Marijuana and popular culture have gone hand-in-hand for a very long time. Throughout the years, however, the instances of marijuana references and use in music and movies has increased dramatically. The public opinion of marijuana seems to be shifting from those formed during the days of Reefer Madness (1936). In fact, at the time of writing this article (June, 2013), 18 states and Washington, D.C. have all voted to legalize medical marijuana. However, medical marijuana still remains a schedule I controlled substance under federal law. This means that there is a very big gap in what the people want and the agenda of the political machine.
Marijuana and Popular Culture in Television, Movies and Music
Even though weed has played an important in the history of the arts, we are beginning to see less censorship concerning its usage in the public domain. Twenty-thirty years ago, there was much less open usage of
marijuana in movies, and especially on television. Now, shows like Showtime’s Weeds, which is centered around a marijuana-selling widowed mother, are becoming increasingly popular. Of course, “stoner arts” have been around for a long time, and will likely continue to blossom, no matter the legal status of marijuana.
This raises an important question: what effect is increased exposure to marijuana via pop culture having on the general population? After all, from some of the biggest stars in movies, music, and television have become increasingly open about using marijuana, and using their public platform to spread the knowledge in an informative and positive way. Melissa Ethridge, Zach Galifianakis, Stephen King and Jack Black – just to name a few – are all pop culture icons who are lending their voices to the cause of legalizing marijuana. In our day and age, and considering the pedestal upon which we place our pop culture icons, it surely can’t be much longer before the inevitable happens, right?
Food for Thought
At any rate, the fact that general knowledge about cannabis and its effects and consequences (or general lack thereof) is presenting itself through mainstream media and pop culture does mean one thing for sure: a wider range of people in the United States are being forced to reexamine their views on marijuana. Marijuana and popular culture will continue to be closely interwoven, and, when the time time for reviewing federal marijuana laws does come, there will be no denying the impact that pop culture has had.