13 Best Stoner Movies & TV Shows of All Time
There are two kinds of stoners: the kind that likes to binge on TV shows and the kind that likes a movie marathon. We don’t all have the same attention span, right? Well, the canon of cannabis themed movies, along with binge-worthy TV shows is, quite frankly, enormous. We took the liberty of compiling the best ones of all time – yes! Of all time!
Wild imaginings of people gone mad; an 80-year drug war that has killed hundreds of thousands and imprisoned millions; smuggling, conspiracy, corruption, violence, and the unique relationship between dealers and their customers, these are just some of the explosive narratives that inspire the canon of cannabis themed movies. Let’s check out some of the best cannabis themed movies before moving on to TV shows.
Cannabis-themed movies for cannabis-minded watching
1. Reefer Madness (1936)
In the opening credits of Reefer Madness, the film makes its goal clear: to rid the world of “marihuana, a violent narcotic, an unspeakable scourge, the real public enemy number one,” and so began 80 years of cannabis prohibition – and the War on Drugs. Every cannabis user should watch this film, at least once, to see what birthed the madness of prohibition.
The film begins by showing a printing press and newspapers with headlines that scream “dope fight” and “drug war,”. In hindsight, it’s an early warning that the film is blatant propaganda. On top, the film claims to be based on “actual research into the result of Marihuana addiction,” which we now know is a lie. Here we are, eighty years later, still waiting on “actual research” into the results of cannabis addition.
It’s worth lighting up just to read the opening credits because they’re so fantastical. They claim the effects of cannabis include: “uncontrollable laughter … hallucinations … time slows down … monstrous extravagances … inability to direct thoughts … Shocking violence … incurable insanity.” Total balderdash, but audiences in the 1930s believed every word, as did their children, and their children’s children.
The first person to spark a joint is, of course, a musician who sucks on that smoke with wild eyes, a sharp contrast to the next scene where mother serves hot chocolate to Bill and Mary, the kind of kids that like to read Shakespeare for fun. This juxtaposition is a clumsy attempt to illustrate how far these kids are about to fall, and just to reinforce the point, Bill falls in a pond on his way out. The film’s only saving grace is that it’s so hammy it’s hilarious.
Funnily enough, the most realistic scene in the film is an exchange between some back room drug dealers. They are white men in suits who aren’t afraid to use violence to get what they want. In a later scene, an FBI agent and the school principal, Dr. Carroll, discuss how to handle the problem of marijuana.
“We educators can’t do anything until the public is sufficiently aroused,” warns Dr. Carroll, possibly one of the most telling lines in the whole script. It’s effectively stating both the purpose and the effect of the film, an effect that has shaped eighty years of misinformed global drug policy and put millions of innocent people behind bars.
It’s a mad world, baby, enjoy the ride.
2. Midnight Express (1978)
Based on a true story, Midnight Express is the film that depicts every cannabis user’s worst nightmare. In the opening scene, we watch as Billy Hayes, a young American man on holidays in Istanbul tapes 2 kilos of hash to his torso. A soundtrack of sinister music and his nervous heartbeat accompany the scene. Billy is about to get in trouble – big trouble.
Set in 1970, and released in 1978, Midnight Express is a cult classic, the story of a small-time smuggler, and how things can go terribly wrong when you take risks in foreign countries where the lawyers are as “bent as hairpins.” This is the movie that inspired the Banged Up Abroad genre, proving it did nothing to stop countless people from taking the same risks as Billy.
“What is crime? What is punishment? It seems to vary from time to time and place to place. What’s legal today is suddenly illegal tomorrow all because some society says it’s so. What’s illegal is suddenly legal because everybody’s doing it. You can’t put everybody in jail.”
These words are part of Billy’s desperate plea for freedom, words that’ll resonate with any cannabis user who’s had brushes with the legal system, or simply takes a moment to reflect on the plant’s history. Midnight Express is a film that proves sometimes the law gets it wrong, and justice means escaping it.
You’re in safe hands with this classic strain, the backbone of the Dutch coffee shop industry.
3. Pineapple Express (2008)
Nobody thinks of their weed dealer as a friend, right? That’s the question posed by Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) at the start of Pineapple Express. The film is a cannabis caper that turns out to be an epic bromance replete with car chases, gun-toting dads, self-conscious drug dealers, explosions, and a superstar strain.
When the going gets tough, turns out there’s only one person Dale can rely on. Yes, his weed dealer, Saul (James Franco). Released in 2008, the film shamelessly celebrates the lazy stoner stereotype in all his befuddled glory, and is a tribute to the unique relationship between the cannabis user and their dealer. It demonstrates a dynamic that may become a thing of the past in a future world where cannabis is legalized.
Warning! A grow op gets blown up at the end of the film, which no doubt many will agree was an act of gratuitous violence. The promoters used an actual smoking billboard on Sunset Boulevard to promote the film, but it had to be removed because people kept calling the fire department.
Melt into mindless entertainment with this Cannabis Cup Winner.
4. The Culture High (2014)
Featuring celebs Snoop Dogg and Joe Rogan, The Culture High is a documentary that discusses the big questions: should marijuana be legalized and what does prohibition say about our culture? It examines the arguments against cannabis legalization: that cannabis has a negative impact on mental health, and that it’s an addictive (and therefore dangerous) drug (Reefer Madness claimed the same thing – see a pattern?).
Dr Lester Grinspoon, professor Emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard, dismisses the first argument because levels of global schizophrenia have remained stable at 1% for the last sixty years though cannabis use has increased tenfold. The second issue is a little trickier. New insight from expert Dr Gabor Mate is slowly changing our understanding of addiction.
The documentary then examines the legal, medical, pharmaceutical and political factors affecting the legalization of cannabis. The info is a little out of date now, but the facts revealed are no less disturbing. For example, did you know that one American dies every 19 minutes from prescription drugs or that 270 cannabis dispensaries were raided during the first four years of Obama’s administration?
Did you know that the pharmaceutical industry earned $85 billion in revenue in 2012 or that the global market for cannabis is estimated to be worth around $400 billion? Did you know that for every $1 pharmaceutical companies spend on R&D, they spend $19 on promotion, and that the American government took out a patent on cannabis in the 1990s?
The thrust of the documentary is to demonstrate the injustice of prohibition, and it does that very effectively by illustrating how the system was set up to generate money for authorities with no regard for the people it punishes. This is a documentary every cannabis user should watch to understand what we’re fighting for, and why.
Get your thinking cap on with this much-loved sativa.
5. Who Shot the Sheriff? (2018)
Some would argue that no other musician represents the soul of cannabis more than Bob Marley, but that’s not all the reggae king of Jamaica represented. Though Bob spent his career trying to remain neutral – to focus on the music, the thing that mattered most – the political instability of his native country dragged him into the conflict.
Who Shot the Sheriff? is a documentary about the assassination attempt on Bob, and how he was betrayed by Jamaica’s ruling political parties. After the attempt on his life, Bob left Jamaica, went on tour, and produced the album Exodus, voted one of the most important records of all time.
Eventually, he was lured home, and upon his return in 1978, staged a peace concert that sparked a short-lived truce between the politicians and warring gangs. However, his message of One Love did not unite the people of Jamaica. In the end, it was another kind of enemy that killed him: cancer.
He died in 1981, a moment this documentary flashes over, while managing to never answer the question its title poses: Who shot the sheriff? This documentary is an important piece of cannabis history but one that prompts more questions than it answers.
Legendary Jamaican genetics for a film inspired by a legend.
No other plant has a history rich enough to inspire such a diverse bunch of movies and TV shows. Check out this list before lighting up!
11 Best Weed TV Shows You Have to Watch While High
In the fall you can always find me wrapped in a blanket, sipping a warm cup of tea, smoking a joint and binge-watching TV and internet shows.
While ransacking the web for some new interesting shows to spend countless chillout hours on, I noticed something new—a record number of weed shows started to appear on almost every streaming platform.
As cannabis patiently started entering the mainstream during the last decade (especially in the last couple of years), cannabis-related shows also started blooming everywhere: From Netflix, MTV and even CNN.
To aid you on your quest, I assembled a list of 11 best television and internet shows about marijuana, because sometimes when you get high you want to watch something about pot at the same time.
2005-2012, Showtime, 8 seasons, 28 minutes/episode, Comedy / Drama
Weeds is one of the first shows to question the stigma surrounding cannabis, and one of my personal favorites.
It literally brought marijuana to suburban neighborhoods, both on and off screen.
After her husband suddenly dies a single mum starts dealing weed in the suburbs of Los Angeles in order to support her family.
In 2005 (when the show first aired) the viewers were really shocked upon realizing how much everyday people consume cannabis.
Weeds won several awards, and even a Golden Globe for the Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical category. Even though it ended in 2012, it is still quite relatable.
28-minute episodes last just about right to keep your attention.
It will surely make you laugh, but will also make you ponder about your morals and ethics, especially in times of hardship.
Since 2017, Netflix, 2 seasons, 30 minutes/episode, Comedy
Even the big Netflix decided to get into the cannabis business when they realized it was a perfect time for a weed-related sitcom.
To make it come to life they ordered a comedy show from Chuck Lorre and David Javerbaum. But, did it pan out?
Oscar-winning actress Kathy Bates plays a hippie cannabis advocate who’s finally living her dream by opening a dispensary in Los Angeles (of course it’s L.A.).
The storyline revolves around employees and their customers: a grower who talks tenderly to his plants, a security guard struggling with PTSD, a housewife who found an escape from her everyday mundane reality with cannabis, and also Dank and Dabby, two regular customers who are off-the-wall hilarious.
Unfortunately (or not), the show got canceled after two seasons but it still might be worth checking out.
The Ultimate Rundown of 35 Best Stoner Movies and TV Shows
From 2012, HBO, 30 minutes/episode, Comedy / Drama
From a web-show to HBO, High Maintenance truly came a long way. The big transition happened in 2016 bringing this cannabis culture show to the mainstream.
The plot twirls around an anonymous Brooklyn pot dealer named Guy who is played by one of the creators Ben Sinclair. The other creator is his ex-partner Katja Blienfield.
The rest of the characters are various people that Guy delivers weed to, and each episode features a new set of customers.
In fact, the main goal of the show is to break the stereotype of a “typical stoner” by introducing the audience to the private lives of different cannabis consumers in a comedic and somewhat artistic fashion.
High Maintenance also approaches some social issues that aren’t that related to cannabis, so it will definitely make laugh and think at the same time.
Mary + Jane
2016, MTV, 1 Season, 20 minutes/episode, Comedy
Snoop Dogg has been an avid cannabis supporter since the beginning of his career (and probably long before that), so in 2016 he decided to enter cannabis-related showbusiness.
Unfortunately, Snoop didn’t have much luck with producing Mary + Jane, as MTV decided to pull the plug after just one season.
The plot: Jordan and Paige are roommates in LA working their way into an all-female weed delivery business, but of course there are numerous obstacles on their path to success.
Although the ratings didn’t satisfy MTV, when you’re in a mood for some laughter, this could be your 20-minute solution.
The High Court with Doug Benson
2017, Comedy Central, 1 Season, 15 minutes/episode, Comedy
Practically every television network has its own weed show, so why wouldn’t Comedy Central have one too?
The show follows Judge Dough who is played by the comedian, actor and cannabis advocate Doug Benson, as he gets stoned and rules on petty court cases.
Each episode is quite short, and usually follows two sides who’ve already agreed to have the case settled. Both sides elaborate, and afterward Judge Doug goes to his chamber, gets high and begins deliberating. All decisions rendered are highly binding.
Benson commented on the show: “I want to show that when someone’s high, that doesn’t change their morals”. And I really think he struck a nerve here.
The humor of The High Court is surreal, and I guarantee you won’t be able to stop laughing.
From 2016, Viceland, 2 Seasons, 30 minutes/episode, Reality-TV
Food and weed… The perfect match!
Infusing food with cannabis isn’t something new, so why not make a show out of it?
Bong Appétit is a pot cooking show hosted by Abdullah Saeed who throws wondrous dinner parties.
In every episode, Abdullah and his team invite one famous chef to prepare a meal with a special ingredient—pot.
If you enjoy cooking (and even if you don’t), this show might give you some fresh ideas for preparing new interesting meals, or even some suggestions on how to host a proper dinner party for your friends.
How to Make Cannabutter (Classic Recipe for Super-Strong Cannabutter)
From 2010, 4 Seasons, Web Series/Comedy Central
Broad City started off as a web series but ended up on Comedy Central.
The actual creators of the show Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson play the two stoner girls trying to make it in the Big Apple.
Ilana is a hedonist, the one who likes to avoid working whenever it’s humanly possible. Abbi is following her dreams and is actively trying to create a career but somehow always gets involved in Ilana’s crazy schemes.
Once it was transferred to Comedy Central, the show started performing really well, with more than 1.2 million viewers per episode, but the ratings dropped pretty quickly.
Unfortunately, the show will stop airing after season five.
However, Broad City is not a classic weed show per se but follows two girls who simply love cannabis.
Cooking on High
From 2018, Netflix, 1 Season, 14 minutes/episode, Reality-TV
Cooking on High is also a cannabis cooking show, but quite different from Bong Appétit.
It is actually a peculiar culinary competition where expert chefs prepare intricate meals (and adding weed to them of course).
The judging panel consists of weed enthusiasts and advocates, who try out all the cannabis-infused goodies and get really faded in the process.
In a nutshell, they are getting a bunch of celebrities high on Netflix.
Besides the whimsical hosts – a YouTuber and vlogger Josh Leyva and comedian/activist Ngaio Bealum, other famous weed internet influencers make an appearance on the show: Mod Sun, Heather Pasternak, Ramon Rivas, Sam Jay, Chris Cope and many others.
We still don’t know if Cooking on High is coming back for season two, but if you’re up for a short-format cooking show and need some ideas for making edibles and weed-infused meals for you and your friends, I strongly suggest you give it a shot.
Also, on the official Cooking on High website, you can find all the recipes that they prepared on the show.
2012, National Geographic, 1 Season, Documentary
American Weed is not just some random TV show. It is a National Geographic’s short documentary TV series containing 8 episodes about the “green rush” in Colorado, the current cannabis capital of the United States.
Colorado legalized recreational cannabis back in 2012, but even before that medical marijuana had a massive impact on its citizens.
Despite the legal status of pot in this state and the illegal status of cannabis on a federal level in the US, there is still a lot of scrutiny surrounding weed in Colorado, and dispensary owners continue to fall victim to tedious police raids.
American Weed dissects cannabis culture and the medical cannabis industry by following advocates, dispensary owners, politicians, opponents, growers, patients, cops, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.
It is a powerful inside story and shows how one state can profit and benefit from cannabis on so many levels.
From 2013, Viceland, Documentary
Like many cannabis-related shows, Weediquette also began as a web-show and got transferred to Viceland in 2016.
A journalist named Krishna Andavolu explores cannabis culture in general, but also the medical and economic aspects of our favorite herb all around the globe.
His critical approach to cannabis is something that truly brakes the norms.
Krishna doesn’t just talk about smoking and chilling; he investigates other relevant ethical issues such as treating infants and children with medical marijuana, parents and injured athletes who consume cannabis, and much more.
Weediquette is education combined with entertainment. What more could you ask from one show?
Netflix, from 2018, 55–69 minutes/episode
If you are a fan of Narcos then you’re gonna love this brand new show on Netflix made by the same creators and producers. Narcos: Mexico is a crime drama inspired by real events that had a huge impact on the entire “war on drugs” which we’ve been witnessing worldwide for several decades now.
I don’t wanna be a spoiler because this is something definitely worth watching, so here’s a very brief synopsis.
Back in the 1980s, the Drug Enforcement Agency was still a “toddler” federal bureau with very little credibility. A DEA undercover agent decides to relocate his whole family to Mexico to gather intelligence on Félix Gallardo a.k.a. El Padrino, a Mexican drug lord and the founder of Guadalajara Cartel who controlled all of Mexico’s drug trafficking in those days – weed included. This is where things get complicated…
Narcos Mexico helps us to better understand why the “war on drugs” still hasn’t ended to this day.
Pimp My Grow
From PROHBTD, 2018, Coming Soon
I’ve been looking forward to this for some time now, and hopefully, it will fulfill my high expectations.
The infamous Dr. Greenthumb entered cannabis show business.
B-Real from Cypress Hill and a group of master cultivators joined forces with breeders from DNA Genetics and Prohbtd Media to make a reality cannabis-growing show.
Just like Pimp My Ride in the early 2000’s, the hosts will travel across the US to upgrade other people’s amateur growing chambers into professional indoor/outdoor facilities.
Pimp My Grow will turn dirty basements into awesome personal pot gardens.
The first seven episodes will be distributed on a number of streaming platforms, and I’m really looking forward to picking up some new interesting growing tricks along the way.
Your fundamental guide to cannabis-related TV shows: Comedies, cooking shows, educational documentaries and many more.