Superheroes have bigger problems to deal with than recreational marijuana use.
Violent criminals. Anti-heroes. Super villains. Aliens. Monsters. Evil robots. Evil relatives. Evil clones.
Which begs the question: “What do superheroes really think of weed?”
It goes without saying that these are my thoughts on the matter of superheroes and weed. If you think I have a hero all wrong—or if you just want to talk about comics or marijuana, be sure to leave a comment below or send a correction on Twitter using the hashtag #InfinityStoned.
Marijuana in the Comics (A Very Abridged History)
In the early days of comics, our favorite heroes made their living fighting Nazis and telling kids how to avoid drugs.
This is thanks in part to the Comics Code Authority (CCA), or Comics Code, a line in the sand that said what was acceptable in comics. The idea was to let comic publishers self-regulate instead of dealing with government censorship, and the CCA would remain in place from 1954 to 2011.
And it’s part of the reason superheroes appeared in so many PSAs in the late 20th century.
Let’s skip ahead to the Modern Age of Comics, often associated with the 1986 release of Watchmen, by Alan Moore. Specifically, let’s explore one of the most widely published anti-marijuana comics in history.
For 4 months in 1999, Marvel published Fastlane, an insert that appeared smack dab in the middle of every Marvel comic. It quickly earned a reputation among many comic book fans as a frustrating and unwelcome distraction.
As Chris Sims writes for Comics Alliance, “It interrupted the story to give them life advice that they didn’t really feel they needed. It wasn’t uncommon for people, even people who normally kept their comics in pristine condition, to just tear the eight pages of Fastlane out of each one.”
Not all heroes are quite so opposed to marijuana use, though. And with the end of the Comics Code in 2011, heroes could finally start getting high without having to fly about in a cape.
As public opinion shifts toward legalization, many comic publishers have wisely backed off the marijuana issue. Some writers are even working to develop characters that are actively pro-marijuana.
On a recent episode of CW’s Legends of Tomorrow, the team of C-list superheroes (and anti-heroes) heads back in time to the 60s, where a young Professor Stein is revealed to be a pothead. If that wasn’t enough, White Canary snags 3 joints from his lab before leaving.
That’s something we wouldn’t have seen just 10 years ago.
And in the last handful of years, we’ve been introduced to a number of marijuana-themed superheroes, like Ziggy Marley’s Marijuanaman (Image Comics). I’ll give you one guess where he gets his power.
It seems superheroes and weed aren’t mutually exclusive.
With that in mind, let’s look at what some of the most popular superheroes would say about weed. If I don’t cover your favorite, be sure to add them to the comments.
Superheroes and Weed: Who’s Getting High Without Their Cape?
Let’s be honest: Marvel, DC, and many other publishers aren’t likely to show their iconic heroes using or approving of drugs—even legal ones.
If a hero does use drugs, it is almost certainly portrayed as a character flaw. Something to be overcome. Or in the case of Legends of Tomorrow, cannabis is more of a punchline than plot point.
But I don’t buy that.
The heroes we fell in love with are complex, with personal stories that are just as gripping as the action we see on the page or the big screen.
They’re humans (typically) with human problems (again, typically). They deal with stress. They need help sleeping. They drink alcohol.
Is it really so hard to believe some heroes smoke marijuana recreationally? Even those that don’t toke don’t seem particularly concerned with busting marijuana consumers or dealers.
So let’s consider some of the most popular heroes ever to grace the page. Would they be openly opposed to cannabis? Would they turn a blind eye? Or would they smoke a fat blunt to wind down after a long day of crime-fighting and identity concealing?
Superman has long been the Golden Boy of comics. Easily one of the most iconic heroes in the world, Superman represents many of the ideals we strive for.
He upholds truth, justice, and the American way. And, for a long time, that meant delivering PSAs like the one above.
While Superman has changed fairly dramatically over the years (originally he could only jump 1/8th of a mile, now he can fly faster than light), he never lost his do-the-right-thing attitude. And, chances are the Man of Steel still views marijuana as a hindrance to adults and a potential threat to children.
That doesn’t mean he would spend his time flying around snatching joints from the hands of cannabis consumers, though. He might not love that the Superman OG strain was named after him, but he’s probably too busy fighting big bads like Darkseid and Brainiac to worry about weed, anyway.
His alter ego Clark Kent, on the other hand, could end up writing about marijuana for The Daily Planet. Especially if it is illegal and prevalent in Metropolis.
Wonder Woman is one of the founding members of the Justice League. She’s a righteous role model for kids and adults alike. And her recent film proved that a strong heroine can be just as big a draw as Batman, Superman, and many of Marvel’s heavy-hitters.
Like Superman, Wonder Woman lives by a strict code of ethics, and it’s pretty safe to assume she wouldn’t care for cannabis. Not necessarily because it’s illegal at the federal level. She would just see it as unnecessary. The Amazons are in pique physical and mental condition, and a drug—even a natural one like cannabis—doesn’t fit into that narrative.
That, and it’s hard to fight the God of War when you’re couch-locked.
Batman & Robin
Batman doesn’t do drugs. Well, he doesn’t do recreational drugs. He has been known to use certain drugs or chemicals to best difficult foes or advance his training, though.
So, would Batman smoke pot?
Almost certainly not—at least not the high-THC strains you can find at the dispensary. The benefits of cannabis just aren’t streamlined enough for the Caped Crusader. If he needed pain relief or a boost of endurance, there are other options that would be just as effective without requiring him to take up smoking.
Wait a minute, though.
Having trained abroad, Bruce Wayne has been exposed to a variety of natural remedies. And given his experience with Poison Ivy’s botanical mayhem and the Joker’s laughing gas (and his well-earned title of World’s Greatest Detective), it’s almost a certainty that he has spent some time researching cannabis.
While I don’t expect Batman would smoke weed to get high, it doesn’t take much imagination to picture him using a bit of CBD balm or lotion after a long night of getting punched by criminals.
Deadpool has always been a Marvel fan favorite. And with the insanely successful movies starring Ryan Reynolds (and some truly spectacular marketing), that fame is only climbing.
Given that his healing ability is more powerful than Wolverine’s, I’m not confident cannabis would have a noticeable effect on the Merc with a Mouth.
I also don’t think that would stop him from lighting up, especially if there was a joke to be made.
Iron Man is the movie that started the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And while the MCU isn’t likely to introduce marijuana anytime soon, Tony Stark may be one of the most likely Avengers to use cannabis.
Hear me out.
In the comics, Iron Man turns to drinking as a coping mechanism. In an effort to relieve stress without alcohol, Stark could turn to marijuana. He’s a genius, after all, and it’s unlikely he would completely ignore all of the research about cannabis.
That said, Tony Stark is a man who cares about his image, and there’s still too much stigma around marijuana to expect he would be completely open about using it.
Spider-Man loves Mary Jane. That said, he doesn’t love marijuana.
As one of the youngest superheroes in the Marvel roster, Spiderman has long been used in anti-marijuana PSAs and publications.
In fact, a 3-part Spider-Man story arc was one of the first comics to openly address drug use. At the time, the CCA refused to approve the comic because it mentioned drugs. It didn’t matter that the story was anti-drug… it was still censored.
That’s when Stan Lee said, “Excelsior!” (or so I assume) and printed the comic anyway.
And with positive feedback pouring in from parents, teachers, and faith leaders, it was Spider-Man who changed the CCA and allowed comic books to address issues like narcotics and addiction.
In 2012, Marvel released Spider-Man Fights Substance Abuse, a collection of many previous anti-drug issues and one-offs the web-slinger appeared in during the era of the CCA.
In order to take on the power of the Black Panther, King T’Challa eats a naturally growing “Heart-Shaped Herb” and takes a nap.
While this isn’t cannabis, the experience is pretty similar (minus the super-powers), and it does suggest an openness to drug use when tradition calls for it.
No, I don’t think Black Panther would be a recreational smoker. But, I do think cannabis could have a place in Wakanda.
Guardians of the Galaxy
It’s a bit of a cheat to combine all of the Guardians into one group, but it’s also easier… so here we are.
The Guardians of the Galaxy aren’t your traditional superheroes. They party hard. They drink a lot. They pick fights. And many of them would be perfectly fine with pot.
Bluntman & Chronic
There’s a generation of stoners that grew up with Jay and Silent Bob. At the risk of enraging the internet, you could call them the Millennial version of Cheech and Chong.
If you’ve kept up with the work of writer, director, and comic book super-fan Kevin Smith, you know that the fictional duo not only smokes marijuana—they actively sell it outside of the Quick Stop.
In the above clip from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, the titular characters find themselves battling Mark Hamill (Star Wars, Batman: The Animated Series) with pot leaf costumes and bong lightsabers… just in case the name “Bluntman and Chronic” wasn’t obvious enough.
Herb is Just One Letter Away from Hero
You don’t have to lay off the herb to be a hero. And you don’t have to be Marijuanaman to enjoy a bit of bud.
Remember to share your favorite heroes (and what they think of weed) in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #InfinityStoned.
And before your next Marvel movie marathon, stop by Karing Kind in North Boulder to stock up on top-shelf, clean-grown herb.
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