David Crosby was famous for a lot of things but my favourite thing about him was his openness. He sang songs of hurt and heartbreak and made mistakes, lots of them, and copt to them all. Crosby, who passed away at 81 on Thursday, talked openly about cannabis, consumed right up until the end, and did as much for the movement as Woodstock, where he performed, and Easy Rider, where he served as the basis for the iconic stoner played by Dennis Hopper.
David Crosby, who famously penned the anthem Almost Cut My Hair, which was so good that the old grump Neil Young decided to lend it his vocals, had this to say about pot: "Sober is sober. Smoking is smoking. I don't think there's a middle ground." In other words: he was California Sober before that was a thing. In fact, he's the father of the movement and now, as half our readership no doubt makes up their own minds about where cannabis comes in to Dry January (and even more fuss is being made by the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse and Addiction laying down new guidelines that two drinks-per-week are all that can be healthily consumed), it's a great time to look back on Crosby's legacy.
He suffered with alcohol, cocaine and heroine addictions. He never had a problem with weed.
"David Crosby was a genuine American original and an outspoken advocate for ending our nation's failed war on cannabis consumers,” Erik Altieri, executive director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told Forbes magazine, noting that Crosby joined the organization’s advisory board in 2018. At the time of the announcement, Crosby had this to say: “I’d like cannabis to be legal everywhere. I knew people who were in jail for years over a couple of joints, and it’s just not right. I feel a responsibility to stick up for people who have been jailed for it unfairly, and that is why I’m partnering with NORML to lend my name and talents to help end our multi-decade failure that is prohibition."
David Crosby made beautiful music as part of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and the Byrds, and he openly smoked weed onstage. He made mistakes and he always made a huge impression and, after producing an album for Joni Mitchell and fathering two kids for Melissa Etheridge, the rock 'n' folk icon continued to write music and tour.
The legend will be missed, for sure.