Even several months after his death at the age of 79, Merle Haggard is still something of a trailblazer. His own strain of specially-developed weed, "Merle's Girls" is about to hit Colorado's booming legal marijuana market.
Haggard established a conservative fan base at the beginning of his career with lyrics such as these from his 1969 mega-hit, "Okie From Muskogee":
We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee
We don't take no trips on LSD;
We don't burn no draft cards down on Main Street
But, We love living right, and being free
By the time he was in his 70s, though, Haggard had become a complete convert to the Church of Cannabis. He grew the green for medicinal distribution on California farmland and was an avid user himself.
Daughter Jenessa Haggard-Bennett told Denver's Westword that her father was "out [performing] every two weeks. He was doing all that in his seventies," and was apparently convinced the ganja "could cure a whole bunch of things."
Westword went on to quote Haggard's words from a 2005 interview in which he explained where he was when writing "Okie From Muskogee."
"I had been brainwashed like most of America about what marijuana would and wouldn't do," Haggard told Men's Journal, "But if a guy doesn't learn anything in fifty years, there's something wrong with him..."
The star went on to indicate he'd learned much more about marijuana and "America has, too."
Haggard's "Merle's Girls" strain going to market in Colorado will soon be on shelves associated with Pueblo-based Colorado Weed Co. dispensaries. It will at first be sold for recreational use, but medicinal strains may soon be in development.
Aside from his music, the proud Okie could end up one day having a pretty ironic legacy on dispensary shelves up and down the west coast as well as the awesome idea that if you purchase his "Girls" you will truly be partying Merle Haggard style. That would be something to brag about.