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)’

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).”