Who is that woman dressed as a weed plant in the subway? (Nellie McKay)

Nellie McKay talks on her new single ‘Weed (All I Want for Christmas)’

All indie chanteuse Nellie McKay wants for Christmas is weed, and a greater understanding of the war on drugs' victims

Indie chanteuse Nellie McKay is best known for her provocative and thoughtful pop compositions, but there’s no question as to what inspired her latest offering — a Christmas song with a green theme.

“I was sitting in the field with my dog, because she’s taken over my life, and I was thinking about escape, and what better escape is there than a puff of a pleasant dream haze?” McKay told The Cannabist on Thursday via telephone from New York.

“And the phrase just came into my head — ‘Weed, that’s all I want for Christmas.'”

McKay is one of modern pop music’s great thinkers, so of course there’s more to her new holiday release “Weed (All I Want for Christmas).” Some lyrics identify with cannabis’ escapism qualities: “You want the strife of humankind to finally cease?/Start getting sublime on the peaceful leaf.” Other lyrics are more politically motivated: “40 percent of present penitentiaries/Are on a pot-related charge/Or charges solely based on weed” and “Schedule one has got to go/Of the THC to cannabidiol.”

The song’s lovingly homemade music video (above) has McKay dressed up as a cannabis leaf criss-crossing through some of New York City’s most recognizable spots, including the Staten Island Ferry. During the video shoot many onlookers asked to take photos with the weed-y woman in green face-paint.

“Pretty much everybody gets happy, and they want to see it legalized or at least decriminalized. Why everybody isn’t for (presidential candidate) Bernie (Sanders) is beyond me. I don’t know why there’s this stubborn, standing-with-Clinton thing, because Bernie proposed ending the federal ban on marijuana.”

As the modern world becomes more and more 420-friendly, it’s important to remember the still-standing reminders of America’s failed war on drugs, said McKay — who added that her favorite THC treats are “the homemade peanut butter cookies” and “the little orange candies I saw in Colorado.”

“Pot is a pleasure principle,” McKay said. “You want people to feel good. But the flip side of it, while we’re in Colorado meditating on a cloud for a couple hours, is that there are all these people in prison – and so many them are there on marijuana-related arrests.”

Next page: Read the full lyrics for “Weed (All I Want for Christmas).”