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Real Time with Bill Maher is getting into the marijuana debate, and when the HBO series decides to take a stand, it doesn’t half-ass that stand. In fact, last night the series made some jokes about marijuana, chatted about pot smoking candidly and then ended on a “high” note when Bill Maher actually lit up on the stage. You can watch the lengthy segment, below.
Bill Maher started out his segment on HBO’s Real Time by noting that people love marijuana, so much so that several states have legalized the substance despite the federal government frowning on the prospect. He then gets into further detail about the war on drugs, bringing in information about Raymond Schwab, the Kansas City war veteran who had his children taken away when the government caught wind of his plan to move to Colorado to grow pot for other veterans. Eventually, all of these talking points lead Bill Maher to talk about his own problems with “glaucoma,” pulling out a joint and smoking it on TV.
A couple of years ago, the idea that someone might actually light up on television would have been pretty inconceivable, but Bill Maher certainly isn’t the only one who has toked up on TV at this point. During a newsroom conversation in South Africa, a marijuana advocate ended up toking up during the broadcast. Last year an Alaskan news anchor made headlines when she fought over the legalization of marijuana live on television. She ended up literally saying “fuck it” and quit to focus on marijuana rights in her state. (Alaska has legalized pot.) That’s less visceral than smoking a joint on-camera, but still is notable. Still, Maher is a much bigger personality than the average person who has had the balls to talk about pot in a news forum.
Bill Maher hasn't been the only person to jump into the marijuana debate. People on both sides of the field have weighed in over the past year or so, with celebrities like Maher and even Morgan Freeman speaking for marijuana rights and people like Nancy Grace speaking against pot smoking. Clearly it's still a decisive issue in this country, and Maher also notes in his video that misinformation regarding pot will continue to be available until politicians begin to take a real stand. We'll have to wait and see if that ends up happening.
In the meantime, you can catch new episodes of Real Time with Bill Maher on Fridays at 10 p.m. ET, only on HBO.