Louis Armstrong, a musician well known for his beautiful contributions to the Jazz world with pieces like “What a Wonderful World”, “La Vie En Rose”, “When You Wish Upon A Star” and many many more was, like many of us in the cannabis community, a regular user. Could cannabis be held accountable for all of his awesome contributions? I’m gonna go with doubtful, although I must say smoking a good sativa will open up some creative areas of my mind. Armstrong was known by many to indulge in a little reefer before performances and recording sessions referring to it as “Gage”, a popular slang word in the 1920’s.
With that, I think it’s safe to say that cannabis must have played, at the very least, a minuscule role in the creation of his songs. He did, after all, name one of his pieces after cannabis calling it “Muggles” another popular term for cannabis in the 1920’s, which JK Rowling also used in the creation of Harry Potter… coincidence?
So what other role did Louis Armstrong play in the world of cannabis? Well, he was the first ever celebrity to be arrested for using cannabis. His arrest took place outside of the LA Cotton Club in November 1930, while smoking after a gig. He was sentenced for 6 months with an additional fine of $1,000. Luckily, his connections in the music industry helped get him out. Louis Armstrong like, so many of us, saw cannabis as a form of medicine according to his biography My Life As A Viper saying, “We always looked at pot as a sort of medicine, a cheap drunk and with much better thoughts than one that's full of liquor.” So what does that say about cannabis users? Well for one, let’s get rid of this recurring stigma of cannabis users being like Seth Rogan and James Franco in Pineapple Express. That is no longer what defines us. We’re creative rebels who don’t want prescription drugs that are going to "fix" one thing and ruin another important organ of our body. We medicate responsibly because it’s therapeutic and best of all, it's natural. Anyone who medicates can, just like Louis Armstrong, be remembered in the hall of fame for amazing contributions to the music industry.
Louis Armstrong, the First Celebrity to Be Arrested for Smoking Cannabis
Satchmo: My Life As A Viper