My phone screamed on the bedside table at 4:30 a.m. I’d been playing poker at a home game in Culver City until late in the night, so I didn’t answer, and I also didn’t answer the other six times it rang in the next two hours. When I finally woke up, I had a text from the “BBC OS” asking if I could talk. “What is the BBC OS?” I wondered. Then I realized it was the actual BBC’s Overnight Service. Still, why were they calling me at dawn? And then when I went online, I realized they wanted to know my thoughts about the fact that Snoop Dogg had announced, on his Instagram, that he, “after much consideration and conversation with my family … decided to give up smoke.” He accompanied this announcement with a photo of himself, hands in prayer, looking quite plaintive.
Well, this was news, relevant to my life. I publicly gave up marijuana, and all THC products, in 2017, recently celebrated six years sober and have made myself a low-key public face of weed addiction and recovery.
If I’d answered, my thoughts would have been “WHHUUUUUH?” But now that I’ve had some coffee and a couple hours to compose myself, I do have some actual thoughts.
Snoop followed his first post with a very serious-looking selfie, and the caption “respect my privacy.” I posted something very similar after beginning my recovery, without the calls for “respect,” which I hadn’t earned, and “privacy,” which I already possessed, because I was living in relative obscurity in a Texas suburb. But Snoop is one of our most famous public figures, who for decades has been the face of public marijuana overconsumption. People met his “give up smoke” announcement with surprise, mockery and skepticism.
The skepticism is well-earned, as Snoop is one of the savviest self-promoters alive. People are speculating that this is a publicity stunt for a new line of edible marijuana gummies. “Quitting smoke” is not the same thing as giving up THC cold turkey. If this is the case, then it’s annoying that anyone called me at all. Snoop doesn’t need my promotional help. Marijuana is big business, and he’s one of our biggest businessmen. No one sells as well as he does. That’s fine, buy Snoop’s gummies, they’ll get you real high.
But it’s also true that marijuana, in all its forms, is a highly addictive substance, and it can quietly destroy people’s lives, whether they’re rich and famous or not. It would be a lie to say I’ve heard from “thousands of people” on this topic, since that would indicate I have a bestseller on my hands, which I do not. But since I published my memoir, Pothead, about my journey from occasional user to a 24/7 mega-stoner prone to public near-psychotic meltdowns, I have regularly heard from two or three people a month via email or social media, some of them total strangers. Many people out there are struggling with weed addiction themselves or are intimately acquainted with someone who is, and they need someone actually famous who can help bring real attention to their problems.
On the off chance that Snoop Dogg needs us to respect his privacy because he really is quitting weed — and I hold out that’s a possibility, as he’s a fifty-two-year-old grandfather and staying stoned forever does have its long-term effects — then he’s about to perform a huge public service. Marijuana should be legal, but it’s also highly addictive and damages the lives of many people who don’t have Snoop’s vast networks and resources.
Maybe Snoop really wants to recover from weed addiction and needs a sponsor. So I’m declaring myself available. As long as he doesn’t call me at 4:30 in the morning.