Thank You James Franco
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Thank You James Franco


Thank You James Franco

At first glance, there isn’t much to the UK’s Daily Mail recap of Seth Rogan’s recent interview with Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, where the Pineapple Express star revealed who he has and hasn’t smoked weed with. Since I’m someone who is perhaps overly sensitive about being “outed” as part of a certain subculture, my initial reaction was, “I hope Seth got permission from these people to tell the world they smoke pot!” Which I immediately realized is so stupid to think let alone type that it almost needs an LOL at the end of it.

Because, like kale and coconut anything, marijuana has become one of the things our society has shifted its collective attitude on. Everyone expects  kids in junior high and above to be exposed to some level of peer pressure when it comes to drug use but at this point it’s gone so far beyond their peers that the old I learned it from watching you, dad PSA is nothing to guffaw at.

No Weed for Franco

Still very much illegal on a federal level, every state has its own marijuana laws. Yet pot use has become so  mainstream that not only is it okay for a celebrity to admit on television that he smokes, and freely “spill the herbal tea” on his other celeb friends who do as well but it’s now become shocking that an actor like James Franco, who is known to hang out with stoners, doesn’t partake (Side note: I have always hated the term “partake” when it comes to drugs. It sounds so nerdily pretentious. So if you are with me on that, I apologize for being one of them). Cohen goes as far as to say that Franco not being a pot smoker is “headline news.”

Now obviously this is also related to that fact that Franco played a super stoner in Pineapple Express alongside Rogan. So I guess what everyone is really shocked about is that James Franco can act. Which is much sadder to me than Seth Rogan not having blazed up with him.

Pot’s Got Its Perks

I want to be clear that I am not at all against marijuana use. I have smoked a lot of pot in my life and even though it wasn’t the drug for me (and I never really liked it), I have seen first hand the benefits that pot and pot-based products can have on people—including my parents. But I am starting to become concerned that the social pendulum has swung a bit too far in the direction of ganja glorification.

HuffPo reported on a recent survey done by NBC News/The Wall Street Journal which determined that out of marijuana, sugar, tobacco and alcohol, more people felt sugar to be more dangerous than pot. In some ways I would agree with that. But the reason sugar may now be potentially more harmful to our society than cannabis is that it’s accepted so widely. These days, sugar is hard to avoid. It’s in nearly everything we eat. No one would look twice at an eight-year-old buying a candy bar but it would be a different story if that same child were buying a dime bag. There is no argument that sugar gives you a high or is addictive. And while people may not be killing each other over candy, I have definitely wanted to kill people when I wanted or was coming down off candy.

So if we are now living in a time when celebrities talk openly about pot use and only eight percent of American think marijuana is more dangerous than sugar (and 49% think marijuana is less dangerous than tobacco), we really are beginning to blur the lines when it comes to the messages we send to kids about drug use. So I’d like to personally thank James Franco for being someone kids and non-using young adults and look to and see that they don’t have to “partake” in to be talented, successful and totally cool.

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About Author

Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.