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Marijuana's Celebrity Stigma Goes Up in Smoke Posted by CN Staff on April 03, 2013 at 05:51:05 PT

By Olivia Barker, USA Today

Source: USA Today


cannabisicon.gif USA -- The toke torch is being passed in Tinseltown.

It used to be that Hollywood potheads were grizzled and off-the-mainstream grid — think Cheech & Chong and Willie Nelson. Then edgy rappers like Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill became the famous faces of marijuana, with a couple of mischievous Texans thrown in: Woody Harrelson and a naked-and-bong-playing Matthew McConaughey.



Today's stars caught with cannabis? Meet the mostly twentysomething toke turks: They're the antithesis of counterculture, including heartthrobs like Justin Bieber, Chace Crawford, Michael Phelps and Armie Hammer. And then there's Rihanna, who readily flaunts her affection for the illegal flora, posting pictures of her Valentine's present (a bouquet of weed), 25th birthday cake (adorned with a gilded marijuana leaf) and Christmastime tush tattoo (yep, another leaf of weed).

Two years ago Lady Gaga told Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes: "I smoke a lot of pot when I write music." Justin Timberlake was casually candid to Playboy about his cannabis use: "Some people are just better high." Last year Kristen Stewart told Vanity Fair her pot-smoking was no "big deal."

The transgressions and admissions are clearly not affecting these young celebrities' careers: Bieber cheekily apologized in a Saturday Night Live spoof last month; Rihanna seemed to get as many high fives as head shakes for her ganja gift. On New Year's Eve, Frank Ocean got cited for pot possession in California. Three days later, he tweeted the following formality: "hi guys, i smoke pot. ok guys, bye." And the issue all but went up in smoke.

Ditto Crawford and Hammer, who were each arrested in Texas for marijuana possession, in 2010 and 2011 respectively. In 2009, a British tabloid infamously ran a photo of Phelps inhaling from a bong. The swimmer swiftly apologized in a statement and, in a big barometer of public approval, lost only one major sponsor — Kellogg. Subway, Speedo and Omega kept their deals afloat. The incident proved more P.R. puddle than tsunami.

It was a far cry from what befell Jennifer Capriati when she was busted for pot possession in 1994 at age 18: The tennis prodigy lost valuable endorsements, including contracts with Diadora clothing and Prince rackets and a reported three-year, $2 million deal with Oil of Olay. Capriati became better known for her nose-ring-adorned mug shot than her moisturizer advertising spot.

Nowadays, when stars and marijuana mix, "nobody cares. Society has moved on," says Howard Bragman, a longtime Hollywood publicist and the vice chairman of Reputation.com, a reputation management company. "It's not in the top 10 of what bad things celebrities can do. I would much rather have a client get caught smoking a joint than a DUI. One is potential harm to yourself and one is potential harm to other people, and that's a huge" difference.

"Nobody smokes a joint and gets violent," Bragman continues. "They get violent with a bag of Doritos. That's about the worst thing that happens."


Complete Article: http://drugsense.org/url/rSrWxbXp

Source: USA Today (US)

Author: Olivia Barker, USA Today

Published: April 2, 2013

Copyright: 2013 USA Today, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

Contact: editor@usatoday.com

Website: http://www.usatoday.com/

CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives




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