Hazy Screens: Is Hollywood Pushing Marijuana?

Hazy Screens: Is Hollywood Pushing Marijuana?
Posted by CN Staff on May 16, 2008 at 09:45:14 PT
By Stephen Humphries, CSM Staff Writer 
Source: Christian Science Monitor
USA -- Call it cinema's stoned age. Films featuring characters using marijuana have mushroomed."Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay," the second movie to feature the titular pot-smoking characters, grossed nearly $15 million on its opening weekend, which might portend a big opening for August's "Pineapple Express," a Judd Apatow-produced comedy about a pot smoker and his supplier on the run. Also rolling out: "The Wackness," with Ben Kingsley as a bong-using psychiatrist; "Humboldt County," in which a medical student spends a summer in a marijuana-farming town; and "Super High Me," with comedian Doug Benson using the drug for 30 days.
Antidrug campaigners and proponents of marijuana decriminalization disagree about whether such films represent a change in societal attitudes. But the movies, most written by people under 40, seem to represent a shift in Hollywood."There seem to be movies that are produced by a younger generation than the baby boomers, [by people] who seem to have had a lot of experience with marijuana," says Jacob Sullum, senior editor at Reason magazine and author of "Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use."Tom Hedrick, spokesperson for Partnership for a Drug Free America, says he worries that the uptick in such depictions makes the behavior appear too normal, creating bad role models.But a spike in cannabis use on-screen doesn't appear to mirror any social trend. If government statistics – which rely on self-reporting – and other surveys are accurate, marijuana use has declined modestly in recent years, especially among teens.One consequence of those statistics: The media by and large hasn't focused on drug stories over the past five years, maintains Mr. Hedrick. "Interest in the issue wanes and then you start to see a rebounding in the sense that this is something that is OK to do."Prior to now, only a few stoner movies, such as "Up in Smoke" (1978) and "Dude, Where's My Car?" (2000), made money during their theatrical run, thanks largely to low budgets. Others, such as "Half-Baked," "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," and "The Big Lebowski," were underachievers – much like their characters. But these initial flops scored big on home video, which explains why producers continue to invest in fare such as a "Harold and Kumar" sequel and November's little-seen "Smiley Face." Lately, though, a generation of comedy filmmakers who grew up watching Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" has incorporated tropes from stoner movies into frat-humor films targeted at a broader audience. Movies such as "Old School," "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" have also featured characters who smoke marijuana."I think movies have a weird line to walk," says Wesley Morris, a film critic at The Boston Globe. "They derive a lot of entertainment from drug use and yet, at the same time, they go only so far in endorsing it. 'Harold and Kumar' … doesn't have anything to say negatively about drug use, but, at the same time, there is a stigma attached." In "Knocked Up," a lead character has to stop smoking marijuana because it gets in the way of him becoming a good father.Producers can land financing for stoner films if they depict the users as out-of-it slackers for comedic effect, some observers say. "If they were to portray it in any other light, they would likely not get the financing; they would get nothing but grief from rating boards and other entities," says Allen St. Pierre, executive director of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). "It is safe."Legalization advocates argue that signs of societal tolerance, including decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana, hint that casual pot use is widespread – something filmmakers are increasingly less afraid to portray."I have to take responsibility for the 'Cheech and Chong' image … but the truth is that marijuana is used in every block of society," says Tommy Chong, who was jailed for nine months for selling drug paraphernalia in 2003. He points to Michael Douglas's role as a pot-smoking college professor in 2000's "Wonder Boys" as one example. Recreational pot use by professional types has popped up in films as disparate as "Eyes Wide Shut" and "Charlie Wilson's War."But antidrug campaigners say it's time for Hollywood to tighten up."Is this the beginning of a major new reflection and glamorization in popular culture?" asks Hedrick. "I think it's too early to tell, but it worries us because it tends to portend, potentially, a return to attitudes that lead to more kids trying, and more kids using."Note: A raft of films has some observers citing a generational shift among filmmakers.Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)Author: Stephen Humphries, Staff Writer of The Christian Science Monitor Published: May 16, 2008 Edition Copyright: 2008 The Christian Science Publishing SocietyContact: oped csps.comWebsite: CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #34 posted by OverwhelmSam on May 22, 2008 at 07:24:26 PT
"God, protect me from your believers."Just a comment, that's the first time I've seen that quote. I read somewhere on the net that religions are death cults whose goal is to protect us from hell, by making our lives living hell on earth. Isn't that double jeapordy? Punishing us twice for our sins? Why don't the religious fanatics just wait until we die and then we'll get our punishment. I'm betting on eternal darkness.Side Note: Everyone realizes that if you are eaten by a tiger, you wind up a steaming pile of shit in the jungle.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #33 posted by kaptinemo on May 21, 2008 at 07:26:20 PT:
The Overton Window, sliding in our favor
What we have been witnessing in re: this article and elsewhere is a process described as the Overton Window: main problem has been the actions of powerful but very small minorities in the population (Big Pharma and its' cat's-paws, the 'concerned parents' groups, Police, etc.) who are 'stakeholders' in the status quo and have every reason to worry about the loss of power and prestige that accompanies their support for the DrugWar, hence their increasingly hysterical and histrionic screeching about how 'dangerous' cannabis is. They struggle mightily to keep the window shut. But, as the article makes plain, they are swimming against a cultural tide...and risk drowning.The right-wing culture war against cannabis is being lost in just about every arena, and particularly with the media. This has only caused the culture warriors to become even more fanatic...and their fanaticism is showing their anti-democratic roots all the more. As more people begin to see what we have always known about them, the culture warriors will find themselves at odds with the public they arrogantly believe themselves to be the saviors of. Well, pardon me, but this tail-end Boomer only needs to be saved from raving, gun-waving, epithet-spewing, home-invading DrugWar fanatics, not cannabis. Or, as the old agnostic prayer goes, "God, protect me from your believers."
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #32 posted by FoM on May 19, 2008 at 09:45:36 PT
NYM: Legalize Pot and Everything’s Groovy
Oh, Mama!By Ben Proffer May 18, 2008 The Marijuana Policy Project advocates the legalization of pot for medical purposes, but Michelle Phillips, of the Mamas and the Papas, has plenty of other policy prescriptions. Like providing an economic stimulus. “I think legalization could save the economy,” she said at the MPP benefit on May 14. “Imagine the windfall for the government if they could tax marijuana.” It can also help people quit smoking: “When I really, really, really wanted a cigarette,” she said, “I would take a puff of pot, and the cravings would go away.” And maybe it could even help end the Democrats’ primary race. “I’ve never met her,” Phillips said, “but I would say, ‘Hillary, chill. Smoke a joint.’ She’s got to get behind Obama.”Copyright: 2008, New York Media LLC.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #31 posted by ripit on May 19, 2008 at 06:38:07 PT:
ya know what i can't stand is
when tv shows and movies depict cannabis use as mind bending hallucinogenic as powerful if not more so than lsd an such! like the big head ep of that 70's show.when they do crap like that it just reinforces the lies and stereotypes that older and nonuser voters believe about weed!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #30 posted by FoM on May 19, 2008 at 06:26:57 PT
Amazing picture. I watched the live event yesterday. We will have a really engaged country this year. Go Obama.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #29 posted by OverwhelmSam on May 19, 2008 at 05:03:21 PT
The Essence of Hope
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #28 posted by FoM on May 18, 2008 at 09:41:45 PT
John Tyler 
I'm glad you agree. We are one country. We all are different. We are also much the same. For way too long free market capitalism has been the standard. The problem is with no checks we see what happens to our overall economy. Social justice is important because a truly free and respected nation will work thru issues that they don't agree with. It's time for change.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #27 posted by John Tyler on May 18, 2008 at 09:29:24 PT
Re #13
I agree with you and I suspect so do a lot of other people. Some people like some things the Dems say and some like a certain very few things the Repubs say. I’m kind of in between, but at this time, I’m strongly leaning to the Dem side.  On the ABC Sunday Morning Show with George S. one of his commentators said that current bunch of Repubs are so into Bushism that now totally clueless as to what is actually going on with the voters, and as a result they will be getting a shock in November.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #26 posted by FoM on May 18, 2008 at 06:16:02 PT
Just a Note
I haven't found any news to post so far today. I'll keep looking though. Yesterday I watched an Oregon live event with Senator Obama and he was asked about how he would deal with Oregon's Assisted Suicide law and would he interfere like this administration has. He answered forcefully and exactly and said he will not interfere with the law that Oregon voted in. The point I want to make is he is a strong believer in state's rights. Hopefully that will make more states not be afraid to put MJ Initiatives on the ballot for fear of the Feds overriding it.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #25 posted by OverwhelmSam on May 18, 2008 at 05:50:35 PT
Sooner or Later
They will tire of the countless marijuana votes and law suits. I think they fight back just to give some superficial meaning to their otherwise worthless lives. I bet with a little mentorship, we can bring the misled and misguided masses into the fold.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #24 posted by Dankhank on May 17, 2008 at 22:51:05 PT
always good for info ...thanks for keeping us up on it, GCW ...the lawsuit thing is positively mind-scrambling in it convolution ...I agree, it should be thrown out ...and the spiteful City Councilman Don Keirn needs to be voted out, then find a way to fire the Police chief ...the attorney should be sued.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #23 posted by The GCW on May 17, 2008 at 22:39:55 PT
Canada: Pot Smokers Now Older, Wiser
Canada: Pot Smokers Now Older, WiserPubdate: Fri, 16 May 2008Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)"Eventually, I think we're going to see its decriminalization and legalization, with the government taxing it and making money off it." Cont.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #22 posted by The GCW on May 17, 2008 at 22:33:36 PT
US ID: Hailey City Attorney To Defend Pot Initiati
US ID: Hailey City Attorney To Defend Pot InitiativesPubdate: Fri, 16 May 2008Source: Idaho Mountain Express (ID)Lawsuit Filed On The Eve Of Another Marijuana Election An anti-marijuana lawsuit filed earlier this month puts Hailey City Attorney Ned Williamson in the ironic position of having to defend three controversial pot initiatives that he has staunchly opposed. "I will do my best to defend those laws," Williamson told the Idaho Mountain Express in February, shortly after Hailey Mayor Rick Davis announced that the lawsuit would be filed. Williamson was then asked if defending the marijuana initiatives would be difficult for him. "I will do my best to defend those laws," he said again. Wiliamson could not be reached this week for comment. The lawsuit, filed by Hailey attorney Keith Roark on behalf of Davis, City Councilman Don Keirn and Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter, seeks to have the obviously illegal pro-pot initiatives officially ruled illegal in Blaine County 5th District Court. The three initiatives, one to legalize medical use of marijuana, a second to legalize use of industrial hemp and a third to make enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest priority for the Hailey Police Department, were approved by Hailey's electorate last November. Cont.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #21 posted by Dankhank on May 17, 2008 at 15:22:39 PT
dill pickles
are the best ... of the recipes available on the site I was most intrigued by the recipe for "Pickletini, May 16th" and will certainly try the recipe for German Pickled Potato Salad, which I always think of as Bavarian Potatoe, nod to Dan Quayle, Salad, May 17th.Ich bien halb Bayer, read half-Bavarian, from my Mom and born In Bavaria. Dan the mann, ha ... read entry for June 15, 1992 in Vice P section ...:-)
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #20 posted by FoM on May 17, 2008 at 14:09:55 PT
I love dill pickles. I never liked sweet pickles. I haven't had the nerve to eat one since I've been sick. I'm avoiding all the good foods darnit! LOL!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #19 posted by Dankhank on May 17, 2008 at 14:03:10 PT
browsing ..
after a quick shopping trip during which I bought a jar of pickles I found out that it is ...International Pickle Week: sure what an international pickle is ... but ...enjoy ...
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #18 posted by Hope on May 17, 2008 at 10:13:56 PT
I will not be ruled by a bunch
of dominating apes!!! "But antidrug campaigners say it's time for Hollywood to tighten up."And about that self reported use among people... including young people. They finally figured out what is going on. When they fill out those government intrusion questionnaires, they know that if they say they use it... whether they do or not... that they will bring the wrath and intrusion of government spies, narcs, down on them and theirs and into their schools. It took awhile... but they figured it out. The word is out. The only people who say they do use it are those who think it would be exciting to have narcs in school and busting people. If they really have used it... they've learned it's not wise to "report" themselves to an intrusive, obsessive, and overbearing government.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #17 posted by FoM on May 17, 2008 at 10:04:12 PT
Youtube has been working fine for me. Alltel fixed my problem with my aircard and everything is working great now.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #16 posted by Dankhank on May 17, 2008 at 10:00:53 PT
isn't working for me right now, get the data loaded, but doesn't playcan play music on my harddrive, no prob ...
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #15 posted by FoM on May 17, 2008 at 09:57:49 PT
Thank you for the link. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #14 posted by Dankhank on May 17, 2008 at 09:51:25 PT
election ...
I think we have a pretty good idea how Repubnicans think about things ...That's been the problem for the last 30 years's a pretty good line-up of video's that tell much of the story ... check 'em out ...
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #13 posted by FoM on May 17, 2008 at 09:47:01 PT
I am conservative but I am liberal. It all depends on what those words mean when used. I am an Independent. I want a United States of America and I think Senator Obama will do his best to stand true to his liberal convictions but listen and try to understand how Republicans feel about issues too. We are one country. The war is over if we want it.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by OverwhelmSam on May 17, 2008 at 09:36:16 PT
That guy could be me, except that I don't support the party systems. I'm a veteran, voting for Barrack (since Paul doesn't have the support). The parties have insinuated themselves onto the control of our government based on their broken and divisive ideologies. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by FoM on May 17, 2008 at 09:00:39 PT
Here's another one. I like this one. I watched many of the 30 second ads sent in to Move On and this one is the winner. Obamacan - Winner, Obama in 30 Seconds
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by OverwhelmSam on May 17, 2008 at 08:50:17 PT
Hypnotic, Isn't It.
Speaking of Hollywood:Watch it twice... know he's out, but his legacy lives on...
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by FoM on May 17, 2008 at 08:28:23 PT
Off Topic: Senator Kennedy
I hope he will be ok. I really like Senator Kennedy. They said they think he had a stroke. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by runruff on May 17, 2008 at 06:58:03 PT:
Thee little words that would never fit into my spiritual understanding.Paul's Greek word for deity; Christ [ I've eliminated Paul as an authority on spiritualism. Even Simon Peter said not to listen to him.]Science is not of the spirit as Yeshua taught us.He was not sent to monitor but preach the gospel [the good news]He spoke of all Gods gifts as blessings as outlined in Genesis.So much for the Christ-Nazi's! 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by RevRayGreen on May 16, 2008 at 18:03:24 PT
thing will be very interesting
at this years Democratic convention in Denver. I wait for the next onslaught of talk of increased penalties as prop for the Rpeublicants.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by Hope on May 16, 2008 at 17:14:49 PT
Who the heck do they think they are?
"...start to see a rebounding in the sense that this is something that is OK to do."And who the heck do they think we are? We can't decide without their permission whether the heck we think something is OK to do or not?The audacity! The ignorance! The gall! The arrogance! Do they actually think we look to them to decide what is ok and what is not ok?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by The GCW on May 16, 2008 at 15:55:40 PT
Here 1
Beer me, babyOne might expect more evolved behavior from mammals that live in a place called Darwin, Australia, but, apparently, the homo sapiens of that region are still waiting around for their opposable thumbs. On May 13, while on patrol, Constable (that’s what they call police officers in Aus) Wayne Burnett pulled over an unregistered car containing several unidentified male passengers. He expected to give the driver a simple warning about proper vehicle documentation, but, instead, ended up offering the man some unsolicited parenting tips. When the constable looked into the backseat of the car, he saw that there were two adults sitting innocently with a 30-pack of beer between them. Nothing wrong there. Dudes like beer. However, upon further inspection, the officer noticed that the alcohol had been carefully arranged and properly buckled in for safety precautions. OK, that’s a little weird, but to be fair, beer is an important natural resource Down Under, and you never know what might happen in a car. What if some crazy driver cuts you off in traffic and causes you to swerve all over the road? What happens then? That’s right: your beer gets shaken up, and it fizzes all over the place when you try to open it. That’s a waste of good alcohol. However, protecting your beverage is one thing, criminal negligence is another. After peering through the back window, the Constable noticed that there was a fifth human being in the vehicle, a small baby, sitting on the floor, completely unprotected. The caretaker of the child attempted to justify his actions (“Um, yeah, I’m an ignorant dickhead who should have never been allowed to procreate.”), but the officer fined him $710 anyhow. While we can certainly understand the desire protect your beer, it’s necessary to prioritize these things. Here’s a list to help you figure out where your main concerns should be when it comes to vehicle safety: 1) children, 2) members of the animal kingdom, 3) beer, 4) rocks, dirt and other inanimate objects, and 5) assholes that choose Budweiser over babies.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by HempWorld on May 16, 2008 at 12:11:09 PT
Aw C'mon now ... And this from the Christian Scien
ce Monitor. To be Christian means to be anointed with the holy oil containing large amounts of kaneh bosm i.e. cannabis.My father died from vocal chord cancer caused by his one-pack-a-day cigarette habit and his 4 brothers (yes four) also were killed from their cigarette smoking. Yet no-one has died from cannabis smoking, the substance actually wards off cancer besides the fact that it is used in the very basic ritual that makes one a Christian in the 1st place. Maybe since we do not follow the exact ritual with the right oil (or rather ingredients that are now illegal everywhere) the Christians of today aren't the real Christians. Which explains why they turn a blind eye to the approx. half a million of Americans that die from tobacco smoke every year and this includes 32,000 deaths from 2nd hand cigarette smoke (and probably a lot of industrial dust and exhaust fumes)Everybody knows the tobacco industry is a huge advertiser in the movies as is the liquor industry. Have you noticed how many cigarettes are smoked in pretty much any movie, especially the older ones?
On a mission from God! See On Youtube how Cannabis Heals Here ...
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by museman on May 16, 2008 at 11:45:39 PT
This brings up a point...
Why, with all the mainstream hollywood renderings of 'marijuana comedy,' was tommy Chongs movie confiscated by the dea and fbi?I've seen the movie, and quite frankly it was hard to understand why this particular movie (not all that much of a revelation, or even all that entertaining really) was singled out.The answer is in the movie, I will say, when a known musician said, "It was only a matter of time before they went after us." (or something similar)The singling out of icons of the sixties (the ones who didn't completely sell out) is why. Prohibition under Bush and his acts of terrorism in the guise of 'fighting terrorism' has given all those government anal-retentive ass-kissers the empowerment to go beyond reason and constitutional law. As one said in Chongs movie, "This isn't an attack on Tommy, or even marijuana users, this is an attack on the '60's." I think they thought we'd all just 'grow up and move on' to their narrow stupid reality. Surprise!Harold and Kumar aren't any different to this generation, than Cheech and Chong were to ours, except Cheech and Chong did it first. Better watch out though H & K , when you are no longer in the main spotlight, you might have to do time for 'advocating illegal, terrorist activity, and promoting illegal 'drug' use.'
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by The GCW on May 16, 2008 at 11:42:46 PT
"...with comedian Doug Benson using the drug for 30 days." The drug.Cannabis is a plant. Hold it in Your hand and notice.PLANT: as in Christ God Our Father, The Ecologician indicates He created all the seed bearing plants saying they're all good on literally the very 1st page of the Bible.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by ezrydn on May 16, 2008 at 11:23:56 PT
In the Movies
While the Prohibs are overly concerned of the image of smokers in films, has anyone noticed the lack of outcry over all the drinking depicted in movies? What sort of message does THAT send the kids??? Maybe if the bad guys had a smoke instead of a shot, they may think again about going out to kill someone or knock over the local bank. But, that would detract from the story, wouldn't it?
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment