“Puff the Magic Dragon” – A Codename for Marijuana?

Most of us have heard the song “Puff the Magic Dragon” by the group Peter, Paul and Mary. You have probably even been made to sing it as a child. Even though it was composed and first aired on the radio in the 1960s, the song is still considered to be an anthem of childhood, and millions of children all over the world still sing “Puff the Magic Dragon” in school.

But did you know that there are rumors of the song being a code for using marijuana? Over the years, many people have ripped apart the lyrics of the song and have convinced themselves that Peter, Paul and Mary were actually talking about using marijuana through the song.

The proofs given were pretty obvious:

• One of the protagonists of the song, Jackie Paper, is a reference to the rolling paper used in making marijuana joints.
• The land of Honah Lee described how the drug was run from one place to another.
• The phrase in the lyrics “boat with billowed sails” pertains to China, where marijuana, opium poppies and other plants from which drugs are extracted are grown.
• The title of the song itself, “Puff the Magic Dragon” actually reads as “puff the magic dragging,” a reference to the act of smoking a joint.

But despite these so-called proofs, many sources on the Internet say that reading “Puff the Magic Dragon” as a song about marijuana is a false way of looking at the song. Peter, Paul and Mary themselves have defended the song numerous times, stating that the song was about the loss of childhood innocence as one grows older and how life becomes harder as one grows up.

That, however, did not stop many drug users out there to use the song as their own personal code for smoking marijuana. The song has nonetheless become associated with marijuana has already become part of popular culture, no matter how innocent the lyrics really are.

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