Rock Legend and Cannabis Advocate Tom Petty Has Died

The music world is in mourning today as legendary rocker Tom Petty has died after suffering cardiac arrest last night at his Malibu home. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee (2002) was less than 3 weeks away from his 67th birthday.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers rose to fame in the 70s and enjoyed superstardom in the 80s with defiant singles like 'Breakdown,' 'Refugee' and 'I Won't Back Down.' And the band's frontman was equally outspoken about America's hypocritical cannabis laws.

"If you're gonna sell liquor, you have to sell pot," Petty told Rolling Stone back in 2013. "Liquor's worse for you. I don't think pot's addictive — I never felt like I had to have it, you know. Actually, no, I take that back [laughs]. But it is safer than alcohol."

And it was his recreational vice of choice for the last 50 years.

"I'm mostly just a reefer guy," Petty said in 2014 when Men's Journal asked about his drug use. "I've had a pipeline of marijuana since 1967...It's a musical drug."

That's probably why he featured marijuana in hits like 'You Don't Know How It Feels' (1994), where Petty sings,

But let me get to the point, let's roll another joint
And turn the radio loud, I'm too alone to be proud
You don't know how it feels
You don't know how it feels to be me.

He may have also alluded to marijuana a year earlier in the 1993 hit 'Mary Jane's Last Dance'.

So if cannabis is also your vice of choice, roll one for Tom tonight.


After making progress on marijuana reform, the legalization movement has stalled in two New England states. Cannabis became legal in Vermont last July, but state lawmakers did not put a regulated market for marijuana in place at that time. So while adults in Vermont can possess, grow and consume cannabis, they can't buy it legally.

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