Although the social and political atmosphere of California makes it feel like it's legal to smoke weed recreationally, it actually isn't, which leaves marginalized populations vulnerable to discriminatory enforcement. This Election Day (Nov. 8), recreational marijuana use is on the ballot for California, Massachusetts, Maine, Arizona, and Nevada, and voting “yes” is crucial to curbing underground weed economies and prejudicial policing of the legal marijuana industry.
That’s why celebrities like Jay Z, Pusha T, Jesse Williams, and more have spoken up to encourage California residents to vote yes to Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA). In a new PSA debuted on Complex, Ty Dolla Sign encourages young voters to get to the polls and make their voices heard.
“Let’s not put people in jail for long periods of time for petty crimes,” the rapper says before hitting a blunt. “And let’s pay for kids’ education—not jail time.” Complex chatted with Ty Dolla Sign about prop 64, this dumpster fire of an election, his relationship with weed, and its impact on his life.
You once said that this election is a choice between "crazy-ass Trump and lying-ass Hillary." A lot of young voters and Complex readers feel that way—how did you come to your decision of who to vote for?
I just saw who was more of an idiot, and I knew not to vote for that person, so I decided to just vote for the other person.
You know, I wish Bernie was still going, but fuck it, we’re going for Hillary. And that’s what we’re all doing. So we all need to stand together as a squad or that other guy might win. I’ve been traveling a lot ... and most of the little cities, when you go past their houses, they have Trump in the front.
And it’s only in the inner cities … like LA, Atlanta, San Francisco, we’ll see people fucking with Hillary. It’s crazy, but that’s why I think we should definitely go vote.
Why is weed legalization specifically an issue that is close to your heart?
Because I feel like weed is one of those things that will bring us all together, and be all positive vibes. And it shouldn’t be how when you come to LA, that’s the only place you can find great weed. I want to be able to go to New York, fucking Florida, fucking Tennessee—anywhere, and get the same shit that I like because it is medical, right? And it shouldn’t be a thing if I have to take shit on the plane and risk getting fucked up or any of that, you know?
Beyond prop 64, what does weed use look like in your ideal world?
Well people should definitely be able to grow it on their own, because we should all be able to put apples on your fucking lawn.
I don't feel like weed is for everybody, though. I feel like certain people can’t handle it. Some people get queasy off it or turn to other drugs or whatever. But a person like me, who has fucking ADD and so many thoughts going on [and] so many things to deal with, I love weed and I need weed. It should be available everywhere.
What have your personal interactions with police been like when it comes to weed?
When it comes to weed, I’ve gotten lucky. I’ve always gotten, “Put it out,” or fucking throw it on the ground and they step on it. One time I actually went to jail because of not having a license and having weed, and the weed didn’t even end up in court! They probably smoked it.
I’ve been lucky every time, but I feel like everybody should be lucky every time.
U already know what my opinion on prop 64 is— Ty Dolla $ign (@tydollasign) October 20, 2016
What are your personal favorite strains of weed?
OG Kush, OG Louis XIII, Louis the XIII Kush, fucking um, anything that comes from my dealer. There are so many, mainly just Kush’s … I can’t leave out the KK, one of my all time favorites. Wiz Khalifa’s “Khalifa Kush.”
What do you feel like has been the impact, positive or negative, of weed in your life?
For me it’s cool ... I like the way its tastes and the way I feel.I just zone out and make songs. So it works out for my life, that’s why I say it doesn’t work for everybody. From high school, they be smoking and playing video games and look 10 years later they’re doing the same fucking thing, that’s why I say it’s not for everybody.
If you can work and do what you're supposed to do and still be able to smoke weed, then cool, keep going. But if it holds you back, why the fuck would you do that?
I will say this, my favorite project I’ve ever done, Beach House, that's like when I took off, or whatever, I wasn’t smoking weed at the time. I had went to the dentist, and they took out my wisdom teeth, so I couldn’t smoke for two weeks, but I just took it to like a month and a half, and that was the time I was recording Beach House. The songs were flowing like never before, and I feel like that might’ve been my best track yet, with not smoking weed.
So, you can look at it either way, you know? "Paranoid" was weed, and all my platinum hits are all off weed, but you know, but some of my favorite shit is with no weed. I hate when people say, “It makes me make better songs”—no it doesn’t, you just like smoking dawg.
Everyone says fuck Donald trump but won't say vote for Hillary— Ty Dolla $ign (@tydollasign) July 6, 2016
If you could tell young voters one thing going into election day, what would it be?
If you’re undecided, just watch over the debates again … It shouldn’t be a hard decision. I know which one I don’t want it to be, and hopefully we are all on the same page. But like I tell you, we need people to stand with us, so let’s get it. Get your ass up, go vote.
Join Ty Dolla Sign and Hip Hop Caucus by pledging to vote this election.