Celebs Who Support Marijuana - Marijuana Week

ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS Molly Freeman

By Molly Freeman

In 2009, Michael Phelps faced a wave of backlash after photos surfaced of the Olympic swimmer smoking marijuana. Phelps lost a sponsorship deal with Kellogg, the food company, and was suspended for three months from U.S.A. Swimming.

More recently, the pop star Justin Bieber was caught on camera smoking weed in January. Though the singer did apologize publicly when he hosted Saturday Night Live in February, the only real backlash was from fans and the media. (The pictures of Bieber smoking spawned the Cutting For Bieber hoax that led to a different discussion.)

Before Justin Bieber, singers Lady Gaga and Rihanna also made headlines for their use of marijuana—and flaunted it last Halloween with Mary Jane-themed costumes. In early 2012, Rihanna was photographed smoking weed in Hawaii and tweeted pictures of marijuana to her followers. Then in September 2012, Lady Gaga smoked a joint live on stage in Amsterdam. Though some have speculated whether these stars are acting as good role models for their younger fans, neither woman, nor Justin Bieber, suffered the kind of backlash that Michael Phelps suffered.

Something has changed in our culture if celebrities face different repercussions from smoking marijuana now than they did four years ago. It could have something to do with America talking about marijuana more, especially since California’s Proposition 19 made national headlines in 2010 (even if it didn’t pass.) It also could be because state laws are changing elsewhere since both Colorado and Washington voted to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in the 2012 election.

Maybe it has to do with more and more celebrities coming out in support of marijuana. (Curiously, very few celebs have spoken out against marijuana—in fact it’s difficult to find any at all that dislike the idea of marijuana legalization.) Here are some celebrities that have fought for marijuana legalization.

Snoop Dogg

Photo courtesy of imilyas.

The fact that this rapper is on a list of marijuana supporters should come as no surprise to anyone given the content of his music. But Snoop does more for the cause than write lyrics and enjoy a joint in the comfort of his home.

In 2010, the rapper recorded a public service announcement urging California residents to vote in favor of Prop 19. With a blunt in hand, he said, “Prop 19? You know where I stand on that. Very high.”

Woody Harrelson

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The actor has been an activist most of his life and has been working with the marijuana legalization movement for many years. He sits on the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), a nonprofit organization that lobbies to reform marijuana laws.

In a 2005 interview with 420 Magazine, Harrelson said he believes in personal freedom. “We should have the right in this country to do what we want, if we don’t hurt anybody. Seventy-two million people in this country have smoked pot. Eighteen to 20 million in the last year. These people should not be treated as criminals.”

Tommy Chong

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This actor, who makes up one-half of the pot-loving comedy duo Cheech and Chong, came out in support of Prop 19. Since Chong starred in movies such as Up In Smoke and Still Smokin, it surprised no one. He also sits on the advisory board of NORML.

In 2010, he wrote a message on CelebStoner urging California residents to vote for Prop 19: “Hey stoners, don’t forget to vote for Prop. 19! Legalize it! Get it Legal! Let’s grow up as a country and recognize the plant that can and will save the world!”

Melissa Etheridge

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The rock singer came out in support of Prop 19 and said she used medicinal marijuana while recovering from breast cancer. She chose marijuana over ten other drugs that would have caused side effects.

At a press conference in 2010, she said “I don’t want to look like a criminal to my children anymore. I want them to know this is a choice that you make as a responsible adult.”

Bill Maher

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Another comedian that sits on the advisory boards of NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project, Maher has long been an advocate for marijuana legalization. He hosts his own show on HBO Real Time With Bill Maher, on which Zach Galifinakis lit up a joint.

During the coverage of Prop 19, Maher told John King on CNN that if you don’t support marijuana, “you’ve haven’t done your research.” He also took to Twitter to show his support of Prop 19. On Nov. 2, 2010, Maher tweeted, “Californians, don’t forget to vote for Prop 19! Even if u don’t smoke, its the right thing to do! Ur kids will be safer if its legal.”

Willie Nelson

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The country singer is a life-long activist who founded FarmAid, a nonprofit organization that helps keep family farmers on their own land. Nelson is also co-chair of NORML and after his 2010 arrest for possession of marijuana he wanted to create the Teapot Party.

Earlier in 2010, High Times asked Nelson if he would endorse Prop 19.

He said, “Of course, I would endorse it anywhere, in any state, any time. I think eventually, the worse the economy gets, the more sense it makes to legalize marijuana. First of all, you save all that money being spent on drug enforcement, all the money that goes for putting people in prison for smoking pot. There’s just millions and millions of dollars that can be saved by legalizing it. All the people who grow for the drug cartels in Mexico and the cartels all over the rest of the world, they don’t want to see it legalized. A lot of the growers don’t want to see it legalized. But it has to be. I think it’s the future, eventually we’ll get it legalized and we’ll be like Amsterdam. I can’t wait.”

Morgan Freeman

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The actor has been in favor of marijuana for a long time. In an interview with The Guardian in 2003, Freeman called it God’s own weed. “Never give up the ganja,” he said and called it God’s own weed.

Since then, he has been a big proponent for marijuana legalization. In 2012, Freeman was interviewed by Newsweek and said, “Marijuana! Heavens, oh yeah. It’s just the stupidest law possible, given history. You don’t stop people from doing what they want to do, so forget about making it unlawful. You’re just making criminals out of people who aren’t engaged in criminal activity. And we’re spending zillions of dollars trying to fight a war we can’t win!”

Susan Sarandon

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The actress helped urge Californians to vote for Prop 19 by recording a message that went out via phone call to residents. In it, Sarandon talked about the positives of marijuana legalization such as increased revenue and benefits to law enforcement—police could focus on more important issues.

Cannabis Culture also claims that Sarandon insisted scenes in the 1998 movie Stepmom be included that showed her character using medicinal marijuana to alleviate the effects of chemotherapy.

Elijah Wood

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

When High Times interviewed the Lord of the Rings star in 2011, Wood said that marijuana is “certainly not taboo” in Hollywood. He said it has just become a natural part of everyone’s lives and that people can talk openly about it.

Wood also said that although he does not smoke weed (because it doesn’t sit well with him), he is an advocate for decriminalization. “We’re spending taxpayers’ money on putting people away for something so harmless,” he told High Times.

Danny DeVito

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

DeVito currently stars as Frank Reynolds on FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Frank is a loud-mouthed, possibly unstable, drug user. The actor has at least one thing in common with his character: DeVito used to smoke marijuana with Michael Douglas, according to The London Evening Standard.

DeVito also came out in support of Prop 19 in 2010. He showed his support on Twitter where he wrote, “Set your private parts on fiiiiyaaaaa! Decriminalise Weed!”

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