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Women Who Weed

  • by Clare Sausen, NORML Junior Associate November 14, 2017

    women weed blogIn the era of increasing acceptance and outright legalization of cannabis use, cannabis-centric television keeps getting better and better. From comedies like The Lucas Bros Moving Co (Fox) to documentaries like Weediquette (Viceland) and dramas like High Maintenance (HBO), you will never be at a loss for something to zone out to. Unless, of course, you’re a woman.

    Through the zonked-out adventures of stoner dudes in the Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke and Pineapple Express, the category of “stoner comedies” was born and solidified as commercially successful. However, as is true in the more general comedy category, women are frequently excluded from this narrative– lest it become a national issue (see: the release of the all-female Ghostbusters and the subsequent end of the world).

    Thankfully, the male-dominated world of cannabis tv is finally changing. More women are being showed smoking weed and not being demonized for it. However, like the revolution to end cannabis prohibition itself, there is still much work to be done. So, let’s look at the most prominent fictional female cannabis icons in popular media today:

    Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) –  Weeds 

    3leafOne of the most prominent female cannabis users is Nancy Botwin, fictional star of HBO’s Weeds. Nancy is a sexy, suburban soccer mom looking to make a little extra cash who turns to selling weed to support her family. Unfortunately, however, Nancy doesn’t really smoke weed—just sells it. Throughout the show’s nine season run, Nancy is only shown smoking weed twice. Plus, there’s the fact that she started as a small-time suburban weed dealer and ended up entangled in the Mexican heroin cartel running a laundering front with multiple deaths on her hands. So, overall, not great for the cause. My favorite episode: “Pittsburgh”, season 2 episode 12.

    Abbi Abrams and Ilana Wexler (Abbi Jacobsen and Ilana Glazer) – Broad City  

    leaf5For millennial weed smoking women, Broad City (Comedy Central) is our Cheech and Chong. Abbi and Ilana are two young women navigating the messy lives of millennials in New York City—but not before hitting their gold Pax, of course. Abbi and Ilana are two of the most prominent female cannabis users in pop culture today and are generally here for being yourself in every way possible. The women depict cannabis use in an everyday sense as well as in a funny, typical stoner way (they regularly video chat each other as they rip bongs on their toilets). Perhaps I’m biased, but the rating system for these reviews is leaf emojis so I don’t think we have to worry too much about journalistic integrity here. My favorite episode: “Coat Check”, season 2 episode 9. Honorable mention: “Pu$$y Weed”, season 1 episode 2.

    Donna Pinciotti and Jackie Burkhart (Laura Prepon and Mila Kunis) – That 70’s Show ?

    2leafIn That 70’s Show, the girls aren’t really considered a part of “The Circle” until season 2, and despite their introduction, Foreman, Hyde, Kelso, and Fez remain the core members. While Donna is viewed as more of an equal, Jackie is usually used as comedic relief and makes ditzy remarks about shopping and makeup. Plus, Jackie acts much more stereotypically affected by weed, leading to comments like “no more for the cheerleader” from the boys. The whole show is hokey in and of itself (remember their cover of Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker”?), so the “girls like shopping” jokes and the fact that the girls are constantly “catfighting” is to be expected. Still, not a great representation of women who weed. My favorite episode: “Reefer Madness” Season 3, Episode 1.  

    Ruth Whitefeather Feldman (Kathy Bates) – Disjointed

    4leafOkay, look—I had the same reservations about Disjointed that you did. It’s a corny multi-camera set-up with a painful laugh track and a lot of stereotypical, one-dimensional characters. BUT, Ruth Whitefeather Feldman, played by the legendary Kathy Bates, is a shining light that will guide you through this show.  She’s a 70-year-old single mom running a dispensary in California, working to help and heal (or, as the show cringingly refers to it, “healp”) her patients through the magical medicine of cannabis. Ruth is a great example for women that have been a part of the cause since the 70’s and how her activism is affected by the changing perceptions of marijuana consumption and legalization. You must be able to withstand the uproarious laughter of the audience at jokes that fall flat to get to the best parts of this show: innuendos, weed, and trippy animation—but it’s worth it. My favorite episode: “The Worst”, Part 1 Episode 10 (the last five minutes, in particular).

     

    Those are my thoughts, tell me yours in the comments below!

     

    15 Responses to “Women Who Weed”

    1. Evening Bud says:

      It’s interesting to me that both the ’70s Show and Broad City used a filming technique that Dennis Hopper (as director) used in the movies, The Trip and Easy Rider, and that is the “circle,” with the camera making a 360 degrees pan of people smoking a joint.

      I loved Broad City from the start, and really appreciated in Season One how they would show Abbi and Ilana smoking a J, and then going about their business in a regular manner. I loved the realism of that. Course, I like the episodes even better when they’re having those colorful sweet dreams . . .

      I honestly cannot think of another TV show that has prominent pot smokers, much less prominent women pot smokers (except of course Weeds and Disjointed).

    2. Matt says:

      Hahaha….love this article….love women who weed! Beautiful! More later on my thoughts!

      😀

      • Matt says:

        More later from me, again, but don’t forget great shows like Weediquette, and Bong Apetit. Intelligent, beautiful, sexy, women who weed, love this piece!

    3. Julian says:

      Didn’t Meryl Streep smoke some weed in some 90s flick? Was it Postcards From the Edge? Can’t remember. I was never really into her movies but I remember this one clip of her reaching into a desk drawer and pulling out a joint and sparking it up. I think it was a comedy. It’s bothering the hell outta me I cant name the movie. Anyway its the first time I saw the image of a well-to-do woman smoking weed without it being a big deal or her being naked or into hard drugs or even being the central part of the movie.

      Not that theres anything wrong with the latter… Theres a half naked stoner girl in the 90s movie the Stoned Age. One dude has her in the jacuzzi but breaks out some dirt weed. She throws it back at him and leaves. That made the film for me. Thats a role model for women, isnt it?

      Malia Obama got caught on video smoking weed with some friends at a Lalapalooza last year… which is where young women apparently have gathered for decades to “get real high” and ask “Hey? Whats going on?” Dont get it but hey, Malia could be President one day!

      The real unsung heroes were the ladies from the NORML Women’s Alliance that convinced Justin Trudeau to legalize Canada by giving him the pitch that “Al Capone would have loved decriminalization.” Wish that Texas NORML Executive Director Jax Finkle or Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy Executive Director Heather Fazio could convince the Texas legislature to skip decrim and go straight to legalization that way.

      Truth is I’ve met more female marijuana activists then I’ll ever see on the big screen or on TV. 11-year-old Alexis Bortell is the most famous marijuana consumer I ever saw on stage as far as I’m concerned. Who needs glamour when we have real marijuana consuming females in activist and executive power?

      • Evening Bud says:

        I seem to remember some brouhaha 20-30 years ago when Candice Bergen smoked a J on the TV show Murphy Brown. I never watched the show myself–was working nights at that time. But I do recall all the buzz about it. (In fact, I seem to recall Dan Quayle, George Bush the Elder’s VP, complaining about it. Of course.)

        • Julian says:

          You just reminded me of that episode of Roseanne where she gets high with Dan and finds her sister in the bathtub freaking out. They decided they were “too old” to keep smoking weed unfortunately. Still a funny episode.

    4. Mark Mitcham says:

      As Clare Sausen writes above, “Thankfully, the male-dominated world of cannabis tv is finally changing.”

      Agreed. People need role models, especially those who are politically or socially isolated. In the fascist world of marijuana prohibition, “stoners” are explicitly deemed to be outsiders.

      I grew up in a time and place where support for marijuana legalization was virtually non-existent, and where reefer madness reigned supreme. Aside from a very few trusted friends, my role models were all I had to provide me with a positive identity, and a sense of personal legitimacy.

      There was no pro-pot TV at that time. There was only Cheech and Chong, and their vinyl album “Big Bambu.”

      When males adopt male role models, sexism against women and gays can be unwittingly perpetuated. Too often in male-dominated stoner media, women are portrayed as cannabis paraphernalia themselves. Women are part of the circle, not part of the pipe.

      I won’t bash Cheech and Chong. They helped me a lot. If I was sexist, that’s on me, and I apologize for that.

      But, that is why it is good to have more women, in media and in society, “coming out” as cannabis consumers. Hopefully, younger generations will now be able to see just how NORML marijuana use can really be.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        My role models also included Gilbert Shelton’s “Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.” (They’re cartoon characters. I took them way too seriously. A word of advice: don’t try everything you see in a cartoon!)

        By the way, I love the new Lady Ghostbusters!

        • Evening Bud says:

          Ah yes, the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. My older brother used to shop sometimes at Albuquerque’s head shops back in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and sometimes he’d let me go along. And his main interest were those Underground Comix, Gilbert Shelton, S. Clay Wilson, Robert Crumb, Robert Williams–Zap Comix, etc. The Furry Freak Brothers definitely made getting high look fun. I recall many episodes, tho, where they were running from the cops.

    5. Miles says:

      I am a long time fan of Cheech and Chong. I was quite outraged when Tommy was locked up in prison by anti-marijuana zealots. Personally, and I kid you not one bit, I would prefer that Tommy Chong be the President of the United States over Trump or Hillary!

      I watched the first two episodes of Disjointed but didn’t like it much… To juvenile for my taste and the jokes weren’t all that great.

      I would like to recommend a movie starring a woman, Anna Faris! This movie is hilarious and everyone who appreciates marijuana-based humor should see this; preferably under the influence! 😉

      • Miles says:

        Oh, and by the way, the name of the movie is “Smiley Face” :)

      • Evening Bud says:

        I have seen that movie with Anna Faris, and yes, it is funny! Especially after a couple of tokes yourself. I thought it was funnier than Pineapple Express, tho I liked that flick too.

        My first concert, as a high school kid, was a Cheech and Chong concert in Albuquerque in 1972. I bought my ticket early and was on about the 4th or 5th row. Still recall it vividly–was at the Civic Auditorium. (The “seedy” Civic Auditorium Time Magazine once called it in an article.)

    6. Tim Felger says:

      Starting another store is not exactly what I want to do but if you do not own the science about marijuana, you do not own the science about global warming, As I watch all the trees die, I wonder if anyone will actually help me because it is the right thing to do? Repost this please and ask your friends to donate.

      http://bit.ly/2yUW6iQ

      The Forced Opposition

      Tim

    7. Lee says:

      Tommy Ching was on that 70’s show. And I thought disjointed was great. Not what I had expected from Kathy Bates.

    8. Lee says:

      Tommy Chong was on The 70’s Show too. I thought disjointed was great. Not what I expected from Kathy Bates.

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