Let’s stipulate that Afroman, whose one hit “Because I Got High” became a college-crowd favorite and stoner anthem in 2001, was probably pro-legalization a long time ago. It took him 13 years to write this updated version of the song. Probably because he got high.
Now the recreational pot is legal in two states and on its way to becoming legal in several more, a graying Afroman has teamed up with the organizations Weedmaps, which helps people locate medical marijuana dispensaries, and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) to put out a new version of the song with more positive lyrics.
“They built a school or two/Because I got high,” Afroman sings in the new video. “Now the state can fund drug treatment/And I know why.” We’ve come a long way from the 2001 lyrics, “I was gonna go to class before I got high. I coulda cheated and I coulda passed but I got high.”
The advocacy version of the song has a bit of a mellower feel, and features lyrics that are a reflection of the legalization crowd’s attempts to turn around the image of marijuana and its users. Instead of emphasizing all the responsible and adult things he couldn’t do because he got high, Afroman cites medical uses, all the drugs he didn’t do because he was high, and the resulting tax revenue from marijuana sales. I’m not sure Afroman himself is the ideal messenger for this cultural makeover, but he’ll get clicks. And maybe the message is, “If Afroman can be responsible, anyone can.” Up next, Snoop Dogg visiting the H&R Block months before the filing deadline. Because he got high.