Long gone are the sordid stoner stereotypes. Life isn’t an episode of That 70s Show, and cannabis isn’t limited to giggling teenagers in a cloudy basement – its impressive list of users echo that sentiment. From iconic singer-songwriters to bonafide world leaders, this group of smokers show that a lack of motivation isn’t a side effect for everybody!
The rest of this list will be alphabetical, but it would be blasphemous to not start with one of the most essential figures in contemporary cannabis culture. Snoop Dogg is not only one of the most highly regarded rappers in history, but for many he is the epitome of West Coast hip-hop culture. From Gin and Juice to Drop it Like it’s Hot, Snoop has been occupying and innovating the gangsta rap game for over 25 years – while also innovating within the stoner persona. His affinity for the herb is no secret, having created entire employment opportunities to support his habit. Snoop is notorious for having a personal roller in his crew who allegedly rolls up to 81 blunts daily. Between that, owning his own line of weed, and a marijuana culture website, Snoop is both a bud-blazer and a trailblazer.
Alexandre Dumas is one of the most widely read French authors of all time, with works like The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers being celebrated across generations. The author was known to gain inspiration from the ganja, acting as one of the founding members of The Club des Hashischins. He – along with members and literary giants like Victor Hugo, Charles Baudelaire and Honore de Balzac – indulged in hashish and mingled with the best minds of 1840’s Paris. Alexandre believed that hash expanded writers’ minds, allowing them to reach literary greatness. With his resume, it’s tough to disagree!
Barack Obama (and many other U.S. Presidents)
In the 2013 biography Barack Obama: The Story, young Barry was described as a champion weed smoker – enjoying the sticky sweet perks of his Hawaiian home. Since leaving office, he’s even mused on his high times in a 2017 discussion with University of Chicago students. But he’s not the only Commander in Chief on the record as having enjoyed a toke or two. George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy are all known to have inhaled, and all bets are off for pre-prohibition presidents. George Washington, along with other founding fathers, had his own crop of hemp. For all we know, America was formed within a cloud of smoke!
Anybody who has ever seen 1969’s Yellow Submarine has wondered how Paul, John, George and Ringo were ever sober enough to hold their guitars or trim their bowl cuts. Rumor has it that Bob Dylan (we’ll get to him in a bit) turned The Beatles on to cannabis in 1964. By the time 1965’s Help! was released, the band had become frequent marijuana users. This was reflected in a more mellow and introspective twist to their music, with direct references to pot in songs like ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’.
Ben and Jerry
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are responsible for many nights of carton-shaped emotional support, building an ice cream empire from the humble beginnings of a Vermont creamery. However, the name of Ben and Jerry’s ‘Half Baked’ isn’t just a reference to the doneness of its cookie dough. Many that attended school with the duo claim they weren’t just ice cream men – they were weed dealers too! And now, more than 40 years later, Ben and Jerry have voiced their support for marijuana legalization and cannabis conviction expungement.
This one-time richest man in the world has a different biography based on who you talk to. To some people, he founded Microsoft and built the Windows OS – opening up the PC world to consumers in a way never seen before. To others, he’s the guy that’s gonna inject a tracker in your body (or something of that nature – conspiracy theories give me a headache). In either case, Gates is no stranger to the ganj. He’s mentioned that while attending Harvard in the 70’s, he wasn’t unfamiliar with the drugs of the time. According to his college roommate, weed was always the pick of the litter.
Counterculture icon and songwriting legend Bob Dylan has always pushed the envelope, challenging political and social conventions across his entire career. Weed, however, has never been a challenging issue for him. When Dylan was interviewed by Playboy in 1966, he was asked if drug experimentation should be part of the youth experience. Dylan responded, “I wouldn’t advise anybody to use drugs – certainly not hard drugs . . . but hash and pot – now, those things aren’t drugs. They just bend your mind a little. I think everybody’s mind should be bent once in a while”.
Bob Marley’s image can be seen printed on tapestries and posters across the world’s dorm rooms. But long before he innovated uni interior design, the legendary reggae musician was responsible for bringing the Rastafarian movement into the mainstream. Marley saw marijuana as an aid to religious meditation – a vital component in religious and intellectual growth – and he used it accordingly.
For 25 years, Brad Pitt’s name has been at the tip of every lady’s tongue. In 1995, he was named People Magazine’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’, and he hasn’t stopped ever since. Seven, Twelve Monkeys, Fight Club, Ocean’s 11 through 13 – Brad Pitt’s star was so massive that even he couldn’t hold it. In recent interviews, Pitt has admitted that he, “spent most of the 90’s hiding out and smoking pot . . . [He] was too uncomfortable with all the attention”. Cannabis is often used to treat anxiety, and we’re glad to hear that Brad was able to find some relief!
Carl Sagan expanded a generation’s mind to consider a world beyond the stars. His series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, became the most widely watched show in the history of American public television, turned Sagan from an obscure astronomer to a pop-culture icon, and changed the way we communicated science forever. It’s only appropriate that the man who expanded the minds of a generation used cannabis to do the same for himself. As a lifelong marijuana user and advocate of legalization, Sagan wrote essays anonymously detailing the positives that cannabis brought into his life.
With over 100 award nominations and 39 wins, including an Academy Award for Best Actress, Charlize Theron has nothing left to prove. Still, movie after movie, she’s constantly displaying why she’s thought to be one of the most transformative leading ladies today. As for her habits offscreen, Theron has been pretty open about her history of cannabis use. She’s detailed to E! News that she used to wake and bake pretty frequently, appreciating the effects of marijuana far more than alcohol or other substances. And while she’s slowed on her smoking in recent years, Charlize and her mother still enjoy an edible every now and then.
Plainly speaking, “the most influential comedian of the 21st century” might be underselling Dave Chappelle. Two Emmys, three Grammys, a Mark Twain Prize, and a $20 million-per-release Netflix deal even try to do his work justice, but the only thing that comes close is a superstar like Kevin Hart (and many others) referring to Dave as the greatest stand-up comedian of all time. Chappelle has been a weed user since he entered the mainstream, and his place in cannabis culture has been cemented with great works like Half Baked.
The hip-hop landscape was forever changed after the release of 1992’s The Chronic. Not only did Dr. Dre create one of the most well-produced rap albums of all time – innovating the genre and influencing generations – but he also put his stamp on the weed world. Fellow hip-hop and weed innovator Snoop Dogg explained that the usage of ‘chronic’ to describe dank kush stemmed from a simple misunderstanding. A particular bud was said to have been grown with hydroponics – or, according to Snoop, hydroCHRONICS. The slang was used among west coast rappers moving forward, and when Dr. Dre released his album it was shared with the world.
Francis Crick would’ve been the first Nobel Prize recipient on this list, but we decided to go alphabetically by first name, and Barack beat him to it. Nonetheless, Francis Crick and James Watson’s discovery of the double helix DNA structure changed molecular biology forever. And while Crick never spoke of his marijuana use in public, his biographer suggested that he experimented with an array of substances, including cannabis.
George Clooney has never received a Nobel Prize, but he has saved hundreds of lives as Dr. Doug Ross on ER. Since then, his stardom has skyrocketed to eternal A-list status. Between acting, directing, producing, and making middle-aged women around the world swoon, George has a lot on his plate. It only makes sense that he would unwind with a joint at the end of the day! While filming Ocean’s Twelve in Amsterdam, Clooney was known to frequent a local cannabis cafe. In addition, fellow A-list stoner Brad Pitt has admitted to smoking with George. No wonder he’s so chill!
The world would be a much more painful place if it weren’t for Hua Tuo’s contributions. Known as an expert in acupuncture, herbal medicine, and surgery during the later years of China’s Eastern Han dynasty, Hua Tuo pioneered the use of anaesthesia during operations. He also must’ve pioneered the use of the phrase “two birds, one stone”, because his application of anaesthesia was also one of the earliest recorded uses of cannabis in medicine. That’s right – Hua Tuo’s anaesthetic of choice was mafeisan, an herbal formulation made from hemp.
No legacy or reputation has been glamorized as much as Hugh Hefner’s. The founder of Playboy magazine was notorious for many things: lavish mansions, beautiful women, absurd parties. But he was also an advocate of several movements – including cannabis rights. From its beginning, Hefner was a constant supporter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), donating as much as $100,000 annually. Describing marijuana’s effects on himself, Hefner has stated that, “smoking helped put [him] in touch with the realm of senses . . . [he] discovered a whole other dimension to sex”.
Hunter S. Thompson
Not many people can claim to be a counterculture icon, a game changing gonzo journalist, and a character portrayed by both Bill Murray and Johnny Depp – but Hunter S. Thompson can. The legendary scribe of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas spat in the face of objective reporting and often blurred the line between fiction and nonfiction, but his experience with drugs was anything but exaggerated. As for weed, Thompson mused that “it [had] been a source of joy and comfort . . . for many years”.
Recall cherished memories of Ross and Rachel, sip coffee from a Central Perk mug, and shout “SO NO ONE TOLD YOU LIFE WAS GONNA BE THIS WAY” from the rooftop. Just like that, you’re transported back to 2004, and Jennifer Aniston is America’s sweetheart. At the time, the superstar actress was still married to notorious stoner Brad Pitt, and Aniston was rumored to have joined a smoke sesh on occasion. In years since, she’s admitted to enjoying cannabis from time to time.
Rogan’s domination of the podcast world can’t be stated any clearer than in the form of a $100+ million Spotify licensing deal. Joe Rogan smoking pot in his studio ranting about conspiracy theories with a fellow comedian has transformed into a multi-million dollar operation. If you’re searching for quotes from Rogan regarding his thoughts on cannabis, you won’t need to search for long.
The 2000s ushered in a new age of political cynicism and satire. Leading that charge was award-winning comedian and host of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart. Stewart’s intelligent and incensed nightly undressing of the political world entertained and informed an entire generation – a feat that earned him 20+ Primetime Emmys. Since then, Jon has branched off into activism and film directing. Which is appropriate, considering how he’s rambled about the amount of movies he’s written while stoned.
As much as we love Ryan Gosling and Christina Aguilera, JT is the only member of the Mickey Mouse Club on today’s list. From NSYNC to Justified to DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls, Justin Timberlake has had a truly blockbuster career – conquering any industry he steps into. When he needs to step away from his massive success and unwind, JT turns to marijuana. In an interview with Playboy, Justin mentioned that, “sometimes [he has] a brain that needs to be turned off . . . some people are just better high”.
Nobody should be surprised to find Keith Richards on any drug-related list. The legendary guitarist and co-founder of the Rolling Stones has a long, storied history of long nights, loud parties and debauchery. The important variable here though is: weed is the habit he held on to! Even at the ripe age of 76, Keith Richards still starts his morning with a hearty breakfast and a healthy joint. Rock on, Keith!
Along with the likes of Richard Linklater and Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith helped define 90s cinema as the age of the indie auteur. Personal stories like Clerks and Mallrats allowed audiences to immediately identify what sits at Kevin Smith’s core – New Jersey. Pop culture references. Pot. As he’s grown in influence and relevance, Smith hasn’t been secretive regarding his affinity for marijuana. In fact, just last year he released three strains of weed inspired by his creations Jay and Silent Bob.
Couldn’t forget Mary Jane on the list about marijuana! While most know her as MJ from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man series, Kirsten Dunst has built a 30 year career in Hollywood and just about done it all. Starting as a child actress, Kirsten grew up surrounded by noteworthy people. Her childhood best friend’s father was Carl Sagan, who Kirsten has since cited in supporting her positive views on pot: “He was the biggest pot smoker in the world, and he was a genius”.
With 2019’s A Star is Born and 2020’s Chromatica, Lady Gaga has once again shown herself to be one of the most capable stars working today. With a list of hits as massive as ‘Bad Romance’, ‘Born This Way’ and ‘Shallow’, nobody can question the efficiency of Gaga’s creative output. When describing her process, Gaga has said that she has “to be high to be creative”. But her cannabis use doesn’t start and end with creativity – Lady Gaga has also used marijuana to cope with major pain stemming from performance injuries.
Even if you’ve gone your whole life without placing a finger on a basketball, you know who LeBron James is. Pegged as arguably the greatest player of all time, Lebron hasn’t only built a career off his talents – he’s built an empire. Shoes, water bottles, notebooks – you can even buy LeBron James toilet paper! At this point in his life, LeBron James is used to the pressure of worldwide stardom. However, that wasn’t the case when James was a young high school prodigy. He’s admitted to smoking pot with his teammates to help deal with the massive responsibility of his potential.
Louisa May Alcott
Legendary novelist and feminist icon Louisa May Alcott has a legacy of furthering women’s rights through education and representation. Her depiction of domestic life in works like Little Women was an earnest and personal snapshot of the period’s ideals and values, and it has remained relevant and in print for over 150 years. If Alcott’s short stories are any indication, she was quite the fan of cannabis. She’s written of lovers getting high together, describing a high in a way only a literary master can: “A heavenly dreaminess comes over one, in which they move as if on air. Everything is calm and lovely to them: no pain, no care, no fear of anything, and while it lasts one feels like an angel half asleep”.
In the past, Martha Stewart has been known as many things: Businesswoman, homemaker, felon. In recent years, however, she’s become known as a business partner and close personal friend of marijuana megastar Snoop Dogg. So yes – of course Martha Stewart smokes weed. She’s spoken confidently about her joint rolling abilities before, and over the past couple years she’s even dabbled in production. She’s recently launched her own line of CBD gummies and oils in partnership with Canopy Growth.
Marijuana is intrinsically connected with Matthew McConaughey’s brand. His rise to fame began playing overgrown stoner party-boy David Wooderson in Dazed and Confused, and over 15 years later he’s still playing potheads in projects like 2019’s The Beach Bum. As for his personal life . . . there isn’t much of a difference. In 1999, McConaughey was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, as well as resisting transportation. But the key detail is in McConaughey’s state during the arrest: he was stoned, naked, and playing the bongos. Alright, alright, alright.
Maya Angelou is one of the most noteworthy authors and civil rights activists of all time, and when she passed in 2014, she left a rich legacy of culture and advocacy. Angelou has written about her transformative experiences with marijuana in great detail. From the first time she inhaled in 1946, she “learned new postures and developed new dreams.” After a childhood filled with trauma, cannabis allowed Maya Angelou to “melt into a grinning tolerance.” As she put it herself, “for the first time, life amused [her]”.
Chances are, Micheal Phelps is the only competitive swimmer you know. In fact, you never even cared about competitive swimming until Michael Phelps came around (and chances are, you still don’t care). Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, donning 28 medals. He has the perfect, purebred American story . . . except for one incident. In 2009, three months after winning eight gold medals for his country, Michael Phelps was caught lighting up a bong. At the time, mothers cried and sponsors pulled their money, but nobody bats an eye now. He was a 23 year old kid, and his arms probably hurt from all the backstrokes!
There’s not a voice in Hollywood as recognizable as Morgan Freeman’s. The soft strength of his timbre cradles the listener into a state of safety and comfort – like drinking a rich, creamy hot cocoa with your ears, or being hugged by expensive velvet. Freeman’s distinctive voice and incredible talents have led him to become one of the most respected and prolific actors of all time, gracing the screen in great works like The Shawshank Redemption, Se7en, and Bruce Almighty. In his time off screen, he has voiced his support for legalizing pot – having been introduced to the plant by his wife years ago. To this day, Freeman still smokes cannabis to manage pain.
Oliver Stone has continuously made a name for himself as one of the most controversial and capable directors working today. The auteur of contentious works like Natural Born Killers, Nixon, and The Putin Interviews, Stone is used to ruffling feathers with his creative output. That air of controversy extends to his personal life as well, where Stone has been criticized for propagating unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. But marijuana is a subject where Stone has consistently been on the right side of history, constantly arguing in favor of cannabis rights. Stone used weed while serving in Vietnam to hold on to his sense of humanity, and he’s continued using it ever since.
A true rags to riches story, Oprah Winfrey has gone from a life of trauma and poverty to being one of the most successful and influential figures in the history of media. Not only has she transformed her life, she has shattered harmful stereotypes and assumptions, becoming America’s first black multi-billionaire as well as being ranked as the greatest black philanthropist in American history. While she hasn’t been on the record as a consistent marijuana user, Oprah has admitted to using it in the past.
Trying to decipher a lot of Picasso’s abstract work would probably be much easier while stoned. Known as the famed painter of some of the most cherished artworks in history, Picasso is now seen as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and the founder of many artistic movements. It’s rumored that his co-founding of the Cubism movement was even inspired by his perception of the world while high on cannabis. It doesn’t take too much of a stretch of imagination to consider!
A six decade career spanning the limits of screen and stage has made Patrick Stewart one of the most highly-regarded actors we have. Whether he’s Captain Picard aboard the Enterprise, Professor X alongside mutant heroes, or Hamlet holding a human skull, Stewart brings a commanding intelligence and intensity to every role. That intensity doesn’t travel offscreen though! A few years back, he shared that he uses marijuana products on a daily basis to treat nagging arthritis symptoms.
Queen Elizabeth I
The “Virgin Queen” left a lasting legacy on her throne, inspiring great loyalty and reverence from a previously divided country. Queen Elizabeth I took the necessary steps to establish the Protestant Church in England, defeat the Spanish Armada, and foster an artistic renaissance within her 44 year reign, as well as broadening the hemp industry in her country. In 1563, she ordered that all landowners with more that 60 acres of land to grow hemp to increase fiber production. However, legend suggests that the Queen also kept cannabis at her palace for social gatherings and therapeutic use.
Not to be outdone by the other queen on this list, Queen Victoria ruled over England for a whopping 63 years – the longest reigning monarch in British history. Her rule was marked by great industrial, political, cultural change, as well as a large expansion of the British empire as a whole. While viewed as one of the most dominant reigns of all time, it didn’t occur without discomfort. Victoria suffered from extreme menstrual pains, leading to her physician prescribing cannabis. Her doctor, Sir J. Russel Reynolds, once wrote: “When pure and administered carefully, [cannabis] is one of the most valuable medicines we possess”.
Richard Branson is the Evel Knievel of the billion-dollar business world. The notorious business magnate started as a high school dropout and skyrocketed to founding the Virgin Group, which currently controls over 400 businesses across a variety of fields. When he isn’t powerboat racing, hot-air ballooning or dabbling in commercial space travel, Branson is speaking out against the ‘War on Drugs’. He considers the charade to be an “abject failure”, saying that drugs should be looked at as a health issue – not a criminal issue. Personally, Richard has confirmed his cannabis use and urged parents to be open and understanding on the subject of pot with their children.
RiRi has been commanding the world of pop music since getting signed by Def Jam Recordings back in 2005. With unmitigated smash hits like ‘Umbrella’, ‘Diamonds’, and ‘We Found Love’, ruling the charts was never an issue. Even the cutthroat beauty industry quickly fell to Rihanna’s feet with the launch of her critically acclaimed Fenty Beauty brand, which was named one of Time magazine’s best inventions of 2017. What’s even better – as long as she’s been dominating the music and beauty industries, she’s been advocating for marijuana use. From rolling a blunt on her bodyguard’s bald head at Coachella 2012 to donning the iconic leaf on her fashion choices, Rihanna hasn’t had any issues voicing her love for the herb.
Sarah Silverman has been a mainstay in the comedy sphere since starting her career in 1992. Whether it’s writing for SNL in her rookie year, creating and starring in her own show for Comedy Central, or voicing the lead in a Disney animated film, Silverman is no slouch. She also isn’t any stranger to controversy, having gotten in hot water over racial jokes deemed offensive and insensitive. An area where she hasn’t gotten much backlash, however, is her stance on marijuana. Silverman is an open and avid pot user, even vaping on the Emmys red carpet back in 2014. She’s also fostered a safe space for other celebrity stoners, being the first famous person a young Seth Rogen ever smoked with.
If you’re alive and have even the slightest understanding of pop culture, this one doesn’t require any explanation. But if you’ve just awoken from a fifteen year coma, check out Pineapple Express, This is the End, and any other Seth Rogen movie that isn’t titled Steve Jobs. Speaking of . . .
No person has altered humans’ relationship with technology as much as Steve Jobs. The advent of tech like the Mac and the iPhone and the electronic ecosystem they foster has made it so that an Apple user is always connected, for better or worse. While originally starting as just a computer company in a cramped garage, Steve Job’s vision allowed Apple to expand and innovate in new areas, including music, mobile devices, and more. Why? Steve had a knack for knowing what people wanted before they wanted it. As for Steve, he wanted weed. He started smoking pot at the age of 15, a habit that persisted through the majority of his life.
Everybody’s mom has a favorite Susan Sarandon movie. Thelma & Louise, Pretty Baby, Bull Durham – she has a different pick for every mom in the world! And while that is extremely admirable, the bulk of her legacy lies with her political activism. Sarandon’s fervent efforts have led to her being appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador as well as receiving the Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award. The same emboldened attitude that led to her achieving those milestones informs her views on marijuana. Speaking to High Times in 2015, Sarandon said she’s “a huge believer that if more people smoked – not just for medicinal purposes, but for lifestyle purposes, instead of drinking – the world would be a better place.”
In the age of social media, the 24-hour news cycle seems like a basic aspect of life. That wasn’t always the case, though. Ted Turner revolutionized cable television and the way consumers see the world when he founded CNN as the first 24-hour news network. From there, he built a media empire including current cable mainstays like TBS, TNT and Comedy Central. It takes a lot of imagination to plan a media empire, which is why it’s no surprise that ‘Billionaire Ted’ is a long-time marijuana user.
William Shakespeare’s work has been admired and adapted across cultures and generations. It’s with little dissonance that Shakespeare’s widely considered the greatest writer and dramatist of all time. It’s only right that history’s greatest writer has, in recent years, been discovered as one of history’s greatest stoners. After examining pipes found in the Bard’s old Stratford home, evidence suggests that there were traces of cannabis in the paraphernalia.
After starting with a music industry marijuana megastar like Snoop Dogg, it’s only appropriate that we conclude our list with a true OG. Country singer-songwriter Willie Nelson has transcended the legacy of his own music, rising to cannabis culture icon over the past few decades. It’s been over 65 years since the puff of his first joint, and Willie still says he stays high “pretty much all the time”. While he’s recently stopped smoking weed due to breathing issues, between vaping, edibles, and tinctures, he’s not slowing down anytime soon!