Is There Too Much Marijuana On Prime Time TV?

I was asked by Fox News to discuss a clear and growing trend on prime time TV: cannabis use
While there have been dozens of prime time TV shows that have featured cannabis use since the 1960s, often for medicinal purposes circa the mid 1990s, currently there is a crush of shows on broadcast and cable that have one or more episodes where cannabis use is a featured part of the show. In my view, most if not all of these shows spotlighting cannabis is both an effect of the general popularity of cannabis and the herb’s prohibition.
What precipitated this on-air discussion is the concern of the socially conservative Parents Television Council that there is too much cannabis use on TV and that this sends the proverbial ‘wrong message to children’.
So what shows are we generally talking about?
The Simpsons
Family Guy
American Dad
Cleveland Show
-Gossip Girl
Parenthood (NORML Outreach Coordinator writes about the premiere episode of the show that featured…guess what?)
Parks and Recreation

Ironically, we were debating the appropriateness of cannabis in these popular shows on the very network that largely produces the shows in question.
While most parents will rightly be upset and concerned if there is overt and gratuitous cannabis use on youth-oriented shows that glamorize drug use in prime time TV, but an evaluation of the story plot lines on these shows in question will often find it is the prohibition of the herb that creates the narrative friction, plot line tensions or character conflicts—not the cannabis use per se.
Counter intuitive as may sound to some, but if the experience of tobacco and alcohol products (which are illegal for children to use) in prime time TV are an indicator of how certain drugs become unpopular, then for cannabis use to be de-glamorized and made culturally passé it will have to be made legal, actually controlled (prohibition is the abdication of social controls and policy-making) and moderately taxed.
With ‘4/20’ just around the corner, if the experience of the last few years serve as any guidance, there will be a number of TV shows, and entire networks such as G4, Spike and Comedy Central that will have special 4/20 programming.

*Russ adds: Minor edit to correct “Glee Club” to “Glee” – it’s one of my guilty TV pleasures.

0 thoughts

  1. Who in the hell is the PTC? And what is a social conservative? Listen here you losers, this in not the LEAVE IT TO BEAVER ERA. This is the 21ST century, not time trippin in your minds that this is the way the system should be now to satisfy your own egos and be in the limelight like your really doing something. There should be more on cannabis on PRIME TIME BOOB TUBE HOURS. PTC=PARENTAL TOTALITARIAN CENSORSHIP. Just another faction of MARIJUANA PROHIBITION going to the extreme. Then we wonder why our rights are going to hell. Just another brick in the wall, our BERLIN WALL of The Federal Governments war on marijuana. 420 ALL THE WAY!

  2. I do not believe this to be a place to have a marijuana decision on TV. I would not want to see cigarettes on show that kid watch ether why would I want Marijuana on show that kid watch. especially show that target kid.
    Just plan dumb

  3. Interesting that the lady from PTC focused on the harmful effects caused by prohibition (arrest and prosecution) and did not even attempt to make the argument that marijuana itself is harmful. I may be reading too much into that, but it seems like even the PTC knows it’s absurd to argue that pot itself is harmful. That’s a good sign.

  4. Alex: I csn dig it. I can’t count how many people I have wontonly (spelling?) murdered because I was afflicted by marijuana. Not to mention kids I’ve mowed over with my car, or how many times I (at least attempted) to have sex with white women

  5. csn = can
    not crosby stills and nash
    at least not in this context
    have a great day, all
    this saturday is hash bash in ann arbor, michigan. if you are around, stop in, it’s a good time

  6. was anything in that a lie As long as we’re not lieing to the kids Seems to be most important A bag of weed is all we need Let’s get it legal and start growing our green economy/industry

  7. My friend and I have started a smoking game. Everytime there is a reference to mj on TV we take a hit. When we 1st started the game a month ago we thought we wouldn’t have to smoke much but it turns out to be a couple of hits an evening.
    Try it, you’ll see.

  8. Well once again the Connecticut decriminalization bill did not even make it out of the judiciary committee when leadership failed to call the bill for a vote, great lets sit around again like puppets until next year…. In a way I am sorry to say but Norml you could of done alot more to get the word out in Connecticut…Nobody even knew this bill was being looked at until it was to late once again…How the hell can you get put in jail in one state and in another state you can possess an ounce and get a slap on the wrist, this is not fair make the same laws for everyone regarding marijuana or have none at all WTF WTF WTF CONNECTICUT is once again back in the dark ages this state is stuck in the Ronald Reagan era unreal


  10. Also- I must agree with somebody who spoke about the problems in Connecticut. As of right now, we are the only state in New England that has had ZERO marijuana reform. Why aren’t we a NORML battleground?

  11. Hahaha Like they don’t have people drinking and smoking cigarettes all the time on those shows also but now that its pot we have to go on the news and debate it. Since when didn’t parents control what their kids could watch. When I was little I wasn’t allowed to watch everything on TV. You don’t want your kids to see it don’t let them watch the shows…..

  12. Hi greetings from Australia,
    The local bullamen and their dogs raided my house just one hour ago. They found nothing.
    I despise them.

  13. decriminilized is the word. there shouldn’t be a case of legality involved. it’s not a drug, it’s not harmful, exactly what is the issue other than the government wants control. why does someone always want to have control.

  14. In my opinion..having seen multiple episodes of most of these shows, I would never allow my young child under 15 to watch them. If you are allowing your child to watch these animated ADULT shows, then be advised it will have ADULT subject matter. This isn’t Saturday morning fun time. Don’t rely on the TV to babysit your kids.

  15. It’s telling that Americans think nothing of letting their kids watch shows with drinking or violence but if someone smokes pot or worse shows a little skin then suddenly someone must protect the children!
    The Simpsons has gotten awards for best family show yet Homer is constantly getting wasted on beer. Where’s the outrage?

  16. To the blogger: Parents need to be responsible for what their kids are watching. There are references to drug and tobacco use every where. We live in a society were you can find a drug, alcohol or sex reference on almost every song that is played on the radio or shows shown on the T.V. Instead of parents going right to the media and complaining because their kids saw something drug referenced, the parents should look at their parenting skills first. There are many ways to block what your kids watch, for example, by using the V Chip which can block shows according to program ratings. Most of these shows that are being mentioned above are ratings for viewers at least 14 or older. Also, if kids are not seeing or hearing about drugs or alcohol from the media, there is a big chance they are hearing about them from their friends or classmates. The best way to handle this situation as a parent would be to talk to your kids. Talk to them about what drugs are and how they affect a person, and how you feel as a parent towards them.

  17. I am glad that the PTC spokeswoman did not try to lie about marijuana, she only spoke on the legal ramifications smoking. This is also reflective of the times. Most of the shows that they were talking about should not be watched by young kids anyway. Especially those CW Tween shows like Gossip Girl.

  18. @CharlieTheUnicorn- I do agree that parents need to be responsible for what their kids are watching. But the thing is, kids go over their friends houses and watch TV. Perhaps your TV at home has those shows blocked, but this doesn’t mean that everyone has them blocked too. Some parent’s have no problem with their child watching shows that involve cigarettes and drinking let alone illegal substances. In their minds, their kid is going to hear about it one day, so if they see it at home, they can ask about it and the parent and confront their child. So shelter your kid, but you can’t keep them in the house forever.

  19. TV shows should have the right to show the use of marijuana because the parents could just block the TV shows if they didn’t want their kids to watch them because of this. Promoting marijuana is a lot smarter for TV shows to do rather than promoting alcohol. Alcohol has caused a lot more deaths in the United States then marijuana has ever! So parents should care about alcohol a lot more than marijuana. Marijuana should be legalized since it is already all over the movies, TV shows, and music. If they banned the use of marijuana in TV shows then it would cause people to go crazy about banning alcohol, cigarettes, and other drugs. It wouldn’t work to ban that so they shouldn’t even want to waste their times trying.

  20. Cannabis is good for you most things,
    If it’s a matter of worry no one should
    Want to c there kids in jail for something
    not only harmless but helpful protect them
    If they do it try to stop them from almost
    everything else instead like cigs, beer,
    coffee that u can find in most churches
    If the law is a big issue to you move to a
    a better state or just show your kids how to
    hide it and if you think pot is the worst kids
    are doing go on YouTube and look up teen
    trends do this and even if you personally
    HATE pot it will open ur eyes to keeping
    Your kids alive by way of pot also I’m a
    Pot using Christina not smoker but I no if
    You ur and a adult god will forgive for
    beer , cigs and of course give thanks for
    It and cannabis will be blessed peace on
    Hey Jack

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