The Relationship Between Reggae & Marijuana

The Relationship Between Reggae & Marijuana

There’s no denying the close link between reggae music and marijuana.

These two peas in a pod are about as tightly knit together as the finest sweater money can buy, as obvious to anyone – reggae fan or not – as the clear blue sky.

Bob Marley and crew certainly did their fair share to build the relationship between the music and the cannabis culture, as has most every reggae act since then. You can’t show up to a reggae concert, reggae club, or reggae show without that familiar smell in the air and being offered a toke by complete and total strangers every few minutes.


Unbelievably though, in the land that created reggae music – Jamaica – it is still illegal to purchase and to consume marijuana. Sure, there has been some pro-cannabis legislation passed in the last few years, but the reggae musicians themselves are still actively fighting the good fight to have this plant decriminalized so that Jamaica especially can capitalize on the kind of marijuana culture that reggae music as so helped to inspire.

Understanding the link between reggae music and marijuana

Reggae music grew out of the roots of the Rastafarian way of life, and there’s absolutely no arguing that. It is deeply rooted in the very core tenants of this way of life, and is considered a sacred herb and critically important to those that practice is religion, this culture, and this tenant of life.

In the early 1960s, when reggae exploded in popularity, reggae musicians like Bob Marley are responsible for bringing the marijuana culture to the rest of the world – but especially the United States.

Marijuana had always been enjoyed in the US (the Native Americans used to grow and consume a considerable amount of long before Christopher Columbus ever stumbled upon our shores), but never in mass quantities quite the way that the reggae culture and hippie counterculture really helped to establish.

Popular reggae musicians coming from Jamaica to the United States helped to push the popularity of marijuana through the roof, deeply linking the herb between the music and the culture itself. Songs were sung about it, musicians were seen consuming it, and it became very much a part of the reggae world.

It’s remained that way ever since.

Today’s relationship between reggae, Jamaica, the United States, and marijuana

As mentioned above, even though the Jamaican reggae community (the birthplace of this music and this culture) has always been very much pro-cannabis over the last 60 years or so, it is still illegal all throughout Jamaica.

There are some exceptions, and the cultures differently shifting towards a decriminalization. At the very least, the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officials and judges tend to ignore those that grow, sell, and consume marijuana – so long as they are doing so responsibly and aren’t active in any other criminal enterprises.

This is why it’s estimated that more than 37,000 acres of prime real estate on the island of Jamaica are dedicated to growing cannabis, making it the number one Caribbean supplier of marijuana throughout the Caribbean and in the United States.

In California, things aren’t all that much better.

Sure, there’s been some decriminalization and is now possible to purchase marijuana legally from dispensaries after getting a prescription from a medical professional, but we are all still quite a long ways away from being able to actually openly purchase marijuana recreationally without having to deal with any legal issues. According to DUI Attorneys San Diego, there is also an increased focus on Marijuana DUI’s, which are currently being prosecuted under questionable science. So even if marijuana is legalized, do not expect tit to get any easier for habitual marijuana smokers, since the current levels of marijuana required for intoxication is potentially so low that a habitual user will always be over the limit, long after impairment has worn off. As much as things change, it seems they stay the same.


A number of US states are hoping to change this, with more and more jumping on board with the decriminalization of marijuana at least as far as recreational use is concerned. Hopefully Jamaica will take action as well, following the lead of the United States, and maybe creating a domino effect that eventually gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy cannabis as they see fit without fear of legal repercussions.

At the end of the day, it’s unlikely that the reggae culture is ever going to abandon marijuana, and it’s unlikely that these two are ever going to be separated. Ganja is always going to be celebrated by Rastafarians kind as long as they continue to produce the world’s best reggae music – as well as continue to embody the very soul of this in general – things aren’t likely to shift anytime soon.

A look at the Reggae Music Scene in San Diego, California

A look at the Reggae Music Scene in San Diego, California

It should come as no surprise to anyone that has spent even just a little bit of time in Southern California (and in San Diego in particular) that the reggae music scene would be so overwhelmingly popular here.

After all, this is the land of the endless summer, the most laid-back and relaxed major metropolitan area in the United States, and absolutely filled to the brim with young people that are just looking to have a good time!

Bob Marley himself would have loved nothing more than to jam out in some of these clubs and bars in front of packed crowds of people, taking in all that San Diego has to offer.


So if you are planning on spending any amount of time in San Diego and want to check out the reggae scene for yourself, you’re going to want to take a closer peek at this quick guide we have for you below.

We’ll give you the straight dope on some of the best bands, some of the best clubs, and some of the best “hidden gems” of the reggae scene in San Diego, and we’ll definitely be able to point you in the right direction!

Shall we jump right in?

If you want reggae EVERYWHERE you are in San Diego, throw on 94.9 BOB Radio

Though there is certainly something to be said about checking out the reggae scene in person, spending all night in a club listening to the smooth and soulful sounds of some island guys and gals just getting after it, if you’re looking for a little bit of reggae all day long on demand you’ll want to make sure that you are tuned into the area’s largest reggae station.

FM 94.9 BOB Radio is where you’re going to want to make sure that your radio dial is stuck if you’re looking to make sure that you don’t miss a moment of reggae music while you’re in San Diego. They’ll also be able to point you in the right direction as far as reggae clubs and local reggae bands are concerned, so make sure that you’re tuned in.

A handful of reggae bands you can’t miss in San Diego

Subliminal Trip

Maybe the most famous of all the San Diego native reggae bands in the area, Subliminal Trip plays their own original music and a handful of pretty killer covers from time to time.

All of their shows are packed houses, and they have one of the most dedicated traveling followings of reggae bands you’re going to come across in the area. There is a reason why – they burn the house down every single night!

Dano’s Island Sounds

You’re looking for authentic steel drums played by absolute masters, you’re going to want to check out this San Diego reggae band. Mostly playing in front of catered events (weddings, corporate events, retreats, etc.), they are a much more subdued kind of reggae band as opposed to some of the more hard-hitting “modern reggae” acts out there today.

Even still, these guys know how to bring it.

The Carbon Copy Band

As far as real “experience” reggae bands are concerned, you really don’t get any better than the bunch behind The Carbon Copy Band.

Known as the premier cover band in all of Southern California, this band is able to knock out just about every musical genre imaginable, but they especially dominate the reggae. If you’re looking for guys that sound like they could have grown up in the Marley household, this is the band do you’re going to want to check out.

These are clubs you can’t miss out on

There are a handful of reggae clubs in San Diego that are going to be able to offer you that down-home island throwback kind of feel, the kind of reggae clubs that you simply aren’t going to be able to find anywhere else outside of the actual islands.

You’re looking to spend the night jamming to some soulful sounds, or are looking for something a little bit more lively to bring a date, here are five of the hottest spots in all of San Diego for reggae music:


* The Red C Lounge (756 5th Ave. in San Diego, California)

* Bar Dynamite (1808 West Washington St. in San Diego, California)

* The Office Bar (3936 30th St. in San Diego, California)

* U31 (3112 University Ave. in North Park, San DIego)

* The Morena Club (1319 Morena Blvd. in San Diego, California)

You can’t go wrong with any of them!