‘Steam it’, don’t ‘puff it’ - Reggae artistes advise on how to celebrate ‘marijuana day’
If the wider population could go outside, this Monday would be the occasion for smokers around the world to light up and puff plumes of smoke to the sky.
Traditionally, April 20 (dubbed 4/20) is the day to celebrate the multifaceted marijuana plant as it simultaneously entertains and medicates its users.
But in the time of COVID-19, where large gatherings of all kinds are prohibited, there comes other advice on how people can protect themselves, like to quit smoking.
Can our Rastafarian reggae artistes, for whom cannabis is sacramental, manage that?
THE STAR reached out to advocates by proxy, Kabaka Pyramid and Chronixx, who offered their stance on the controversial substance.
"I'm definitely an advocate for the legalisation of the herb, especially for its healing properties. So I celebrate 4/20 in that sense," Kabaka told THE STAR.
Though he wouldn't find himself hunting for a ganja-laced house party under normal circumstances, the Can't Breathe singer prefers an altered approach to stemming the perceived bad habit.
"I think it's more important to encourage people to eat healthy foods for their immune system and use a variety of herbs, rather than discourage them from smoking ganja," he said.
According to the World Health Organization, smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as the act of smoking means that fingers and possibly contaminated cigarettes are in contact with lips, increasing the possibility of transmission of virus from hand to mouth.
Smokers may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity, which would greatly increase risk of serious illness.
Though Kabaka doesn't advise ending cannabis consumption, he offered an alternative.
"For ital ganja, I recommend steaming over smoking, if it's convenient," he said.
While cognisant that the advice is meant to promote public health, he believes that in addition to the alternative, other proven debilitating products should be targeted.
"Cigarettes and tobacco should definitely be cut out as they can affect the lungs negatively," Kabaka continued.
The Chronixx camp shared similar sentiments, while echoing that steaming is a better alternative to smoking.
Daddi Barnz, from the reggae star's label Soul Circle Music, offered, "We grow what we 'smoke emoji' and we steam what we grow."
All the same, Chronixx himself is using the unofficial marijuana holiday as a time to reflect.
His official 4/20 message reads: "Love to all humanity. Empower yourselves and remember to meditate and connect with your deepest memories and intuition. Say a special prayer for all our families who have been out on the front line, fighting to keep us alive. Remember that the most high loves you and you're being carried and protected by the Almighty."