Is marijuana now the new normal? It seems to be the case when we look across the TV landscape from Netflix, to CNN to YouTube, cannabis inspired programming and marijuana pop culture references abound. If we look in the way-way-back-time-machine you might remember the popular comedic duo Cheech and Chong, which reinforced stoner culture on the big screen, and I dare say, kept the general population in the cannabis closet. Some of that Spicoli-type Fast Times at Ridgemont High imagery may linger, but for the most part a new, more nuanced conversation has emerged.
The new widespread acceptance of cannabis is the result of a plethora of factors, including what might be called the normalization of marijuana within mainstream media. Here are our top 7 television and web programs, some more educational than others, that are changing the dialogue about cannabis on a daily basis.
Sanjay Gupta single handedly changed the conversation about medicinal cannabis.
1. Weed by Sanjay Gupta
Weed brought cannabis onto television screens all across the country. The three part docu-series, which was aired on CNN, explored many different topics in the medical marijuana world. The series was created by celebrity doctor, Sanjay Gupta, whose personal opinion on cannabis even changed as he learned more about its wide ranging medical efficacy. Gupta, who apologized for some of his previous statements in which he claimed that marijuana had no medical benefit, created the show to teach people about the importance of medical marijuana. To say the least, the airing of this show was a game changer for the industry.
Sanjay Gupta used the same scientific information that changed his mind on medical marijuana to change the conversation on medical marijuana around the country. Gupta’s series featured a range of topics, including detailed scientific information like an active brain scan of someone who had consumed marijuana. Weed was a trailblazing mini-series that educated the national audience on the idea that medical marijuana could be greatly beneficial for a wide range of conditions. If you are interested in educating a non cannabis consumer, this is an excellent place to start.
Weediquette delves into the many cultural aspects surrounding cannabis use.
Weediquette started as a web series in 2013 and launched on Viceland in February of 2016. Hosted by Krishna Andavolu, who is originally from Princeton, New Jersey, Weediquette explores cannabis across the country and the world, from Rhode Island weed worshippers to cannabis dealers who are trying to get legal to opioid addicts using cannabisin lieu of their more addictive counter parts.
Andavolu (and try not to have a crush on him) doesn’t shy away from controversial topics like medical marijuana and children or the prosecution of long-term non-violent drug offenses. Weediquette provides an extremely educational view of the world of cannabis that engages people in and outside of the industry with new, interesting topics and ideas.
‘They Guy’ delivers pot to every hood in NYC and it’s like being a fly on the wall within people’s lives.
3. High Maintenance
Like Weediquette, High Maintenance started as a web series. The first episodes aired in 2012 on Venmo, then it transitioned on to HBO in 2016. The show, which was created by married couple Katja Blienfield and Ben Sinclair, follows the life of an unnamed Brooklyn pot dealer who remains anonymous throughout the whole series.
The show focuses on the variety of characters that the dealer delivers marijuana to, who remain largely unnamed as well. The show provides an entertaining look into the lives of people who use cannabis, and breaks down stereotypes about who marijuana consumers are in an extremely entertaining way. The show also approaches non-cannabis related topics that face many people across the country, like gentrification.
Bong Apetit explores the intersection of food and cannabis.
4. Bong Appetit
Bong Appetit is a web series on vice.com that shows the interconnectedness between food and cannabis. Each episode ranges from 10 to 25 minutes and explore topics ranging from a 91 year old grandmother who makes cannabis infused comfort food to high-end cannabis dining. Bong Appetit combines two of the largest trends sweeping across the country now, food and cannabis.
Currently, there are two seasons that have featured different foods from cannabis coffee to marijuana sundaes in states all across the country. The show is a great introduction into all of the of the different ways that cannabis can be consumed and how it can be incorporated into everyday life.
Mary Louise Parker is the star of the popular TV show Weeds.
Weeds is one of the first shows that brought suburban cannabis use into the mainstream through a mix of comedy and real-life situations. The show, which ran from 2005 to 2012, was about a mother in a fictional suburb of Los Angeles who turned to selling marijuana to support her family after her husband unexpectedly passed away. Weeds won many different awards for its excellent acting and writing and continuously challenged many different norms related to marijuana. Weeds focused on personal moral codes rather than laws and helped normalize cannabis in pop-culture.
Marijuana Man, it just keeps going and going…
6. Marijuana Man
Marijuana Man proclaims itself to be the longest running marijuana show in the world. Running on the internet since 1997, Marijuana Man is a pretty simple show, which features one man in British Columbia who enjoys smoking marijuana in his free time. The show features him smoking a variety of marijuana strains everywhere from in his bedroom to the bathtub and has garnered him 92,268 followers on youtube. Now, Marijuana Man is sponsored to smoke weed and brings a sense of levity and casualty to the fact that he is actually consistently filming himself doing something illegal. Marijuana Man points out the dichotomy of cannabis and its grey area between legality and illegality.
Life in a cube is hard, it may drive you to smoke.
Workaholics is a comedy about three tele-marketers, Adam, Blake, and Anders, who work and live together in Rancho Cucamonga, California. The show is about the fresh-out-of-college trio and focuses on the causality and normality of drugs in younger generations. Cannabis is no longer something shocking, rather it is now just as much a part of life as alcohol. The show stars their drug dealer who serves them and other “suburban weed consumers”.
Workaholics is currently on its 7th and final season, and the three stars and writers of the show say their eccentric, party-animal characters are just amplified versions of their real life selves. Comedy Central, where the show is aired, has let the writers explore many different ideas and topics related to cannabis, allowing them to relate to their viewership through the presence of marijuana.