Pot: Now Starring in Your Favorite Movie

Marijuana is more prominent, accepted--and profitable--than ever in movies. What's it doing there?

JoJo Whilden

In The Wackness, his pot use is played for pathos and humor, not depravity.

Judd Apatow had a problem. The test screenings for his movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin were killing. But the jokes that were really landing were the ones featuring pot. Sophomoric, Cheech-and-Chong-y cheap yuks about weed. But funny ones. He called his old friend Garry Shandling to ask whether he should leave them in. They went with the only responsible choice: comedy comes first.

The film opened, and nobody made a big deal about the pot. Nor did Apatow get called out when the lead character in his next big hit, Knocked Up, was an inveterate stoner. And on Aug. 8, Pineapple Express,...

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