CANNABIS CULTURE – Paul Michael Glaser, who played a TV cop on “Starky and Hutch” in the 1970s, has been arrested for possessing pot and paraphernalia while on a book tour in Kentucky.
Glaser (pictured above right), who lives in Venice, California, reportedly said he has a medical marijuana recommendation from a California doctor. He faces a possible 45-day jail sentence for his pot charge, and one year in jail for the pipe he smoked it in, according to The Bowling Green Daily News.
Glaser lost his wife and daughter to AIDS, and his wife Elizabeth was a prominent activist for awareness about the disease. Considering that AIDS activists in San Francisco were essential to winning the right to use medical marijuana in California, and that Glaser is well regarded as a family man, I hope that he will skip the obligatory hand-wringing over his bust and come clean as a responsible marijuana smoker and citizen.
The news is reminiscent of the recent bust of Jim Belushi, who also outed himself as a California medical marijuana cardholder when he was caught with pot last month in Martha’s Vineyard. This is significant because Belushi spoke strongly against all drugs after his brother John died from a heroin/cocaine overdose in 1982. Apparently, Jim is able to distinguish hard from soft drugs, or medical use from the dangerous kind.
It’s also interesting that Glaser was caught in Kentucky, since that state has a particularly close relationship with hemp. The columns at the state capitol in Frankfort are carved with hemp leaves, and Abraham Lincoln’s wife Mary was from a prominent hemp-producing region there. It’s the state where Woody Harrelson chose to intentionally plant four hemp seeds, getting himself arrested to change the Kentucky law that lumped low-THC hemp and medicinal-grade marijuana together.
Another 70s TV, car-driving hero found himself on the other side of the law when The Dukes of Hazzard TV show star Tom Wopat was caught with marijuana at an airport in Wisconsin in 2008. The Dukes of Hazzard movie from 2005 ends with the mayor and other luminaries leaving Willie Nelson’s tour bus in a cloud of smoke. Willie Nelson, who just performed his new duet with Snoop Dogg, “Smoke Me When I Die,” on the CMT Music Awards, regularly skates on his pot charges. But what is a joke for some, isn’t always for others who aren’t so famous or lucky.
It’s too bad that most celebrities don’t come out about marijuana until they’re busted, when it’s harder for them to be honest about their chosen indulgence, or medical use. Comments from friends on Glaser’s Facebook page are well-wishing and supportive, with posts like “who cares” and “enjoy your life”. Glaser first won my heart when he played a rebel in Fiddler on the Roof. I hope his activist heart is still beating and that he, and other celebrities, will stand up and help end the injustice of our marijuana laws.