The long-standing stereotype associated with cannabis users is that of the hacky sack-playing, dreadlocked skateboarder or surfer dude (or dudette) who can barely make it off the couch to take another bong hit. The reality, however, is that cannabis users come in all forms and personalities: men and women, business professionals and educators, actors and creative types, old and young. In fact, these 7 people may surprise some folks who have a pre-conceived notion of how a cannabis user looks and acts.
1. Queen Victoria
Turns out the figurehead of Victorianism and its strict morality saw nothing wrong with using cannabis as medication. Her personal physician, Dr. J. R. Reynolds, wrote about the herb’s powerful painkilling properties and reportedly prescribed it to the monarch for menstrual cramps and pain during childbirth.
2. Bill Gates
The on-and-off Wealthiest Man in The World may have been just another college dropout if he hadn’t gone on to completely change the world with his ideas about computing. Turns out that cannabis was his drug of choice at Harvard and he credits his experimentation with helping him to look at things in new ways. Perhaps marijuana opened the window that led us all to Windows.
3. Barbra Streisand
The award-winning singer, actress, author, philanthropist and all-around superwoman isn’t one to sit around and let the boys have all the fun. In 1970, miffed that the men of the Rat Pack were allowed to enjoy their favorite vice onstage by sipping from tumblers throughout their acts, Streisand famously started lighting up onstage with her band. In a 1972 Rolling Stone interview she said, “I was great, it relieved all my tensions,” and also admitted that her reputation on The Strip ended up garnering her an endless supply.
4. Steve Martin
This funny man says it best on his 1978 comedy album A Wild and Crazy Guy: "I used to smoke marijuana. But I'll tell you something: I would only smoke it in the late evening. Oh, occasionally the early evening, but usually the late evening–or the mid-evening. Just the early evening, mid-evening and late evening. Occasionally, early afternoon, early mid-afternoon, or perhaps the late-mid-afternoon. Oh, sometimes the early-mid-late-early morning…But never at dusk."
5. Jennifer Aniston
As Rachel Green on Friends, Jennifer Aniston became a household name and earned a reputation as “America’s Sweetheart.” But since admitting in a 2001 Rolling Stone interview, “I enjoy [marijuana] once in a while. There's nothing wrong with that,” she has also become an example that even the girl next door can enjoy the plant. Her choices in marijuana-friendly acting roles are another way she shows her support.
6. Ted Turner
The media mogul has reportedly long been a cannabis user and advocate. His controversial 1987 ban on cigarettes for employees at his TBS network prompted former CNN anchor Gwenn Scott (and angry cigarette smoker) to claim, “it is common knowledge that Turner sits in his office and smokes marijuana." Turner, luckily, backs up his personal choices and has over the years rejected or ignored requests from the DEA and other groups to pull or modify marijuana-friendly content on his networks.
7. John McEnroe
McEnroe reigned as the number one tennis player in the world for much of the 1980s and has snatched up hundreds of titles throughout his career, so it surprised some fans when his autobiography revealed that he was a regular cannabis user. He wasn’t just talking about the off-season either; he recollects relaxing the night before matches or celebrating after with some of his favorite herb.
image sources: whisper header: CEBImagery.com on Flickr; Bill Gates: Steve Jurvetson on Flickr; Barbra Streisand: Deaf RED Bear on Flickr; Steve Martin: wfuv on Flickr; Ted Turner: Talk Radio News Service on Flickr; John McEnroe: Joe Shlabotnik on Flickr