Sadly, weed can’t make you live forever, no matter what you heard down at the dispensary. Pot definitely makes life better, and it makes a lot of people healthier, but it won’t keep the Grim Reaper at bay forever – as far as we know, anyway.
Still, many tokers look to weed as a preparation for the hereafter, including Rastafarians, who use pot to commune with the divine. What we can’t experience before death we imagine while high.
In that spirit, here are the five stoners you meet in heaven.
1. William Shakespeare
The Bard did more to shape modern English than anyone else. Also, you know he’d be a blast to toke with in heaven. The man would have stories.
What’s more, Shakespeare is a known pothead. He even did a little blow back in the day. Archaeologists recently found two broken pipes buried in his old garden. The paraphernalia dates to his lifetime and contains residue of marijuana and cocaine.
Wouldn’t you love to hear about the great author’s incredible life from the man himself? Learn the real meaning behind the world’s greatest literature? Or maybe you could just spark up and watch SpongeBob reruns or something.
2. Queen Victoria
England’s longest-reigning monarch (so far) was dowdiness personified. So was the Victorian Era she spawned, a time of cultural subversion and excessive petticoats in English-speaking parts of the world.
But Queen Victoria was also a pothead, and apparently a big one. She took weed to treat her severe menstrual cramps, making her the most powerful medical marijuana patient in the history of the world.
No doubt Vicky could dish about that early English cannabis. It probably wasn’t very strong, though it was clearly strong enough to make many people happy. Victoria could keep you entertained for eternity with her gossip about the 19th century stoner scene. Plus, she can probably get you an excellent hook-up up there.
3. Jerry Garcia
Fun story: Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead were instrumental in spreading the term “420” among hippie stoners years before it became official code for weed.
The term was coined when four high school students outside San Francisco spent their afternoons searching for an abandoned pot field in the San Rafael National Forest. The designated time for heading into the woods was 4:20 p.m.
Locals started using the reference, and it soon passed from one of the boys to the Grateful Dead, which frequently performed in the Bay Area. From there, “420” spread across the country.
Just think of all the wisdom you could gain from Garcia and the rest of the band in heaven. And they could probably score you the best acid this side of God.
4. Jesus Christ
OK, this will probably get us in trouble, but bear with us.
Surely if there were a Jesus Christ and he were the son of God and God were in heaven, then Jesus would be there, too. And it’s not like heaven will be too crowded to meet the big guy.
More important, Jesus can help you understand why you had to put up with so much shit in life just to suck down a joint every now and then. And he does miracles! Watch him turn wine into wax or walk on bong water.
Granted, there’s no evidence of any kind anywhere in the world that Christ ever smoked up. But hey, weed was used in the Middle East a long time before he showed up. If you had to deal with a dad like his, wouldn’t you sneak out back and light up too?
5. Napoleon Bonaparte
Did Napoleon Bonaparte smoke weed? We can’t really know for sure, but he definitely came into contact with the drug.
Hashish was widely used in North Africa at this time. Napoleon’s troops came across hashish – a concentrated form of cannabis – during a campaign in Egypt.
The soldiers brought some of the hash back to France with them. From there, it quietly spread across Europe. Hashish is still the preferred from of marijuana in much of the continent.
6. Bob Marley
Weed was more than a recreational drug for the reggae artist – much more. For Bob Marley and his fellow Rastafaris, pot was a religious tool, a door to the divine.
The drug is also a central part of Marley’s music and the culture that created it. Jamaica, his home, has long tolerated marijuana use, and the island is famous for its locally cultivated weed.
Marley died of a rare cancer in 1981 at the age of 36. But his music went on to define reggae. Since his death, he has become one of the best-selling musicians of all time.
7. Ramses II
Ancient Egyptians used marijuana for centuries, but not much evidence remains to prove this. Thankfully, we have Ramses II.
Ramses was one of the longest-reigning pharaohs in history, taking the throne in his teens and dying in 1213 B.C.E. over the age of 90. A fair amount is known about his life, but it wasn’t until modern times that cannabis pollen was discovered on his mummy.
Just imagine what you could learn about weed and the ancient world from this stoner bad boy. And you’d have firsthand proof that mankind has been using marijuana for thousands of years.
8. Jack Herer
Jack Herer was never well-known outside stoner circles. That may be changing, if slowly.
Herer was one of the most influential activists in the history of the marijuana reform movement. He spent most of his adult life pushing for legalization, and he was a central player on the cannabis scene for decades.
He died in 2010, but his memory lives on. A top-shelf strain of sativa is named after him, and it has undoubtedly reached most corners of the United States by now. Many tokers know little about his life, but his name has become a part of cannabis lore.
9. George Washington
As with Jefferson, there’s no proof our first president smoked up, ever. But George Washington did grow hemp at Mount Vernon. It was a cash crop at the time and was widely used for its industrial qualities.
If colonial Americans smoked it, there’s no evidence. A few false quotes are widely attributed to Washington within the stoner community, but he never said any of it.
Still, Washington grew weed at a time when it was central to the American economy. The hemp plant has a long history, both as a drug and as a source of paper, rope, fabric, and other goods.
10. Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong picked up the pot habit in the 1920s, early in his unparalleled career. He never stopped. He was busted once, in the early 1930s, and convicted of possession. But he got a suspended sentence, and the experience changed nothing about his marijuana use.
Armstrong wrote extensively about his use of cannabis, as he did most aspects of his life. “It really puzzles me to see marijuana connected with narcotics,” he said. “It’s a thousand times better than whiskey. It’s an assistant, a friend.”