So, guess what? It's possible to smoke cannabis without Reefer Madness derailing your life. Proof positive? The Marijuana Policy Project's powerhouse list of 50 movers-and-shakers - including eight 2016 presidential hopefuls, celebrities, and public intellectuals - who have publicly acknowledged trying marijuana.
Making the list means meeting some basic criteria:
- be alive
- be a U.S. citizen
- have consumed marijuana
But not everyone's a convert to the Marijuana Majority: while Katy Perry, Rush Limbaugh, and Angelina Jolie all cop to experimenting, they also claim they hated smoking up. Some, however - notably John Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, and Lady Gaga - were much more enthusiastic.
Here are our favourites from the list: read the full version here.
Andy Cohen of "Watch What Happens Live" got the media mogul to 'fess up in a rapid-fire round of questions that included one on when she last consumed cannabis. Oprah responded:
"Uh … 1982. I hear it's gotten better." Cohen's response? "Let's hang out after the show."
The Oscar-winning star of "Thelma and Louise" (1991) and "The Lovely Bones" (2009) has said "the world would be a better place" if everyone smoked pot instead of drinking alcohol. She adds the caveat: "I've never worked high, and I've never filmed high. But I've read scripts high and gotten a different perspective."
How many times has Bill Maher smoked marijuana? " About 50,000,"" says the comedian and media critic, and he doesn't care who knows it. Maher has publicly advocated for both legalization and Presidential pardons for those serving time for nonviolent drug-related offences.
If Gates were a country, he'd be the #63 richest on Earth - and according to biographer Stephen Manes, "marijuana [has been his] pharmaceutical of choice." Gates recently told Buzzfeed he voted "yes" to Initiative 502, legalizing weed for recreational use in Washington State.
George W. Bush
"I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions. You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried," he told the New York Times.
Gov. John Hickenlooper (CO)
You might expect a more enthusiastic endorsement of marijuana from the Governor of the Evergreen State. Hickenlooper reportedly told the Denver Daily News, "I made personal choices when I was younger that I neither support nor condone for others and certainly wouldn't encourage through public policy."
Maybe open-mindedness is part of the charm that twice earned Clooney the "Sexiest Man Alive" nod. Multiple media sources report Clooney was no stranger at the local cannabis cafe while shooting on location in Amsterdam.
"Of course I know how to roll a joint," the 71-year-old domestic goddess par excellence confessed to Andy Cohen. Considering Stewart can apparently whip up stuff like this and this, her spliff-rolling prowess isn't that surprising.
Despite slamming Colorado's decision to legalize as " one of the stupider things that's happening across our country," ex-New York mayor Bloomberg, 72, also admits he smoked a joint back in the 1960s. "You bet I did. And I enjoyed it."
The rapper and recently-excommunicated Rastafarian tells Esquire he first smoked up with his uncle when he was eight or nine years old - giving him a couple years on Robert Downey Jr, whose dad lit him up when he was 6. Says Dogg a.k.a Lion, "it makes me feel the way I need to feel."