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Oh, It’s Tuesday: Why I Don’t Smoke Pot [What a FELA!]

So don’t drop dead of shock or anything, but apparently legendary musician, Fela Kuti, was a huge fan of pot. Not only did he dedicate quite a few songs to the green herb, but it’s basically a full-on character in the bio-musical based on his life, FELA!. However, I don’t smoke pot. I can hear the audible gasps. As one friend once said to me back when I had locs, “That’s just unnatural.” And during my starving artist years, I did feel somewhat peer pressured into taking a few tokes in social situations. Starving artists often have trouble paying the rent, but for whatever reason, they never seem to have any problems with affording pot. And no matter how squalid the locale, it always seemed that a joint magically appeared at every single California party I went to back in my starving artist days.

But I don’t smoke. And my reasons for not doing so have nothing to do with morals. I’ll vote yes on legalizing weed in today’s election, and I’ll always consider “Pass the Dutchie” one of the best songs ever made. No the reason I eschew weed can be summed up in three words: it blunts talent.

When I see a great musician like Fela Kuti smoking weed, I always wonder, “Well, what could he have done without the weed?” Same goes for Snoop Dogg and pretty much any other artist that represents for smoking. But mostly, the reason I don’t truck with weed is that in my seven years in California, I’ve seen too many people of great talent not finish or pursue projects because they’re smoking. Really if you ever want to give yourself a competitive edge in the art game, other than working harder than everybody else, giving up anything that blunts your talent is a good way to go. When I was writing American Top 40, I often noticed that the people that consistently made it to the top of the charts lived comparatively spartan lifestyles: no drugs, little to no alcohol, and no hard partying — and the acts that were known for doing those things rarely made it pass the 20s.

That’s why you often see interviews with successful people who have overcome substance abuse. Pot blunts talent. So this is not a chastisement, just something to take under consideration. If you’re a struggling artist, consider what your imbibing or doing that could be diluting your talent — and stop.

featured image credit: El Tekolote