The first time I smelled pot at a Bryan Adams concert. I thought, ‘That smells like my dad’s car’

Amy Poehler on marijuana, her life and humour.

She may be currently playing the overzealous stickler for rules in Parks & Recreation, and her character may even havedeclared “I want to be the President someday so I don’t smoke marijuana” on the show. But in real life, comedienne Amy Poehler is known to not only spark the occasional doobie or three, but also engage in her fair share of pro-marijuana activism via her chosen medium – comedy.

Between 2006 and 2008, the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live introduced the genre of ‘marijuana humour’ to millions of homes – all thanks to Poehler. She and Horatio Sanz portrayed the ‘lovable stoners’ in one skit, which earned them a Stony award. More importantly, Poehler also frequently inserted weed jokes (autobiographical in most cases) into the “Weekend Update” section. Here are a few gems:

“According to a new survey, 67 per cent of teenagers are content or extremely happy most of the time. They’re called stoners!”

Or this piece of brilliance:

“Rapper Snoop Dogg was given a desk appearance ticket Wednesday night in New York for possession of marijuana. Snoop called the ticket unfair and hard to roll.”

She even bade farewell to the show with one last pot joke: “When you’re doing something illegal you need to speak in code. Like when I call up my weed dealer and I ask for $50 worth of circus tickets, you know what he doesn’t give me? Circus tickets!”

But Poehler’s relationship with weed goes way back. In her recently released memoir Yes Please, she describes her first brush with pot, which was through her own father, William Poehler – a passionate cannabis apologist.

Poehler tells her readers in her book, “The first time I smelled pot was when I was a teenager and at a Bryan Adams concert. I thought to myself, ‘Hmm, that smells like my dad’s car’. I went home and searched all of my father’s pockets and drawers until I found some weed. The revelation that my dad was a pot smoker wasn’t too shocking. He was always friendly and happy. He loved getting to places early to pick us up and sitting in his car, and he was always first to suggest we get ice cream in the middle of the day. I had some friends with alcoholic parents, and my memories of those houses always involved people being scared, afraid of what mood was around the corner. I never worried about my father and how he would act around my friends. He was generous and nice and didn’t yell.”

Parenting done right, eh? No prizes for guessing why Poehler is all for marijuana – she is only following in her father’s footsteps.

In the book, she also describes her life of a stoner in Chicago where she started her career, “I would smoke in the morning and listen to Bob Marley. I would wear headphones and buy records and comic books. I would make mac-and-cheese while watching Deep Space Nine. Weed helped with my Irish stomach and anxiety and the constant channel-changing that happened in my head.” This also ended up inspiring her to write an improved sketch for The Upright Citizens Brigade on medical marijuana, which, she is quoted to have said, “can make people think about really interesting stories and ideas and opinions”.

In an interview with Conan O’Brien last year, she recalled, with great fondness, having been a judge at Amsterdam’s Cannabis Cup in the year 2000. “It’s a real event, where people from all over the world come to try different types of weed and say which is the best,” she said. There, she also performed improv in front of a completely stoned audience.

There are straight-faced, solemn pro-marijuana activists, and then there’s Poehler, who combines her love for the herb with her passion to make people laugh. Take for instance the time a reporter from a political website asked her what her top issue would be if she were a politician, and she responded, “Free healthcare for gay married couples who grow their own medical marijuana.” Or when she declared at the Emmy Awards that McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are “menu items at most marijuana dispensaries.”

Or when she said this: “Drugs help. They pull people from despair. They balance our moods and minds and keep us from freaking out on airplanes. Drugs are fun. They expand our horizons. They create great memories and make folding our laundry bearable.”

(Written by Mrunmayi Ainapure, who loves to write about the God Herb)

Google and Cannabis: Search and ye shall find

Recently we shared a poster that had a simple message: if you do not know that marijuana cures cancer, just google it.

This is important because Google has come to define our reality in profound ways, whether we like it or not. While most information you find online requires corroboration, in general the information out there is helpful. Many of the articles we read online have pretty good attribution and seem to be legit.


We decided to find out the Google search story of the God Herb and give you a few statistics on how deeply cannabis is rooted in the global culture. On that note, it is important to note that this post was written at 7.00 pm on Wednesday on April 8, 2015.

Here are some interesting facts:

If you search the word ‘marijuana’, you get about 10,10,00,000 results in 0.38 seconds.

Google the word cannabis, and you get about 6,35,00,000 results in 0.32 seconds.

For medical marijuana, the number is about 2,41,00,000 results in 0.33 seconds.

If you put a longer search term like this one, ‘marijuana cures cancer’, you get about 5,65,000 results in 0.29 seconds. This search term is also the top search.

The search term ‘cannabis medicine’ turns out about 1,66,00,000 results in 0.46 seconds.

Marijuana vs alcohol is also a top search and returns about 92,00,000 results in 0.35 seconds. In the first two pages, all stories say that marijuana is safer than alcohol. The second favourite search term of this kind is ‘marijuana vs cigarette’ and we don’t have to tell you that the God Herb wins hands down in terms of safety as compared to nicotine.

If you search ‘number of deaths due to marijuana’, the first page that pops up is ‘Annual Causes of Death in the United States | Drug War Facts’. If you go to the page, there is a table of the most dangerous drugs in terms of deaths. The first position is held by ‘All causes’ obviously and the toll is 2,596,993. Right after it is Major Cardiovascular Diseases (MCD) with 796,494 deaths. Alcohol induced deaths rests at 29,001, while the toll of all illicit drugs combined stands at 17,000. Cannabis is last and the toll is zero. Yes, nobody dies in America by consuming pot.

In the same search there are stories that link certain deaths to marijuana (the numbers are not significant). However, there is no direct correlation but are seen as ‘contributing factors’. That is too much of a loose end.

If you search ‘how much marijuana can kill me’, you get about 2,92,00,000 results in 0.35 seconds. Most of the reports on the first page of the search put the number at a ridiculous number of between 20,000 and 40,000 the amount that is contained in a regular joint. The consensus, both anecdotal and researched, seem to agree that marijuana does not kill.

If you search for ‘I was cured of cancer by cannabis’ you get about 7,49,000 results in 0.43 seconds. The first page that the search throws up is ‘Cannabis does not cure cancer – Science-Based Medicine’. The writer of the article says that cannabis being useful for cancer is still questionable or bad science. However, the first comment to the article just below it this:

My battle with Breast cancer started 2 years ago, after so many Chemo, Radiation and other natural therapy treatment that i took just to cure my Breast cancer, it all did not work for my condition. I have been treating this disease for the past 2 years, but today i am here telling the world about my final victory over Breast cancer with the help of cannabis oil medication. This is a breakthrough in my family with so much Joy in our life today, i do really appreciate all the help and contribution from every member of my family for all they did for me. And if you have any kind of cancer diseases, there is no need to waste money on Chemo or Radiation, go get cannabis oil from UK cancer research centre (,this is a medication that totally kill cancer cells.
Britney Alja

Almost all the comments after this seem to discredit the view presented by the article. After the first page, rest of the results seem to concur that cannabis has a healing role in cancer. Most significant, in my view, is what the ‘Marijuana – American Cancer Society –’ has to say:

The American Cancer Society supports the need for more scientific research on cannabinoids for cancer patients, and on better and more effective therapies that can overcome the often debilitating side effects of cancer and its treatment. The Society also believes that the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration imposes numerous conditions on researchers and deters scientific study of cannabinoids. Federal officials should examine options consistent with federal law for enabling more scientific study on marijuana.
Ultimately, medical decisions about pain and symptom management should be made between the patient and his or her doctor, balancing evidence of benefit and harm to the patient, the patient’s preferences and values, and applicable laws and regulations.

Anyway, this is the kind of post that can go on and on. So, why don’t you do a Google search and find out what people have to say. There are also videos made by cancer survivors on YouTube who say cannabis oil helped them in being cancer free.

While we are sure the cannabis plant is a true miracle plant, we want to give the skeptics the chance to voice their opinion. However, one thing is true for sure: more and more people are waking up to the fact that you cannot brush the cannabis debate under the rug anymore.

(Written by Santanu Borah, a writer and cannabis enthusiast)