TV Shows Who Relaxed The Rules With Weed

Televisions came into people's homes mid-20th century to squeaky clean, picture perfect people pretending this was how to live.  Not too long before that, marijuana was criminalized and made illegal for recreational or medical use.  It certainly had no place on Stepford-esque broadcast television shows as it was viewed as amoral and taboo.  Come the late 1960's and early 1970's as counterculture was on the ride, one may have heard a mention on a police show.  It may have been discussed, but never dare seen.  The 1980's may have featured it, but often were accompanied with the label "A Very Special Episode," often using the opportunity to show the dangers of drugs.  It was clear where society's valued skewed.

All of that changed in the next millennium when people finally loosened up and quit overreacting about cannabis.  Seen often across the cable board without people batting an eyelash, weed was nearly free of the taboo factor.  As more states examined conditional use  laws by state such as as Colorado and the western seaboard states legalizing.  With this trend following, broadcast networks picked up on the trend.  Also, their ratings were sagging lower than aged cleavage and they were looking for new eyes to stare upwards.  Janet Jackson's floppy wardrobe made it clear not to push the nudity envelope, so the networks decided to go green and baked up some magic.  The 2010's delivered a better variety of characters in the weeds, even on CBS with characters like Mike and Molly's Victoria (Katy Mixon) in the earlier hours.  This decade delivered better examples recreational weed smokers defying stereotypes.

Gone are the days of weed being a risque way to break the rules.  Everyone loved That 70's Show, and thankfully in most state that rule-breaking pastine is left for teenagers.  There were plenty of examples of said characters delivering negative examples of weed smokers in the 2010's (the entire male cast of CBS' Mom as an example).  Where TV series stood out was delivering high-powered professionals, people in jobs of status, parents, educators and people seen as upstanding in society.  Implementing this facet with normal, relatable characters broke the ceiling and helped folks lighten up.  Take a peek at the shows which made it acceptable to go green:

Mike and Molly

CBS opened the decade by breaking the sitcom mold profiling plus-sized love.  This lovable, diverse ensemble provided several avenues to update character standards, including weed smoking Victoria Flynn (Katy Mixon).  Indeed a wildcard beautician to the dead, Molly's energetic sister keeps it on the mellow with openness in dialogue, and her love for weed. While other Chuck Lorre pushed the boundaries with toilet humor, Mike and Molly decided instead to display an accepting attitude toward alcohol an cannabis use.  A Chicago police officer, Mike (Billy Gardell) knows his sister-in-law gets blazed.  He has even caught his school teacher girlfriend Molly (Melissa McCarthy) enjoying a red and green evening over a glass of merlot and a joint.  20 years earlier, this would have been a trite conflict with forced laughs.  Instead, Mike playfully mocks his mate for enjoying her evening a bit too much.

Like the prior mention, the entire ensemble is gainfully employed and (usually) law-abiding.  No one is stoned on the job, and all are handled in down time.  Years ago, school teachers were often seen as uptight and fearing their image not being pure due to district politics, are not supposed to even associate with said drudges.  Molly Flynn showed you may hold a polished image yet schedule some fun in your downtime.  Mike and Molly holds the distinction of being one of the first sitcoms to feature habitual marijuana recreation without the topic being "an issue."

Last Man Standing

A family of conservatives living in the state of Colorado leaves plenty of opportunities for weed bashing.  However, Last Man Standing updated the overdone formula and showed Mike Baxter's (Tim Allen) father Bud (the late Robert Forster) opening a dispensary cleverly titled "Bud's Buds."  A shocking departure for a crusty, conservative man who earned ire for spanking his great-grandson.  Use was hardly displayed on screen, but the mention and business foray depicted even conservatives enjoy an energetic business venture.

Season 7 not only jolted the series from ABC to FOX, but writers elected to kill off Bud.  This was catalyzed as Forster was suffering from health ailments and they gave him a sendoff prior to his late 2019 death.  Not all soured this progressive move forward for LMS.  In a character-driven twist deeper into this season, Mike's liberal son-in-law Ryan (Jordan Masterson) managed to assume control of Bud's Buds.  A normalized stance toward weed helps balance the tone on this conservative sitcom and is needed to acknowledge the 21st Century exists.

2 Broke Girls

All mentions on this list break away from negative, lethargic stereotypes of weed smokers.  2 Broke Girls' Max (Kat Dennings), however, doesn't quite pass this grade.  A snarky, rough around the edges waitress, she also an equal opportunist for drinking and smoking.  Nearly every episode featured Max referencing being high (as well as liberal doses of crass toilet humor).  Plenty of visuals featuring weed came on display, regardless of the 8:00 timeslot which networks often refuse to display "suggestive" topics in the events children were viewing.

Where 2 Broke Girls gains props for breaking stereotypes of stoners is Max somehow does it all.  She eludes to drinks a gallon of booze, smokes a bong and enjoys one night stands like any red blooded 20-something.  And yet she somehow never looks grey from a hangover, hardly tows the stupidity line and still manage to spit out crass insults in a split second.  Someone stoned out of their gourd would never be capable of handling that tall order.  In addition (in irony of the title), Max is never not working.  During all 6 seasons of CBS' longstanding sitcom, Max always held down two jobs.  She nannied, waitressed, built a dynamic business, and waitressed some more.  And demonstrated you can bake your weed and eat it too.

Better Things

Another gainfully employed lady named Sam Fox (Pamela Adlon) always seems to have a cloud hanging over her.  Friends, daughters, herself and even her aging mother seems to be high.  and yet, all is normal in Sam's world.  Desirable gatherings by the pool always have a bottle of spirits, cigarettes and a healthy joint accessorize hangouts with girlfriends.  The gentleman slip out to the garage and enjoy splitting a joint, much like seeing two buddies sharing a beer in the garage ages ago.  Where Better Things sets a glowing example is Sam's imperfect life is upstanding, upscale and inventive.  After returning home and finding her teenage daughter getting blazed in her home with her friends, Sam kicked into angry parent mode.  Not because she caught them smoking, but demanded they not do it in front of the underaged children in the house.  Sam's stance is enjoy your vices, but keep the tact and etiquette in play.

That 70's Show

Having aired from 1998-2006, the series hardly did a thing to lend a progressive view on weed (besides majority of the cast being baked).  Where That 70's Show gains notice is it stylishly managed to incorporate recreational weed use under stricter guidelines for the late 90's and early 2000's.  "Circle time" hardly displayed any smoke, yet viewers knew what was going on.  The topic was openly discussed, yet none of the adults seemed to know what was going on in the basement.  The only inconsistency was parents in the 1970's could recognize something was stinking up their house, even if they never fired a bowl or joint.  How did that basement ventilate the cloud so well!?


A sitcom centered on addiction leaves cannabis hardly a shocking topic.  It is brought up often as an anecdote for when the ladies were at their worst before they swore off the sauce.  Earlier seasons depicted consumption in a negative light (and oddly with every male depicting stoned oafs).  Later in the series, showrunners relaxed their stance as not only had times changed, but the ladies had stronger control over their addictions.  Lighthearted misadventures including four of the addicts accidentally consuming cookies highlighted the funniest visuals presented during its run.  And a Season 7 field trip which the addicts checked out a dispensary and were amazed how much had changed in the years after they overdid the vices as one character noticed "Pot goes on sale!?"  Their visit also demonstrated weed was not for the addicts, rebellious or people who don't fit into an office setting.  The series works continually to stay current on recreational hobbies as well as issues to show how addicts can mingle with the green culture without threatening their sobriety.

The Conners

The Roseanne continuation hardly shocks anymore as its loud roots never shied away from progression.  The original tackled a plethora of envelope pushing issues throughout the 80's, 90's and for a few episodes in 2018 (the former star could have used a brownie to tone down her Twitter behavior.).  So how can the continuation update the blueprint so it isn't simply "Roseanne Lite?"  They displayed a continually relaxed stance toward changing societal norms, weed included.  Back in 1993, Roseanne "shocked" its audience with the three adult leads opting to get stoned.  Come 2020, Roseanne's granddaughter Harris (Emma Kenney) regularly gets high with best friend/roomie Odessa.

And when her mother catches the two, she'd rather embarrass the ladies with sarcasm.  No groundings.  No lectures about the dangers of drugs.  Just a good old reflection of showing how silly the ladies appeared.The Conners recognizes smoking weed is hardly "sparking a doobie" as the baby boomers in 1993 knew it in their heyday.  It is everywhere and widely accepted in 2020.

Grace and Frankie

Netflix's longstanding series doesnt wreak of the usual stank of a habitual weed consumer.  Instead, it is a plush, beautiful setting featuring two over-70 leads getting involved in hikinks.  Grace (Jane Fonda) prefers martinis and brown liquor, while free spirited Frankie (Lily Tomlin) rather prefers going green.  And guess which one overindulges?  The refreshing quality Frankie displays is she never tows the line of excess and maintains peace and harmony.  The show relaxes the tone toward marijuanas, preferring to treat it on par with alcohol and cigarettes.  The characters share socially as though having a cup of coffee.  A peek into the fridge also displays Frankie storing buds as part of her kitchen.  Both ladies have hit the joint, and yet weed blends into the beautiful backdrop.  Both leads are common messes, and their substances of choice are hardly the reason.


A sitcom featuring an overload of cannabis and canned laughter?  Chuck Lorre crafted an odd mixture in his first (and perhaps last) sitcom entry on Netflix "greenlighted."  Disjointed didn't survive outside its 2017-18 run, and it wasn't because the principles got high in every episode.  Rather, it was the awkward laugh track and crass, profane dialogue not mixing which sank this intriguing premise.  Ruth Whitefeather Feldman (Kathy Bates) finally achieves her lifelong dream of opening a dispensary.  And rather than treat this haven like a liquor store, she preferred to operate it like a medical office and counseling center.

Where Bates struck a grand slam was her humanizing the weed culture and working to defy stereotypes.  She was indeed a former flower child and activist, but she was no pushover.  She used her mean, aggressive edge to build a franchise and run it to the strictest standards.  She knew the neighboring businesses despised her "wellness center" and half of the time she understood.  She loathed having stereotypical stoners like Dank and Dabby (whom she frequently referred to as "those two f---sticks") loitering in the parking lot outside her shop.  Ruth worked feverishly to break the image of weed smokers being disruptive loads on society.  And a reminder to all when pursuing a vice or pastime, there is standards and etiquette to follow.  Too bad Lorre didn't follow sitcom etiquette, as canned laughter and crass obscenities mix like water and electricity.  It would have been a treat to see Disjointed defy the standards a little longer.

The Muppets

Weed was never on display on this failed 2015-16 ABC revival.  However, the Jim Henson creations took on more of an adult tone during this entry, attempting to emulate The Office.  Adult discussions including cannabis were discussed at length.  If The Muppets was bold enough to address, why light your torches every time weed is discussed?  The Muppets' taboo breaking move leads readers to wonder what else was on display with children's entertainment over the years.  Classic Tom and Jerry and Bugs Bunny cartoons frequently displayed alcohol and cigarette use, so why not distribute the weight evenly on educating children about vices?

How I Met Your Mother

Wanna sandwich?  One of television's sleekest CBS staples from 2005-14, the How I Met Your Mother followed an ensemble of upscale working professionals.  The series' ensemble steered more toward drinks during its earlier run.  However, the network began pushing the ensemble into green territory during its last two seasons.  More clever, the group developed the code for "sandwiches" when coordinating their pastime.  Only one physical display occurred where Ted and Marshall were stoned during a concert.  But who hasn't done that!?  The series displayed an appealing group of characters who grabbed their sandwiches at appropriate time.  They weren't firing up a bowl during their lunch break or disrupting their surroundings.  They found their balance between adventure and responsibilities which led them to said adventure.

Share this

Related Posts

Next Post »