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Marijuana Scene Earns ’It’s Complicated’ an ’R’ Rating


The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is being chided for slapping an “R” rating on the adult comedy “It’s Complicated,” a film with little sex and violence that includes a scene where characters played by Steve Martin and Meryl Streep smoke marijuana.

The New York Times reported Dec. 25 that both movie buffs and marijuana activists have criticized MPAA for the rating. “This is an absurd ruling rooted in old cultural thinking,” said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Dan Isett, public policy director of the Parents Television Council, backed the MPAA. “The last I checked, smoking pot was still illegal, illicit behavior,” Isett said. “Too often material gets rated lower than it should be.”

Some observers see a disconnect between the MPAA’s attitude about marijuana and the growing acceptance of the drug for medical use. In 1980, when attitudes about marijuana use were more relaxed, MPAA gave the movie “9 to 5″ a PG rating even though the film included a scene where characters played by Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin smoke marijuana together.

MPAA officials would not comment on the rating for “It’s Complicated,” but some sources familiar with the decision said that the marijuana use itself wasn’t the reason for the “R” rating, but rather the fact that drug use was depicted without any negative consequences, thus perhaps leading children to think that smoking marijuana is fun.

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