If you’ve ever tried to light up a blunt at a hardcore show, you probably know how serious the straight-edge community is about substance use - or their lack thereof. But just because they’re sober doesn’t mean the teetotalers are fans of prohibition, just ask Henry Rollins. The original Black Flag frontman has been making the rounds speaking at cannabis-themed events, and recently gave a speech at the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, where the aging rockstar reaffirmed his dedication to the fight for nationwide legalization.
"Its illegality is based in ignorance and bigotry and racism and financing the prison-industrial complex," Rollins told conference attendees. "We are overturning decades of prejudice, racism and misinformation. … You are a steward of civil rights."
Despite his cannabis abstinence, Rollins’ has dedicated himself to the legalization effort because of what he calls the “scam” of prohibition. Rollins says that he’s only tried weed once when he was younger and got a “contact high” on a recent trip to Colorado, but his vocal legalization stance has nothing to do with the benefits of cannabis consumption.
“Marijuana gets brown and black and poor people thrown in jail, and when those people are in prison, someone makes a lot of money off of everything from toilet flushes to every meal.” Rollins told Rolling Stone the day before he spoke at the Oregon conference. “And that's all from the taxpayer. And you can stuff prisons with nonviolent criminals.”
But while lots of big names are getting into the newly legal cannabis industry, Rollins has no plans to profit off of pot.
“It's not like I'm looking to make money.” Rollins said. “It's an issue that gets me going because it pertains to so many other issues in this country.”
Still, the punk rocker is happy to take paid speaking gigs at industry events and let the leaders of the burgeoning cannabis market know his opinions on the subject. Legalizing weed is one thing, but as for alcohol and drugs other than marijuana? The straight-edge spokesman is still very much opposed.
“I can't stand alcohol and I can't stand drugs.” Rollins said. “I just run away.”