A little over a year ago, Seattle-based artist Whitney Mongé released “Carry On” an intimate window into the songwriter’s soul. Toeing the tightrope between objectivity and personal experience, the songs that make up this 6-song EP propelled the 32-year-old artist into an exponentially larger audience.
A stunning blues soundscape, her emotional vocals pierce through the mellow guitars and reverb-laden backings of the song. Those vocals carry words that are intended to be perceived, she exists as a role model for young musicians, especially POC and women. She also consumes cannabis.
Interested in learning more about Mongé’s relationship with cannabis ahead of her upcoming performance at the Summer Meltdown Festival, DOPE Magazine caught up with the Seattle-based singer-songwriter to discuss her origins, her relationship with cannabis and social justice within the industry.
Music and Mary Jane
Eleven years ago, Mongé began her professional music career on the cobblestones of Pike Place Market. Nineteen years ago, she tried her first joint.
These two separate events in her life ended up shaping her future.
“I was a medical patient before it was legal in Seattle. Just having access to quality marijuana, to help work through chronic pain and anxiety has always been a blessing,” she shares. “It’s always helped me slow down; I’m a very high-strung person. Certain strains of marijuana just give me a little bit of a calmer state. It helps me have a better state of mind as far as dealing with conflict, and as an adult, we deal with a lot of conflicts.”
However, she warned, cannabis should not be seen as a solution to one’s problems. Cannabis is just a plant that can help one deal with some of them.
“I use it as a way to relax a little bit. But at the same time, I also do think the sober mind is definitely the ultimate state of mind,” Mongé told DOPE Magazine. “I think altered states of mind are completely okay. Because I have used it as a crutch in the past, I’m trying to find a bit of a better relationship with it. I personally need to use it less as a vice and more like a medicine.”
Social Equity and Cannabis
Mongé’s enjoyment of cannabis led to an increased awareness of how the system is stacked against POC communities.
“I just started looking into this more because I was talking to my sister about how hard it is even to get a license. You know, the only people who have this money are predominantly rich, white people,” she said, commenting on the restrictive nature of the cannabis industry in Washington state.
“They’re making it really hard to even get in the game. So, not only did the system come into these communities and arrest people disproportionately, now they’re making all this money off of it. We’re not even allowed to have a piece of that to rebuild the community that they stole from us,” she voiced, adding that sizeable corporate cannabis has already begun to take hold in her neighborhood.
While Mongé’s outlook on the current cannabis industry is bleak, she still sees hope for it as a vehicle of equality.
“Now, I don’t think that those wrongs are being righted by the current industry,” Mongé said. “I wanted it to be more about complete decriminalization. We need to expunge people’s records. I am a person who had been arrested for marijuana. So, I think that the laws and the people supporting them need to keep pushing further for more and more equality within marijuana and righting the wrongs of what they’ve done to these communities.”
Dream Smoke Session
To wrap things up on a higher note, we asked the age-old question: Who would you smoke your dream joint with?
“Oh, I already know. I already know. I was like this. I like I’m manifesting this. I want to spend it with Dave Chappelle,” she said excitedly.
“He’s a comical genius. I would love to hang out with him and not be all star-struck; I wouldn’t be. It’d be like, this my homie, me and Dave would be friends.”
She added with a smile:
“I feel like if you say what you want out loud, you’re likely to get it.”
DOPE Magazine will attend this year’s Summer Meltdown Festival in Darrington, Wahsington – our third excursion to the fabulous outing—and we’re here to get our readership hyped about this incredible summer event. Mongé will be playing Friday, August 2nd on the Forest Stage. Get your tickets while you can. Let’s meltdown y’all!