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13 Best Stoner Movies & TV Shows of All Time

There are two kinds of stoners: the kind that likes to binge on TV shows and the kind that likes a movie marathon. We don’t all have the same attention span, right? Well, the canon of cannabis themed movies, along with binge-worthy TV shows is, quite frankly, enormous. We took the liberty of compiling the best ones of all time – yes! Of all time!

Wild imaginings of people gone mad; an 80-year drug war that has killed hundreds of thousands and imprisoned millions; smuggling, conspiracy, corruption, violence, and the unique relationship between dealers and their customers, these are just some of the explosive narratives that inspire the canon of cannabis themed movies. Let’s check out some of the best cannabis themed movies before moving on to TV shows.

Cannabis-themed movies for cannabis-minded watching

1. Reefer Madness (1936)

In the opening credits of Reefer Madness, the film makes its goal clear: to rid the world of “marihuana, a violent narcotic, an unspeakable scourge, the real public enemy number one,” and so began 80 years of cannabis prohibition – and the War on Drugs. Every cannabis user should watch this film, at least once, to see what birthed the madness of prohibition.

The film begins by showing a printing press and newspapers with headlines that scream “dope fight” and “drug war,”. In hindsight, it’s an early warning that the film is blatant propaganda. On top, the film claims to be based on “actual research into the result of Marihuana addiction,” which we now know is a lie. Here we are, eighty years later, still waiting on “actual research” into the results of cannabis addition.

It’s worth lighting up just to read the opening credits because they’re so fantastical. They claim the effects of cannabis include: “uncontrollable laughter … hallucinations … time slows down … monstrous extravagances … inability to direct thoughts … Shocking violence … incurable insanity.” Total balderdash, but audiences in the 1930s believed every word, as did their children, and their children’s children.

The first person to spark a joint is, of course, a musician who sucks on that smoke with wild eyes, a sharp contrast to the next scene where mother serves hot chocolate to Bill and Mary, the kind of kids that like to read Shakespeare for fun. This juxtaposition is a clumsy attempt to illustrate how far these kids are about to fall, and just to reinforce the point, Bill falls in a pond on his way out. The film’s only saving grace is that it’s so hammy it’s hilarious.

Funnily enough, the most realistic scene in the film is an exchange between some back room drug dealers. They are white men in suits who aren’t afraid to use violence to get what they want. In a later scene, an FBI agent and the school principal, Dr. Carroll, discuss how to handle the problem of marijuana.

“We educators can’t do anything until the public is sufficiently aroused,” warns Dr. Carroll, possibly one of the most telling lines in the whole script. It’s effectively stating both the purpose and the effect of the film, an effect that has shaped eighty years of misinformed global drug policy and put millions of innocent people behind bars.

It’s a mad world, baby, enjoy the ride.

2. Midnight Express (1978)

Based on a true story, Midnight Express is the film that depicts every cannabis user’s worst nightmare. In the opening scene, we watch as Billy Hayes, a young American man on holidays in Istanbul tapes 2 kilos of hash to his torso. A soundtrack of sinister music and his nervous heartbeat accompany the scene. Billy is about to get in trouble – big trouble.

Set in 1970, and released in 1978, Midnight Express is a cult classic, the story of a small-time smuggler, and how things can go terribly wrong when you take risks in foreign countries where the lawyers are as “bent as hairpins.” This is the movie that inspired the Banged Up Abroad genre, proving it did nothing to stop countless people from taking the same risks as Billy.

“What is crime? What is punishment? It seems to vary from time to time and place to place. What’s legal today is suddenly illegal tomorrow all because some society says it’s so. What’s illegal is suddenly legal because everybody’s doing it. You can’t put everybody in jail.”

These words are part of Billy’s desperate plea for freedom, words that’ll resonate with any cannabis user who’s had brushes with the legal system, or simply takes a moment to reflect on the plant’s history. Midnight Express is a film that proves sometimes the law gets it wrong, and justice means escaping it.

You’re in safe hands with this classic strain, the backbone of the Dutch coffee shop industry.

3. Pineapple Express (2008)

Nobody thinks of their weed dealer as a friend, right? That’s the question posed by Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) at the start of Pineapple Express. The film is a cannabis caper that turns out to be an epic bromance replete with car chases, gun-toting dads, self-conscious drug dealers, explosions, and a superstar strain.

When the going gets tough, turns out there’s only one person Dale can rely on. Yes, his weed dealer, Saul (James Franco). Released in 2008, the film shamelessly celebrates the lazy stoner stereotype in all his befuddled glory, and is a tribute to the unique relationship between the cannabis user and their dealer. It demonstrates a dynamic that may become a thing of the past in a future world where cannabis is legalized.

Warning! A grow op gets blown up at the end of the film, which no doubt many will agree was an act of gratuitous violence. The promoters used an actual smoking billboard on Sunset Boulevard to promote the film, but it had to be removed because people kept calling the fire department.

Melt into mindless entertainment with this Cannabis Cup Winner.

4. The Culture High (2014)

Featuring celebs Snoop Dogg and Joe Rogan, The Culture High is a documentary that discusses the big questions: should marijuana be legalized and what does prohibition say about our culture? It examines the arguments against cannabis legalization: that cannabis has a negative impact on mental health, and that it’s an addictive (and therefore dangerous) drug (Reefer Madness claimed the same thing – see a pattern?).

Dr Lester Grinspoon, professor Emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard, dismisses the first argument because levels of global schizophrenia have remained stable at 1% for the last sixty years though cannabis use has increased tenfold. The second issue is a little trickier. New insight from expert Dr Gabor Mate is slowly changing our understanding of addiction.

The documentary then examines the legal, medical, pharmaceutical and political factors affecting the legalization of cannabis. The info is a little out of date now, but the facts revealed are no less disturbing. For example, did you know that one American dies every 19 minutes from prescription drugs or that 270 cannabis dispensaries were raided during the first four years of Obama’s administration?

Did you know that the pharmaceutical industry earned $85 billion in revenue in 2012 or that the global market for cannabis is estimated to be worth around $400 billion? Did you know that for every $1 pharmaceutical companies spend on R&D, they spend $19 on promotion, and that the American government took out a patent on cannabis in the 1990s?

The thrust of the documentary is to demonstrate the injustice of prohibition, and it does that very effectively by illustrating how the system was set up to generate money for authorities with no regard for the people it punishes. This is a documentary every cannabis user should watch to understand what we’re fighting for, and why.

Get your thinking cap on with this much-loved sativa.

5. Who Shot the Sheriff? (2018)

Some would argue that no other musician represents the soul of cannabis more than Bob Marley, but that’s not all the reggae king of Jamaica represented. Though Bob spent his career trying to remain neutral – to focus on the music, the thing that mattered most – the political instability of his native country dragged him into the conflict.

Who Shot the Sheriff? is a documentary about the assassination attempt on Bob, and how he was betrayed by Jamaica’s ruling political parties. After the attempt on his life, Bob left Jamaica, went on tour, and produced the album Exodus, voted one of the most important records of all time.

Eventually, he was lured home, and upon his return in 1978, staged a peace concert that sparked a short-lived truce between the politicians and warring gangs. However, his message of One Love did not unite the people of Jamaica. In the end, it was another kind of enemy that killed him: cancer.

He died in 1981, a moment this documentary flashes over, while managing to never answer the question its title poses: Who shot the sheriff? This documentary is an important piece of cannabis history but one that prompts more questions than it answers.

Legendary Jamaican genetics for a film inspired by a legend.

No other plant has a history rich enough to inspire such a diverse bunch of movies and TV shows. Check out this list before lighting up!

The best weed TV shows you should be watching

Although there’s money and talent behind many weed series, none have been successful (or very good, to be honest).

Mary-Louise Parker played pot-dealing mom, Nancy Botwin, in Weeds.

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    Article content

    Despite marijuana’s acceptance, there’s one area that’s sorely missing improvement: TV. For the most part, weed TV shows don’t know how to get it right. Like most societal issues, cannabis is a thorny topic, one that seems hard to seamlessly thread into a narrative.

    Netflix has tried to bring weed to the forefront, developing different programs such as “Disjointed” and “Cooking on High.” Although there’s money and talent behind these series, none have been successful (or very good, to be honest), highlighting situations where cannabis is used as a gimmick and a way of gaining views instead of a tool to develop intriguing and relatable storylines.

    The best weed TV shows you should be watching Back to video

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    While there’s plenty of room for improvement within the weed TV show landscape, there are shows that have succeeded with amazing results. Interestingly enough, these programs tend to be half-hour comedies, weaving in the political with everyday experiences of people who like to smoke weed.

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    Here are the best cannabis-centric shows to add to your watch-list.

    Mary-Louise Parker played pot-dealing mom, Nancy Botwin, in Weeds.

    Weeds

    “Weeds” is an old show with an already dated premise, but it still works. Nancy Botwin is a mother of two whose husband just passed away and is left with all sorts of debts and challenges. Of course, her next step is to start selling illegal weed to her rich neighbours to earn some extra cash. Developed by Jenji Kohan, who created “Orange is the New Black”, “Weeds” is a comedy that’s also a drama, with different degrees of success per season. Throughout its eight-year run, the show managed to stay innovative and funny, and always featured a complex lead character. It’s also a time capsule of sorts, set during a time when weed was more taboo than it is now, offering glimpses of the present in which we’re living in. It can be streamed on Netflix.

    High Maintenance

    “High Maintenance” is an anthology series bound together by The Guy, a weed delivery man who works in New York. “High Maintenance” is the rare anthology series that’s consistent. Unlike most anthology programs out there that are strung together by a few great episodes and a bunch of filler, “High Maintenance” manages to tell engrossing and human stories that never overstay their welcome and that are particularly rewarding for New Yorkers. Watch “High Maintenance” on HBO.

    FILE: Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are BFFs living in New York City in the Comedy Central Series Broad City.

    Broad City

    Another great New York show is “Broad City” which, despite focusing on the messes and adventures of two best friends, is also an ode to weed. In every season, you can reliably find an episode where cannabis facilitates or hinders Abbi’s and Ilana’s adventures, all with hilarious and surprisingly touching results. “Broad City” has many fans and consists of four short seasons of half-hour episodes, making it the perfect binge for any mood. You can stream the full show on Hulu.

    That 70’s Show

    Despite the decades that have passed, “That 70’s Show” remains a weirdly ambitious sitcom. Lasting eight seasons made up of more than 20 episodes each, it’s an iconic show that managed to cultivate a very devoted fan base. “That 70’s Show” follows a group of teen friends and their parents, using a backdrop of the 1970s that informs all story lines, addressing politics, the sexual revolution and weed, all in sneaky PG-13 ways. Watching the show as an adult proves to be a different experience, especially once you realize that the notable circle scenes are made up of friends and sometimes parents, sitting around in a circle smoking weed, as one does. It can be streamed on Netflix.

    FILE: Donald Glover poses with the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for “Atlanta” during the 69th Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre on Sept. 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, Calif. / Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images Photo by / Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

    Although there’s money and talent behind many weed series, none have been successful (or very good, to be honest).