I used to get high on life, but I soon found myself having to seize more and more days to get the same feeling, so I switched to cannabis.
Cannabis is a natural alternative to opioid-based pharmaceuticals, and many legislators are learning to accept this. Still, governments around the world demonize cannabis, many executing death penalties against its growers and users. Even in a state like California, where cannabis is both recreationally and medically legal, it’s estimated that $0.74 of every $1 spent on cannabis is on the illicit market.
Here are the top 20 movies about cannabis released prior to 2020 to learn more about the culture and industry.
20. Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000)
Jesse and Chester are potheads who wake up one morning with no memory of what happened the night before. They also can’t find their car, so they have to retrace their steps. Things go further and further off the deep end from there, as they learn they partied with a wild array of characters.
19. Tie: High School (2010)/Mac & Devin Go to High School (2012)
We have a black and white take on cannabis use in high school. Two very obviously grown men who should be nowhere a high school (Snoop Dog and Wiz Khalifa) contrasted by two high schoolers robbing a psychotic drug dealer named Psycho Ed (Adrien Brody). Which is your favorite?
18. Smiley Face (2007)
Anna Faris is charming as a perma-stoned actress with a busy schedule and a belly full of potent pot brownies. Now she’s on a misadventure through the streets of Los Angeles trying to be productive and professional while not completely losing her shit.
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17. Ted (2012)/Ted 2 (2015)
Mark Wahlberg‘s John is a Bostonian who wished for his teddy bear to be alive as a kid. Now as an adult, Ted is a pot-smoking, foul-mouthed roommate. This strains his relationship with Lori (Mila Kunis) and even spawns a sequel where the duo join a lawyer (Amanda Seyfried) on a cross-country trip to gain Ted’s personhood.
16. Savages (2012)
A pair of California entrepreneurs start a weed business from seeds smuggled out of Afghanistan. Things are great, until Salma Hayek‘s boss bitch shows up with the Mexican Baja Cartel looking for a piece.
15. The Beach Bum (2019)
Moondog (Matthew McConaughey) is a poet and nomadic pothead wandering the Florida keys. His best friend is R&B singer Lingerie (Snoop Dogg), who’s banging his wife (Isla Fisher, an actress who surprisingly hates marijuana). Now he’s teaming with Jimmy Buffett (himself) to finish a book and earn his daughter’s respect.
14. We’re the Millers (2013)
Jason Sudeikis needs a fake family to help smuggle two tons of pot across the U.S. Mexico border in an RV. He hires random people around town, including a stripper named Rose (Jennifer Aniston), a teenage runaway named Casey (Emma Roberts), and his neighbor Kenny.
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13. Bio-Dome (1996)
Pauly Shore had a string of watchable 90s movies, and this one teams him with Stephen Baldwin as a pair of pothead slackers who wander into an experimental biological experiment and are locked inside for a year. Now a group of hand-selected scientists must contend with these two idiots.
12. Square Grouper: The Godfathers of Ganja (2011)
Documentary filmmaker Bill Corben released a duo of films about the 1970s and 80s drug trades. Square Grouper depicts Robert Elliot Platshorn and his Black Tuna Gang’s quest to ferry marijuana on the same Florida coastal route. It’s an informational look at the lengths these men went to (including winning fishing tournaments) to cover up their operations.
11. The Beach (2000)
Danny Boyle and Alex Garland team to provide the story of Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio), an American backpacker looking for more than the average tourist. After a chance encounter with the eccentric Daffy, he and a French couple follow a map to a mythical beach hidden behind a cannabis field.
10. Your Highness (2011)
Danny McBride and James Franco are brothers and sons of the king, although admittedly one is most fit than the other. When Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) is kidnapped by Leezar (Justin Theroux), the brothers embark on a quest to save her, meeting Isabel (Natalie Portman) along the way. From there, it’s basically a modern Monty Python movie with much more open drug use.
9. Pineapple Express (2008)
Process server Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) witnesses a murder by a crooked cop and drug lord. He’s high on a rare strain called Pineapple Express, so he visits his dealer (Franco) to find out if it can be traced back to him. Of course it can, so they find themselves on the run from criminals and cops alike.
8. Cheech & Chong Up in Smoke (1978)
Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong became pop cultural icons when they reworked their stage material for their first feature film. It’s the epitome of hippie counterculture from the 1970s, and became the pothead standard. If you love cannabis and haven’t watched/heard the Cheech & Chong 1970s and 1980s-era comedy, you’re missing out.
7. How High (2001)
Silas and Jamal (Method Man and Redman) weren’t going to make it anywhere until smoking a magical weed grown with the ashes of their best friend. Now his ghost helps them ace their college entrance exams and get into Harvard. Cheating will only get them so far, however, and their natural aptitude will have to account for the rest.
6. Humboldt County (2008)
Jeremy Strong plays an overachieving UCLA medical student whose father purposely fails him, sending him up north to Humboldt County with a jazz singer. Soon he’s living on a pot farm and deeply involved in her family’s business. It turns his life upside down, and by the end, he’s content just going on an adventure. If you’ve ever wanted to work the Humboldt harvest season, this film’s for you.
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5. Grandma’s Boy (2006)
A video game tester (Allen Covert) and pothead can’t pay his rent, so he ends up moving in with his grandmother Lilly (Doris Roberts) and her elderly friends. He develops an amazing game but it’s stolen by his jealous boss, and now Alex and his grandma are out for blood.
4. Half Baked (1998)
Comedy writing team Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan wrote this stoner classic about a group of potheads who turn to selling stolen medical weed to get a friend out of jail. When they get too big, a rival drug dealer wants in on their take, and now they’re working with the DEA on a sting operation to save themselves too.
3. Friday (1995)
After being fired on his day off, Craig (Ice Cube) is hanging out on the porch smoking weed with his best friend Smokey (Chris Tucker). The weed belongs to local drug dealer Big Worm, however, and he wants his money by the end of the night or he’ll kill them both. Things aren’t made easier when local bully Deebo (Tiny “Zeus” Lister Jr.) keeps showing up to jack them.
2. Harold and Kumar Series (2004-2012)
Harold Lee and Kumar Patel (John Cho and Kal Penn) have the munchies and just want to head to White Castle to satisfy them. Unfortunately, fate has other plans, and they end up on a wild adventure involving a crazy raccoon, ugly tow truck drive, racist police officer, and Neil Patrick Harris acting crazy.
1. Strange Wilderness (2008)
Peter Gaulke (Steve Zahn) is the host of “Strange Wilderness,” a nature TV show he inherited from his dead dad. With ratings plummeting, he sets out with a crew to Equador to document footage that proves Bigfoot is a real animal. On the way, they film more nature footage while narrating as only potheads can.