Bill Murray Is Just Fine with You Smoking Weed
Charlie Llewellin/Creative Commons
Bill Murray, who some would consider one of the greatest living actors, did a Reddit AMA on Friday. His discussion ranged from what he thinks of the current Saturday Night Live cast to what it was like living in Japan during the filming of Lost in Translation. One response he gave struck a chord.
When asked what he thinks of smoking marijuana, recreationally, Murray responded:
You’re talking about recreation, which everyone is in favor of. You are also talking about something that has been illegal for so many years, and marijuana is responsible for such a large part of the prison population, for the crime of self-medication. And it takes millions and billions of dollars by incarcerating people for this crime against oneself as best can be determined. People are realizing that the war on drugs is a failure, that the amount of money spent, you could have bought all the drugs with that much money rather than create this army of people and incarcerated people…Now that we have crack and crystal and whatnot, people don’t even think about marijuana anymore, it’s like someone watching too many videogames in comparison. The fact that states are passing laws allowing it means that its threat has been over-exaggerated. Psychologists recommend smoking marijuana rather than drinking if you are in a stressful situation. These are ancient remedies, alcohol and smoking, and they only started passing laws against them 100 years ago.
Bill Murray is no stranger to weed. In 1970, the man was arrested and sentenced after being caught with 10 lbs. of marijuana at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. He jokingly said to a fellow passenger that he had two bombs in his bag, at the time, and he was subsequently searched. He got off with probation.
What Murray says about marijuana is something to be considered, though. Ever since the beginning of the war on drugs in the 1970s, the prison population has skyrocketed. Between 1970 and 2005, the prison population rose 700 percent, which far outnumbers population growth and any increase in rates of crime. It is estimated that $51 billion per year is spent on drug-related investigations and incarceration.
It is well known that the United States holds 25 percent of the world’s prison population, and yet, only 5 percent of the world population. Bill Murray may be a comedian, but you don’t have to be a politician to have an opinion on politics. If anyone has the right to speak out against the war on drugs, it’s someone who was alive to see it grow and someone who narrowly missed being a victim of it. Imagine your life without Bill Murray, as he would be sitting in a prison cell instead of filming Where the Buffalo Roam or SNL, which didn’t happen long after his arrest.
We use comedy and distractions as a reprieve from these simple facts, and we can thank Murray for providing those to us, but sometimes you have to be serious. President Obama was once known as “The Interceptor” because of his habit of intercepting joints while they were being passed around, and considering one in 15 African-American men above 18 is in jail, he got lucky.
As for Murray’s comments on weed being better for you than alcohol, there is some truth there. Studies have shown that smoking marijuana does not affect your lungs like tobacco, and it is pretty much impossible to die from smoking too much marijuana at once. However, most psychologists would agree that you should avoid both if you can’t control yourself.
Get a personalized roundup of VICE’s best stories in your inbox.
By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.
"These are ancient remedies, alcohol and smoking, and they only started passing laws against them 100 years ago."
Bill Murray recruited Chevy Chase to help him score weed during the filming of “Caddyshack”
More than 35 years after its release date, “Caddyshack” is still providing us with entertainment. Think some of the scenes in the classic movie were wild? They’re nothing compared to the film’s off-the-screen stories.
Enter Chevy Chase, who in the new National Lampoon documentary tells quite a tale involving Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield, and a late-night search for marijuana. As the story goes, Murray (and at least one of his brothers) came to Chase’s Florida hotel room at about 3 a.m. looking for “grass.” When Chase didn’t have any, Murray enlisted the “quote-unquote star” of the film to go ask Dangerfield for some because he had more pull and a better relationship with the comedian.
Chase obliged and despite the late time, so did Dangerfield. Well, sort of. According to Chase, Dangerfield actually sold Murray “a bag of seeds.” Not that that stopped the gang from smoking them. Take it away, Chevy:
Bill Murray recruited Chevy Chase to help him score weed during the filming of "Caddyshack"