Below is a list of the 5 most influential cannabis consumers of 2016. To clarify, we are referring to current (at least within the last year) cannabis consumers that are influential in reforming cannabis policies, not celebrities/activists who work on or promote other causes and just happen to smoke cannabis (which is great in its own right, but not what this list is about).
Given the list is exclusive to those who have smoked cannabis in the past year, we can only include those who have admitted to doing so (or have been seen clearly doing so in publicly without publicly denying or apologizing for it).
Here we go:
5. Whoopi Goldberg
Not only is Whoopi Goldberg an icon from the 80’s and 90’s, making her a key figure to promote the medical benefits of cannabis to a generation hit with the “Just Say No” campaign, Goldberg has had strong political relevance in recent years given her role on the popular series The View. “The vape pen has changed my life’, Goldberg says. “No, I’m not exaggerating. In fact, her name is Sippy… And with each sip comes relief — from pressure, pain, stress, discomfort.”
4. Jesse Ventura
Jesse Ventura is a former governor (Minnesota) who now advocates heavily for cannabis legalization. Ventura is consistently in the media explaining the benefits of cannabis and ending its prohibition, and he just released an excellent new book titled the Marijuana Manifesto.
3. Gary Johnson
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has stated in recent interviews that he’s consumed cannabis as recently as a couple months ago – it wasn’t long ago he remained the CEO of a Nevada cannabis-based company (Cannabis Sativa Inc.). Although Johnson has only been polling at around 10% in the presidential race, and failed to make it into the debates, the fact that 1 in 10 Americans support Johnson, a third-party candidate who smoked cannabis THIS year, is a sign of the changing times. Having a former (Republican) governor advocate so heavily for legalization would be impactful even if he weren’t a presidential candidate.
2. Bill Maher
Bill Maher rightfully earns his place as #2 on this list, given his unapologetic cannabis use and his constant advocacy for legalization. Maher’s HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher, has a weekly viewership of over 4 million, much more than the number of viewers on even the most popular CNN, MSNBC or Fox News show. Maher for years has advocated for legalization, and has gone as far as smoking a joint during a live broadcast. Maher’s influence often goes unnoticed or at the very least underappreciated, but he’s as influential on the issue as pretty much anyone else.
1. Rick Steves
Travel guru Rick Steves is known for his PBS series and his numerous travel books, but in recent years he’s also become known for his consistent advocacy for legalizing cannabis. Steves was one of the sponsors and leading advocates of Washington’s Initiative 502 in 2012, and has been a key player in the legalization movement ever since. He has donated tens of thousands of dollars to this year’s legalization efforts in both Massachusetts and Maine, and has attended numerous campaign events in both states. Steves is also a member of NORML’s Board of Directors.
And there you have it, our list of the top 5 most influential cannabis consumers of 2016! Let us know what you thought of our list in the comments below!
About Anthony Martinelli
Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.