Marijuana Goes Mainstream: Pot Showing Up On Television

Baby Boomers and older Generation Xers can remember a time when television shows were hesitant to show anyone even drinking a beer.

Everyone, it seemed, wanted to hang on to a Mayberry vision of what life is like in America.

But television these days takes great pains to mirror actual life (well, with the occasional zombie thrown in). At the same time, marijuana legalization has swept (certain parts) of the country.

So, you know what that means. Time to for marijuana to go mainstream – even on television.

Marijuana Goes Mainstream: Bill Maher, The Groundbreaker

The most famous recent case of someone firing up a joint on television came from comedian Bill Maher. His “Real Time With Bill Maher” show has been a staple on HBO for many years and is basically required viewing for anyone politically left of center.

Maher has long advocated changes in marijuana law. He’s a frequent critic of drug laws in the United States. He was talking about that very thing on his show back in 2016 when, out of the blue, he took out a joint and fired it up.

Maher later confirmed the joint was real. He also said the set is private property and he has a medical marijuana card so…perfectly legal.

By the way, comedian Zach Galifianakis did the same thing on Maher’s show a few years ago, but both HBO and Maher later said it was fake.

Coming Soon – Marijuana on TV

But HBO is one thing, the major networks and other cable channels another. Still, several shows that have marijuana as a part of the plot have either hit the small screen or are in the works.

They include the following.

“Mary + Jane.”

This MTV show, which includes marijuana-loving rapper Snoop Dogg among its producers, revolves around a weed-delivery company run by two women in Los Angeles. The show began airing in September 2016 and while it’s hardly critically acclaimed, it has broken new ground in presenting marijuana as a legal business on television.

“Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party.”

Does Snoop Dogg sleep? Here he is again, this time teaming up with Martha Stewart for a show that features the pair cooking for their celebrity friends. This is technically not a show about marijuana, but it gets referenced a lot and it has Snoop, so here it is on the list.


Comedian Adam Scott sold the idea of a scripted comedy about the day-to-day operations of dispensary in Denver to NBC back in 2015. Supposedly the show is still possible but currently on hold.


Margaret Cho is set to star in this original, scripted show for Amazon, which also has been in the works since 2015. She plays a woman who is forced to move in with her family, who run a marijuana dispensary.

“High Maintenance.”

Former Vimeo web show that has now moved to HBO. It follows the life of a Brooklyn marijuana dealer.

Untitled Chuck Lorre Project.

Nothing says mainstream TV like producer Chuck Lorre, the creator of “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men.” In 2016, it was announced that he is working on a legal cannabis-related new sitcom. No word yet on if any network has picked it up.

That’s a taste of how marijuana is going mainstream. If the Trump Administration does not change the federal government’s hands-off approach to states where marijuana is legal – and that’s a big “if” at the moment – expect more television shows to add cannabis into the mix.

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