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Joan Jett Don’t Give a Damn ‘Bout Her Bud Reputation

September 22, 2016

Who loves rock and roll? Joan Jett, the notorious bad girl with a bad reputation who has remained firmly in the spotlight for decades as a trailblazing rock star. The outspoken leader of The Runaways and, later, The Blackhearts, has never been shy about voicing her opinion on a variety of topics, including cannabis.

“Of course I smoke pot. It’s not a big deal.”

During an interview with High Times, the rocker was refreshingly no-nonsense about her cannabis consumption, declaring, “Of course I smoke pot. It’s not a big deal. I think you have to be responsible, like with anything.”

She talked about the medical benefits, explaining that she has used high-CBD-infused balms and lotions sent from High Times to treat her shoulder, which she underwent surgery for in 2015. “It’s definitely been found to work for various issues. I saw an interview yesterday with a woman whose son was hurt in some kind of accident – head injury. He’d have these pain explosions, and none of the drugs that the doctors could give him relieved it. But his mother gave him some pure cannabis oil, and that stopped his pain.” She lamented, “But now the mother’s possibly in trouble. This kind of stuff is ridiculous – ridiculous. And that’s just on the medical side of things.”

Jett burst onto the music scene as a teenager with her band The Runaways in the 1970’s. Although the group never quite hit commercial success in the United States, their music took off in Japan, particularly with the song “Cherry Bomb.”

It became clear in late 1978 that the musical styles within the group varied incongruously. Lita Ford and Sandy West were leaning hard rock and metal, while Jett preferred to shift towards punk and glam rock. The band officially parted ways in April of 1979.

Jett went on to found the Blackhearts record label after being rejected by 23 different labels. In doing so, she became one of the first successful female recording artists to found her own record label. With her band, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts cemented her reputation as the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, as well as the Godmother of Punk.

“Joan is running around spraying orange-smelling cleaner to mask the smell of ‘the pot’...”

Her outspoken attitude about everything from feminism to her recently adopted vegan lifestyle has inspired more than a few admirers. Miley Cyrus gushed about the singer at the Cleveland Public Hall for Jett’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cyrus is no stranger to cannabis herself, having put herself in the public eye by encouraging others to toke up at MTV’s Video Music Awards, even devoting a song to the ganja. Her induction speech for Jett was classic Miley, complete with shock value statements and rife with cannabis references, including a few tips from the Queen of Rock and Roll on how to properly disguise the scent of cannabis.

“I’m going to start off this induction with the first time I wanted to have sex with Joan Jett. We were doing Oprah together, and I go up to Joan’s hotel room. Joan opens the door and I come in, and [Jett’s manager] Kenny Laguna is lying in bed. I don’t know what the fuck is going on. There’s towels shoved underneath all the door cracks, shower caps on all the smoke detectors. Joan is running around spraying orange-smelling cleaner to mask the smell of ‘the pot’ — that’s what you guys call it — and we go into her bathroom.”

Cyrus went on to describe what a warm, inviting, and moving moment she shared with Jett.

“And we were in her bathroom, and we were smoking and just talking, and this was one of the moments in my life where I wanted to be as present and absorb everything that she said to me…I was getting to have this moment with someone that, to me, is Superwoman; what Superwoman really should be.”

During a Rolling Stone interview, Jett proved her reputation stands true. As she stood before the microphone at a recording studio in Manhattan, she had a “fat, torpedo-like joint hanging from her mouth.” Her manager and co-songwriter, Kenny Laguna, amusingly told journalist David Fricke that Joan always has “the best shit.”

It’s so good, in fact, that “Keith Richards had some of that,” Laguna laughed. “Said it took him back to 1968.”

Jett has even credited cannabis with loosening up her vocal chords and broadening the range of her distinctively gravelly voice. And while she’s embraced her “bad reputation,” the stigma surrounding cannabis is something she doesn’t endorse:

“I don’t understand why marijuana was made into this evil thing so long ago. Beyond whether or not you smoke joints, you can’t deny the medical benefits of legalizing.”

We couldn’t agree more, Ms. Jett.

Lisa Rough's Bio Image
Lisa Rough

Lisa is a former associate editor at Leafly, where she specialized in legislative cannabis policy and industry topics.

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