I promise I’m not high as I write this. Sleep deprived, maybe. But not tokin’.
If the late Merle Haggard were here, he may be trying to sell me some of his own pot, saying it would clear my head and help me get words on the page.
Maybe for the next article.
Haggard and Willie Nelson would both be trying to sell me some marijuana, seeing that they both have their own cannabis lines.
They sure weren’t worried about what people thought of their smoking habits. Willie unveiled his new marijuana brand, Willie’s Reserve, in early 2016, and Haggard will now have his own marijuana line as well.
Before he passed, Haggard joined forces with the Colorado Weed Company to create a high-level grade of cannabis strain. His daughter, Jenessa Haggard-Bennet, and son-in-law, Brian Bennett, are pushing the release of this line, which is apparently being called “Merle’s Girls.”
Haggard-Bennet got a first-hand look at her father’s view on the green plant.
“He was out [performing] every two weeks,” she told Westword. “He was doing all that in his seventies…. He believed [marijuana] could cure a whole bunch of things.”
“A good friend of his who was a doctor recommended it because he was touring a lot and wasn’t able to sleep,” she continued. “And so he recommended smoking to help relax him.”
Michael Smith, Haggard’s business partner at Colorado Weed Co., also knows about Merle’s love for the magic Mary J.
“The sativas kept him going, kept him creative, kept him getting out there and being able to play,” he told Westword. “He did contribute a lot of his success on the road to sativas.”
Even though Haggard sang, “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee” in Okie From Muskogee,” I don’t think anyone was fooled. He’s been smoking for over 20 years, according to his daughter.
“Sometimes I wish I hadn’t written ‘Okie,’” he told Ornery magazine in 1990. “I was indelibly stamped with this political image — this political musical spokesman or whatever. I had to play that song every night for eighteen years.”
“At the time I wrote ‘Okie From Muskogee,’ I didn’t smoke,” Haggard told Men’s Journal in 2005. “I had been brainwashed like most of America about what marijuana would and wouldn’t do. But if a guy doesn’t learn anything in fifty years, there’s something wrong with him. I’ve learned a lot about it, and America has, too.”
So, over a decade later, his cannabis line is set to release in Colorado (obviously), Washington, and Oregon. The first batch of Merle’s Girls will include four sativa-based hybrids. Specific strains will have names that reference Haggard’s music.
Regardless of California’s vote in November, the Haggard team will release the line in the state.
“That’s going to have a lot to do with California’s vote,” Smith said. “Definitely [medical] will be in California, even if they don’t pass it recreationally.”