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This week, Mayor Bill De Blasio's new policy on marijuana went into effect. If anyone in New York City is caught with 25 grams or less of marijuana, they won't be arrested. Naturally, the story was tackled by Saturday Night Live this week, and the Not Ready For Prime Time Players ran with the news in a hysterical four minute short led by guest host Woody Harrelson, a self-pronounced pothead.
In the short, a stoner is watching the news that reveals the good news that if caught with the new amount by police, an arrest will not be warranted. He then exits his brownstone as do other “imprisoned” potheads who nod to each other in recognition at the new law. Their reaction is the same; freedom. Soon the leaf smokers are in the streets rejoicing and celebrating their good fortune at De Blasio’s generous new policy. Woody Harrelson’s dreadlocked bong toting character mounts a car and screams out, “Free….at last!!!” in a Braveheart type moment. Another player pronounces “De Blasio Baby!” after leaving her car filled with pot smoke.
But its when one of the throngs of pot smoking New Yorkers goes to light up when a cop stops him by letting him know the fine print of the law.
You can carry the 25 grams or less but if you get caught smoking it, you will be arrested. It is the equivalent of opening an empty door number three on a game show and hearing the dreaded “wah-wah-wahhhhhh.” Still, this short plays for big time laughs in the timeliest of fashions with the perfect host to anchor the sketch with Harrelson.
The ripple effect of De Blasio’s new policy has yet to really take a hold of the city since the change was announced earlier this week. However it clearly has pot smokers rejoicing that they will not have to spend any time in the clink if they are carrying 25 grams or less. For some, the decision made by the new Mayor’s office seemed outlandish and over the top but also seems to be more progressive and in step with the more and more relaxed marijuana laws around the rest of the United States. This topic was prime SNL real estate for the writers and performers to jump on and they really stick the landing on this one.
SNL has been known for decades for pushing the envelope of political satire and parody. Marijuana culture is more than ripe for the late night treatment. What is great about the short is that it does not take itself too seriously which is what makes it work so well. No comment from Mayor De Blasio’s office just yet but who knows what they are up to. Nudge nudge, wink wink.
NBC’s late night sketch comedy series airs on Saturday nights at 11:30 p.m. ET. Recent episodes of the series can be revisited over at Hulu.