Pubdate: Wed, 03 Aug 2005
Source: Olympian, The (WA)
Copyright: 2005, The Olympian
Author: Gary Strauss, Gannett News Service
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Cited: Office of National Drug Control Policy ( )
Cited: Marijuana Policy Project ( )
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Is Hollywood going one toke over the line? Marijuana use is cropping up on 
some critically acclaimed shows, and anti-drug forces fear the 
glamorization of pot could boost its use among youths.

Who's lighting up:

- -- Pot is an ongoing theme on HBO's "Entourage" (Sundays, 10 p.m.), which 
centers on a rising young movie star and his New York buddies who have gone 
Hollywood. Sunday's episode features two teens getting high at a bat mitzvah.

- -- Maurice "Smoke" Williams (Kirk Jones) lit up on last week's premiere of 
"Over There" (Wednesdays, 10 p.m.), FX's gritty Iraq war drama.

- -- Marijuana is the core premise of Showtime dramedy "Weeds" (Mondays, 10 
p.m.), a dark version of "Desperate Housewives" suburbia with Mary- Louise 
Parker as a pot-dealing soccer mom. In Sunday's special preview, a teen 
sells pot to grade-schoolers until Parker's character blackmails him to stop.

Recurring or episodic pot themes also have fueled HBO's "Curb Your 
Enthusiasm," FX's "Rescue Me" and Fox's "That '70s Show."

Hollywood's embellishment of marijuana use is "irresponsible," says Tom 
Riley of the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Shows that tacitly approve of pot-smoking, particularly comedies, may 
exacerbate its use, says Steve Dnistrian of the Partnership for a Drug-Free 
America. "These are trendsetting shows. They affect behavior and attitudes, 
particularly teens. When glamorization of drugs has climbed, changes in 
teen attitudes followed."

HBO declined comment. But actor Jerry Ferrara, pot-loving Turtle on 
"Entourage," says it's the drug of choice among twentysomethings. "The show 
doesn't condone it, but there's definitely a lot of accuracy in how it's 
used," he says.

"Over There" co-creator and executive producer Chris Gerolmo says the 
show's depiction of pot use is not an endorsement. Still, Gerolmo says 
"drug use is certainly part of life in the Army."

"Weeds" creator and executive producer Jenji Kohan says the series won't 
advocate drug use and doubts it will influence marijuana consumption. 
"We're presenting this as something that's everywhere and cuts across 
political, ethnic and religious lines."

Kevin Nealon, who co-stars in "Weeds," says the show simply underscores 
pot's prevalence in society. "A lot of baby boomers are baby bongers," he says.

A 2003 study -- the government's latest on drug use -- found that 14.6 
million Americans used pot at least once in the past month, up slightly 
from 2002. And more than 95 million have tried it.

"With so many having tried marijuana, it would be bizarre not to expect 
that reality wouldn't be depicted in films and on TV," says Bruce Mirken of 
the Marijuana Policy Project, the United States' largest pot-policy-reform 
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