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Tom Petty Sang About Mary Jane, But Was He a Cannabis Advocate?

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Tom Petty was the perfect mix of homegrown Americana and rebelliousness. Adored by fans across all social and political demographics, Petty left quite a legacy and will surely be missed. Just shy of 67, the rock star suffered a cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu and passed away a few hours later.

Like many other musicians, Petty was no stranger to cannabis. In fact, not only did he partake in smoking the plant, but he was an advocate for it, as well.

“I’m mostly just a reefer guy. It’s a musical drug,” Petty told Men’s Journal in 2014. “I’ve had a pipeline of marijuana since 1967.”

And while he may have gone back and forth over how much he needed that pot pipeline over the years, he told Rolling Stone in 2013 that it should be treated like alcohol. “Liquor’s worse for you. I don’t think pot’s addictive,” Petty said. “I never felt like I had to have it, you know. Actually, no, I take that back {laughs}. But it is safer than alcohol.”

Petty didn’t just like smoking pot, he also sang about it — we think. The popular anthem “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” (perhaps better remembered as “Last Dance with Mary Jane”) debuted on his Greatest Hits album in 1991. It’s not totally clear whether “Mary Jane” refers to a person or to cannabis, but Petty surely knew it could have a double meaning and could be interpreted as a weed reference.

“In the verse there is still the thing about an Indiana girl on an Indiana night, just when it gets to the chorus he had the presence of mind to give it a deeper meaning,” said Heartbreaker guitarist Mike Campbell when asked if the song was about weed. “My take on it is it can be whatever you want it to be, but it could also just be a goodbye love song.”

While we’ll never know for sure who or what Mary Jane refers to, the song will forever be Petty’s legacy left to the cannabis community.

Tom Petty Sang About Mary Jane, But Was He a Cannabis Advocate?