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Marijuana Going Mainstream in Arts, Some Communities

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Drug references are blossoming in popular culture and marijuana use has become increasingly mainstream in urban areas like Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reported Aug. 30.

Even Cheech and Chong are making a comeback as marijuana references become more common in music, art galleries, movie theaters, and on TV. The trend coincides with the decriminalization of marijuana in some states and polls showing growing public support for easing penalties on marijuana users.

The trend represents a big departure from the 1980s and 1990s, when an admission of youthful marijuana use could get a politician in hot water. Today, even presidents readily admit such past 'indiscretions,' while entertainers feel free to acknowledge being current marijuana users despite the drug's illegal status.

“The people who are making movies and television shows, from the scriptwriters to the director and the producers — a very large chunk of those are probably people who grew up not only much more comfortable with marijuana's presence in society, but probably as consumers themselves of it,” said Robert Thompson, a professor of television and pop culture at the University of Syracuse's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. “As a result, it's almost switched with alcohol. Think back to Dean Martin and Foster Brooks — their whole comedy act was the fact that they were in the bag — that now is seen a lot less often. The stoner is the new drunk.”

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