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Most Influential & Famous Stoners

Most Influential & Famous Stoners

Most Influential & Famous Stoners

In 1973, President Nixon declared war on weed. In 1992, Bill Clinton said he smoked weed but didn’t inhale (Really?) In 2006, Barack Obama said he smoked weed and he absolutely inhaled because “That was the point.” Today, recreational cannabis is legal in 21 states, and 68% of Americans support cannabis legalization. In addition, some of our culture’s most famous and influential personalities have publicly embraced their cannabis use and advocated for the plant. Weed’s come a very long way, and these famous stoners have played a key role in bringing cannabis out of the shadows and into the bright lights of popular culture.

From Reefer Madness to The Pineapple Express — Cannabis Use in Popular Culture

The film Reefer Madness was released in 1936. The plot centered on some hapless teenagers who try “marihuana” and descend into addiction, insanity, and murder. Today, we can watch Pineapple Express on Netflix while smoking Pineapple Express and laughing as celebrity stoners Seth Rogan and James Franco blaze through this stoner comedy classic. That’s a massive cultural shift in the portrayal of cannabis in popular culture. But how did it happen?

Well, it happened very slowly — it took over a hundred years. Cannabis activists like Dennis Peron, Steve D’Angelo, Mary Rathbun, and Jack Herer had a tremendous impact. These people spoke truth to power about cannabis and often risked their freedom to ensure that the truth was heard. Their influence resulted in California passing Prop 215, the first law to legalize medical cannabis. 

Prop 215 kicked open the door to medical Marijuana and made mainstream acceptance of cannabis possible. These famous and influential stoners walked through that door to normalize cannabis in popular culture.

The Most Influential & Famous Stoners in Popular Culture

There are so many that deserve space here that we couldn’t squeeze in: Lil Wayne, Cameron Diaz, Cheech Marin, Morgan Freeman, Bill Gates, Johnny Depp, Matthew McConaughey, Miley Cyrus, Martha Stewart, Silent Bob, Bob Dylan and even Abraham Lincoln. We thank you for your service.

#1 Snoop Dogg

In 1999, Dr. Dre dropped “The Next Episode” featuring the one and only Snoop Dogg and the famous line, “Smoke weed every day.” Back then, Snoop Dogg was known as a “gangsta rapper,” and weed was still strictly counter-culture. In 2022, Snoop and Dr. Dre kicked off the Super Bowl Halftime Show by performing “The Next Episode.” There’s also a video of Snoop blazing a joint right before stepping on stage. It’s amazing how times have changed.

Snoop truly embraces the “smoke weed every day” ethos by employing a P.B.R. “professional blunt roller” to keep things lit. Snoop is also launching Death Row Cannabis as the new owner of Death Row Records. The brand will feature a redesigned version of Death Row Records’ iconic logo with the prisoner holding a joint. Death Row cannabis will be curated by AK, a West Coast legacy cultivator known for the Studio 54 and Shirazi strains from exotic breeder D.E.O.

Snoop Dogg

#2 Willie Nelson

On Willie Nelson’s 88th birthday, he delivered a 4:20 p.m. keynote address to cap off his new cannabis conference, Luck Summit: Planting the Seed. The conference is a virtual version of Nelson’s Austin-area Luck Ranch, whose purpose is to destigmatize cannabis. Some of the highlights of Willie Nelson’s cannabis journey include:

  • Nelson was turned onto grass in 1954 when the musician Fred Lockwood handed him a joint and told him to “Get high and be somebody.”  It might be the best advice Willie Nelson ever got, opening the door to a different outlook.
  • Over the years, Nelson’s cannabis use was often treated as a joke, but Nelson was always serious about pot. Once a heavy drinker, Willie believed cannabis saved his life by helping him set the bottle down.
  • In 1980, President Jimmy Carter invited Nelson to perform at the White House. That night, Willie and Carter’s son Chip climbed onto the Whitehouse’s roof and shared a joint.
  • In 2008 Willie and Snoop Dog had a smoke-off in Amsterdam on 4/20. They hit up every coffee shop until Snoop finally  “crawled away.” The Doggfather confirmed this legend, acknowledging that Willie was the only person who ever out smoked him.

#3 Tommy Chong

Tommy Chong has been a cannabis culture icon since the debut of  “Cheech & Chong” forty years ago. But what’s most interesting about Tommy Chong is how his role in cannabis culture has shifted over the years.

In the Cheech and Chong days, Tommy played a counter-culture stoner that defied mainstream cultural norms.  Later, Tommy Chong became a casualty of the drug war and a potent symbol of resistance when he was jailed for funding a company that sold pot paraphernalia. Today, Tommy Chong is a businessman with his own cannabis brand, Chong’s Choice.

When asked if cannabis is now mainstream, Chong replied: “The new face of cannabis now is old ladies taking it to sleep at night. You talk to ladies everywhere, and they say: I got my edibles by my bed, I wake up, take another gummy bear, and I sleep like a baby. It’s my medicine.”

Tommy Chong

#4 Carl Sagan

Before there was medical marijuana, Carl Sagan was a cannabis user and a closet cannabis advocate at a time when cannabis use carried a heavy stigma. He was also a brilliant human who wrote on various topics, including the need for truth in public discourse, world peace, and climate change. He also wrote and hosted Cosmos, researched the possibility of extraterrestrial life, and helped select the first playlist sent into space.

Interestingly, Carl Sagan also wrote an essay about cannabis under the pseudonym “Mr. X ” for the 1971 book Marihuana Reconsidered. In this essay, Sagan discussed his cannabis use and how it positively influenced his life. Many things that he was unable to appreciate or understand opened to him. He became more empathetic toward other humans, more in touch with his own humanity, and found it increased his appreciation of art and music.

Carl Sagan’s experience with cannabis ultimately led him to argue for legalization: “The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”

Carl Sagan

#5 Michael Phelps

With 23 gold medals, Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time. It turns out he also loves good bong rip. A few months after winning a record eight golds in the Beijing Olympics, a photo of Phelps hitting a bong went viral, and the lazy stoner stereotype went up in smoke.

Since then, Phelps has blazed with Wiz Khalifa, one of hip hop’s legendary stoners. Khalifa talked about smoking with Phelps on Spotify’s Rap Caviar podcast. “I just smoked with Michael Phelps. That was pretty cool. And he was super chill,” Wiz shared. “He just kept walking up to me like, ‘This weed is amazing.’ He was like, ‘I feel like I’m floating!’ And I wanted to make a swimming joke, but I was like, I’m just gonna keep that to myself, bro.”

Khalifa added: “That dude’s got, like, Aquaman’s lungs, bro. The weed inhale – he’s smoking a joint like in two puffs.”

Michael Phelps

#6 Wiz Khalifa

Besides smoking weed with Michael Phelps, this Grammy and Golden Globe-nominated hip-hop artist has always been a cannabis activist. Khalifa has also made the weed business his business with Khalifa Kush. The product lineup includes flower, pre-rolls, vapes, edibles, and concentrates. 

Khalifa Kush also has hype-worthy apparel with pro-pot messaging like “Stay Positive and Stoned” and “Smoke Better Weed.”

Wiz Khalifa

#7 Seth Rogan

Seth Rogen’s never been shy about his cannabis use. “I don’t make any illusions about how weed fits into my life,” says Rogen. “I’m a person who smokes weed all day, every day.”

For Rogen, smoking cannabis is essential for him to function.  His father even told the New York Times that the “miracle of marijuana” helped his son deal with attention-deficit disorder without pharmaceutical drugs. Rogen believes in cannabis so much that he founded the Canadian cannabis brand Houseplant in 2019. Although he’s known as a comedian, Seth Rogen sees Houseplant as a platform for people to take cannabis more seriously:

“It really bothers me that people downplay its importance and downplay how meaningful it is to some people’s lives,” says Rogen. “There’s always been lies that have been told to control weed; it’ll make you go crazy, it’ll make you lazy, it’ll do this and do that. Right now, I think the biggest lie is that it’s just not important, and there are more important things to be talking about.”

For Rogen, cannabis is an important topic that merits national discussion.

#8 Woody Harrelson

We almost lost Woody, a longtime stoner and marijuana advocate, when he laid off the weed a while back. But, thankfully, Willie Nelson didn’t have it. According to Harrelson:

“See, everybody thinks of Willie as a model of progressive thinking and virtue, and he is, but he’s also got an evil side. Eee-vil,” the Highwaymen star said. “Now, Willie never felt too good about me quitting. And he kept trying to get me to not quit. We’d be playing poker, and he’d pass me a vape pen, and I’d say, ‘Willie, man, I don’t do that anymore.’ And he’d act surprised like it was news to him — every time, just as surprised as he could be.”

But one night, when they were playing poker in Maui, Harrelson finally caved. “Willie passed me the pen after I’d won this huge pot,” Harrelson said. “I was in a celebrating mood, so I snatched the pen from him and took a long draw. And Willie smiled at me and said, ‘Welcome home, son.’”

It’s a good thing, too. If Willie hadn’t helped Harrelson find his way back to marijuana, we wouldn’t have the Woods, the dispensary Harrelson recently opened in West Hollywood. We also would have missed Harrelson winning a Lifetime Achievement Award in the 2022 Emerald Cup.  Blaze on, Woody.

Woody Harrelson

#9 Bob Marley

Bob Marley is the most famous reggae musician in history and stood for everything positive about Marijuana. Marley did not believe in using cannabis for recreational purposes. He was a Rastafarian and used “ganja” as a religious sacrament.

Marley regarded himself as holy and believed ganja helped him connect with music. He also saw ganja as a solution to the world’s problems. Marley believed that: “Herb is the healing of the nation.”

Bob Marley

#10 Bill Maher

According to Comedian and host of “Real Time” Bill Maher, cannabis is essential to his creative process. Maher’s always been vocal in support of cannabis which fits with his libertarian stance on marijuana laws. But beyond that, Maher uses weed to help his writing:

“I am hardly the only person in this world who finds pot to be a creative aid…But if I’m staring at the blank computer screen sober, I’m thinking, ‘Uh, I don’t want to start this, it’s an ASSIGNMENT!’ Then, as soon as I’m high, which takes about three seconds, it’s, ‘Oh, this is fun! This isn’t an assignment. It’s a GAME.”

Thank you, Bill. You play it well.

Bill Maher

The Impact and Influence of Famous Stoners

Cannabis users have been stigmatized in the United States for over a hundred years. But today, more than half the country has legal cannabis, and our society teeters on the brink of a radical shift in perception about weed. Part of the reason is famous stoners who get up every day and prove the stigma false. 

You can be whoever you want to be, and you can smoke weed while you’re doing it.

Airfield Invites You To Fly as High as These Famous Stoners

There are so many fantastic stories about cannabis, and yours is one of them. It’s not just about famous people. Every person that uses cannabis and shares their experience has the ability to change perception, even if it’s an audience of one. Airfield invites you to fly by anytime.

We’d love to meet you, hear your story, and hook you up with the perfect cannabis product for your needs. And if you can’t make it out, just order online for discreet delivery or pickup!

Famous Stoners
April 13, 2023


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