Maybe it's just something in the air -- on the heels of Washington and Colorado voters moving to legalize marijuana in November -- but it's hard not to notice a correlation between the wave of pro-pot political action and the number of celebrities who are very open about their use of the drug.
R&B singer Frank Ocean, who is up for six Grammy Awards next month, tweeted on Thursday, "hi guys, i smoke pot. ok guys, bye." It was his way of reacting after news got out that he was cited for pot possession during a traffic stop on New Year's eve.
As CBS' late-night host Jimmy Kimmel prepares to move to the 11:35 time slot and take on Jay Leno, he's featured on the cover of the new Rolling Stone. He opens the interview by asking, "If we smoke weed right now, is that on the record?" The answer, obviously, was yes, as the piece notes that the comic left to retrieve his "stash" and "returns with a vacuum-sealed baggie bulging with buds the size of baby Brussels sprouts."
Rolling Stone certainly has never shied from reporting on the intersection between drugs and pop culture. The magazine recently listed seven states it views as next in line in what it calls the crumbling of the "Berlin Wall of pot prohibition."
Snoop (Dogg) Lion has long wielded a sledgehammer and taken his whacks at that perceived wall. You'd have to be really really high to be surprised by the rapper preaching positively about pot. He told GQ magazine for its January issue: "It's from the earth -- it's not some man-made s---. It's actually growing from the ground straight to you, so it's just like eating a vegetable."
But it was Snoop's boast that he "would love to show" his kids the "right way" to smoke weed that raised eyebrows and generated headlines around the web.
And finally, from a man who could teach all these upstarts a thing or two about pot talk. In November, country legend Willie Nelson, while promoting his book "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die" on TODAY, told Matt Lauer and a national TV audience, "we don't have to fly to Amsterdam any more" to smoke, and that he has seen no side effects from his use of the drug.
So, it's worth asking, as the political and legal stance on marijuana begins to shift in the US, does it still surprise you when celebrities are open about their use of the drug? Does it alter your opinion of them one way or the other?
By Courtney Hazlett and Kurt Schlosser, TODAY