays into psychedelic rock. Marijuana also influenced many other Beatles songs, so while Dylan is being honored today specifically for his contribution to American culture, his influence over the international music scene is undeniable.
Ironically, Dylan himself only wrote one song that refers to marijuana -- Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 from the Blonde on Blonde album (1966). And even then, Dylan himself has denied that it's a pot song. But fans have embraced the tune - and its chorus "Everybody must get stoned" - as an unofficial anthem of cannabis culture.
And with the nod from the Nobel committee, Dylan is helping to bring that culture closer to the mainstream. And seeing him honored for his musical contributions should make people think twice about the old stereotype of the lazy, underachieving stoner. As Dylan would say, the times they are a-changin'.
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