New Year, new streaming queue! As the pandemic continues, never has there been a better time for Hollywood creatives to keep pumping out awesome TV in addition to the usual classics that keep us company.
There are so many great TV shows spotlighting weed that it’s hard to narrow them down. Plus, there’s something for pretty much everyone. Below, check out some of the best shows starring cannabis and get to binge-watching.
This gem, now on HBO, started as video shorts on the Vimeo, and back in 2015 I interviewed show creators Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair. Openly inspired by cannabis consumption in New York City and The Guy (Sinclair) who delivers it to them, the series has been described as largely plotless, and shows a twisty and humane exploration of the people of New York City and their relationship with weed and each other.
Surprisingly, this Netflix vehicle starring the eminently talented Kathy Bates, never really caught on with viewers and was canceled after two seasons. The comedy series centered on Ruth Whitefeather Feldman (Bates) as she tries to run her Los Angeles-area cannabis dispensary with the help of young budtenders, including her son.
Touching on serious issues that intertwine with the cannabis industry — including cannabis and mental health, activism, and misconceptions about stoners — the show also featured cannabis legends Cheech and Chong.
Grace and Frankie
Though this show is not about exactly weed, the writers of this series are making at least one thing clear: all people of all ages consume cannabis.
Starring comedy icon Lily Tomlin and actress and activist Jane Fonda, Tomlin’s character Frankie — a stereotypical throwback from the free love era — consumes cannabis with abandon and on the regular. And so do Grace’s children, the ferociously wry Brianna and mommy-worn Mallory. In fact, in sunny San Diego where the show is set, cannabis is as natural and normal as botox and yoga, and a part of life for the show’s characters.
Created by and starring real-life friend duo Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, Broad City ran on Comedy Central from 2014 – 2019 and was loosely based on their relationship and their attempts to “make it” in New York City.
While shows in the past have offered many different takes on male stoner duos — think Cheech and Chong, Harold and Kumar, Jay and Silent Bob — Broad City presented viewers with something new: a female stoner duo. It also received loads of critical acclaim and maintains a cult following today.
This new series follows the adventures of freelance cannabis journalist Tyler Gopnik (Gabriel Sunday) as he covers California’s cannabis scene. A mockumentary lampooning the often overly serious coverage of vice reporting, the series is unafraid to dig in to some of the archetypes emerging in the current industry, including dealers turned “weedtrepreneurs,” overeager THC-infused beverage purveyors, slick and insincere influencers, and other poseurs orbiting the cannabis galaxy.
This dark comedy-drama created by Jenji Kohan premiered on Showtime in 2005 and ran until 2012. After the death of her husband, newly-widowed mother of two Nancy Botwin (Mary Louise Parker) turns to selling weed to make ends meet. A show about a woman selling weed seems ahead of its time given its 2005 debut, but at the time it earned Showtime their highest ratings.
Weeds also went on to win two Emmys, a Golden Globe, and a Writer’s Guild Award, among others. Fans of its original run can cheer at the news that a sequel is in the works that will reunite Parker and co-star Elizabeth Perkins.
Fans of The Great British Bake Off might love this weed-flavored take on cooking under pressure. Initially, the show followed host Abdullah Saeed as he threw parties where chefs were tasked with preparing elaborate, multi-course cannabis-infused meals for party guests.
Viceland, who produces the series, says that Bong Appetit features “the biggest selection of marijuana ingredients ever assembled.” Newer episodes take on both food and topics like social justice and feature a trio of hosts, including B Real, Vanessa Lavoroto, and Miguel Trinidad.
That 70’s Show
Even though the word “marijuana” was said only once on the show that ran from 1998 – 2006, it was about teenagers in the 70s who were down in their parent’s brown-paneled, shag-rugged basement, listening to music and smoking weed.
Starring people we still remember, likeTopher Grace and real life couple Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, the show also co-starred a member of the unofficial (and imaginary) Stoner Hall of Fame, Tommy Chong.
Cooking on High
If you’re anything like me, every now and then you like to watch what I call “train wreck TV” because it’s so bad you can’t look away. Cooking on High, another cooking competition show, premiered on Netflix in 2018. It centers on preparing food with cannabis as an ingredient, and the guest chefs are cannabis professionals who use cannabis-infused foods as part of their larger careers as private chefs and medical marijuana educators.
The series, hosted by famous YouTuber Josh Leyva, was widely panned, though cannabis activist and comedian Ngaio Bealum received high marks for his segments on the science of cannabis cooking and short blurbs on the “strain of the day.”
A world away from Cooking on High is Atlanta. From creator and multi-hyphenate Donald Glover, Atlanta is a thoughtful and pointed exploration of trying to make it in the Atlanta rap scene that also features cannabis.
In a 2018 interview with The New Yorker, Glover said that “anxiety, fear, and stress are all reasons why the characters in Atlanta smoke [weed].” It’s estimated that Glover’s character Earn is either rolling or consuming cannabis in 90% of his scenes. Another character, Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) sells cannabis among other drugs, but the show’s writers do not shy away from storytelling about the risks of working in illicit markets and the reasons why people might make those choices.