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When you make a stoner comedy, you will, at some point, need to film your characters smoking something. It goes with the territory. There are numerous reasons why having your characters smoke actual marijuana is probably a bad idea. While it isn’t illegal everywhere anymore it’s still likely to be against the law where you’re filming. Even if that’s not an issue, unless you make the smoking scenes the last scene of each day, your actor’s will probably be useless for the rest of the day. So what’s a director to do? It turns out that "legal bud" is a thing, so it does a great job standing in for the illegal bud.
Jeff Butcher is a professional prop master, so it’s his job to provide drug alternatives when they’re needed in a movie. He was the prop master for Pineapple Express, so it was his job to get something to stand-in for marijuana for the numerous times that James Franco and Seth Rogen required it on set. He tell the Independent that he goes to a company called International Oddities which advertises a "high grade" legal bud. The stuff is supposed to provide some kind of a high, but nothing that makes the actors unable to work. It’s meant to be exactly what it is, something that resembles the illegal drug as much as possible without actually being against the law.
The "stoner movie" has remained a popular subgenre of film for decades. Reaching more mainstream audiences for the first time in the late 1970’s with the first Cheech and Chong movie Up in Smoke, it has continued on to this day with more recent examples like the Harold and Kumar films. As marijuana legalization has become a more popular topic we seem to see fewer movies where the actual smoking is a focal point of the film, although there are still plenty of individual characters in movies, often played by either the aforementioned Seth Rogen or James Franco, who smoke their share of weed. They often smoke everybody else’s share, too. Check out a large quantity of legal bud in action. Needless to say this is NSFW.
What’s your favorite stoner comedy of all time? Are you looking forward to Pineapple Express 2 (if it actually happens), or can you do without the genre in general? Let us know what you think in the comments below.