When Woody Harrelson revealed that he had stopped smoking pot, it did not go unnoticed. After all, the Hunger Games actor has long been known as one of Hollywood’s biggest marijuana supporters, serving on the advisory board for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, alongside Willie Nelson, for years and even attempting to open his own legal marijuana dispensary in Hawaii in 2016.
“I actually stopped smoking pot almost a year ago,” he recently explained to Vulture, adding that he still considered weed a “great” drug.
So why did Harrelson quit?
“Just 30 solid years of just partying too f***ing hard,” he said.
As surprising as it was, the announcement probably didn’t affect many people’s view of the star. An exclusive new Yahoo News/Marist Poll finds that most Americans — 74 percent — say it makes no difference to them whether their favorite celebrity uses marijuana. The number increases to 81 percent among millennials, ages 18 to 34. Most Americans also have no problem with a celebrity publicly supporting the legalization of marijuana. About 56 percent approve of that, compared with 38 percent who do not approve.
The data is part of a new special report from Yahoo News that delves into the subject of Weed & the American Family. The Marist Poll conducted interviews of 1,122 adults, ages 18 or older, on mobile or landline phones throughout the continental United States on March 1-7.
According to the results, a majority of Americans don’t hold using marijuana against celebrities because many of them have tried the drug for themselves. Fifty-two percent of adults 18 or older have at least tried marijuana, and 44 percent of the people who have tried it currently use it.
Still, slightly more than one in five Americans (22 percent) say they would have less respect for their favorite celebrity if they found out the celeb uses marijuana in his or her personal life. (It’s worth noting that people are more likely to hold marijuana use against athletes; just under three in 10 people, or 28 percent, say they would think less of their favorite pro athlete for using marijuana recreationally. At the same time, nearly seven in 10 Americans, 69 percent, approve of those athletes using the drug to alleviate pain.)
We’ve certainly come a long way from then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s infamous claim that he “didn’t inhale.” Today, eight states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for recreational use, while more than half the country has made it legal for people to use marijuana for medical purposes. No wonder celebs including Wiz Khalifa, Whoopi Goldberg, and Melissa Etheridge have gotten in on the cannabis craze, launching their own marijuana brands.
And no wonder few people batted an eye when noted pot fan Miley Cyrus threw a weed-themed bash for fiancé Liam Hemsworth and younger sister Noah in January, which included a weed bar for guests stocked with Snoop Dogg’s line of weed, Merry Jane. (Back in November 2013, Cyrus also lit a joint on stage while accepting an award at the 2013 MTV Europe Music Awards roughly three months after she infamously danced with Robin Thicke to his “Blurred Lines” hit at the VMAs stateside. People were arguably more upset about the twerking.)
Snoop, who runs a lifestyle website for cannabis users, has proclaimed, “There’s certain things that marijuana does that really can help out the community if you put it together the right way.”
Weed advocate Susan Sarandon touts the medicinal benefits of the drug. The Yahoo News/Marist Poll indicated that 83 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical reasons.
“It’s absurd that more states haven’t legalized it,” Sarandon said in the August 2015 issue of the pro-marijuana publication High Times. “It can be an important source of revenue. You also see the reports on kids who have seizures that are prevented by medical marijuana. You see the relief it gives to vets. … It’s also a lovely way to socialize and be with people — and to be with yourself and de-stress.”
Even Harrelson, in the very interview in which he admitted changing his smokin’ ways, continued to talk up weed.
“I don’t have a problem at all with smoking,” the former Cheers star said. “I think it’s great. I think it’s a great drug.”
Clearly, a lot of Harrelson’s fans agree with him — or at least they don’t disagree strongly enough for it to keep them away from his movies.
Read more from the Yahoo Weed & the American Family series:
- Americans families defending pot as never before, Yahoo News/Marist Poll finds
- How Republicans and Democrats in Congress are joining forces to defeat Sessions’ war on weed
- Cannabis advocate Melissa Etheridge: ‘I’d much rather have a smoke with my grown kids than a drink’
- These mothers of suicides don’t think marijuana is harmless
- ‘Cannabis has made me a better parent’: One mom’s confession
- Photos: Small pot farms in Northern California thrive amid fears of Big Business
- Why 4/20 became a pot smoker’s holiday