Seth Rogen on How His Films Broke Stigmas About Pot in a "Weirdly Cathartic" Way
At Canada’s Collision Conference this week, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg spoke about how their approach to marijuana in movies forever influenced “stoner films” and the public’s perception of pot.
Published on May 21, 2019

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg — the pot-addled geniuses behind Superbad, This Is the End, and Pineapple Express — said their weed-friendly comedy films were wildly successful because they depicted cannabis use as a normal, everyday occurrence.

The two Hollywood heavyweights weighed in on their contributions to the cannabis legalization movement during a panel talk on Monday at the Collision Conference in Toronto, pegged by organizers as “North America’s fastest-growing tech conference.”

Given that Canada is banking nicely from its newly legal marijuana market, naturally, the event needed to include some cannabis aficionados. And Rogen and Goldberg are certainly experts: The two recently joined the legal weed game after founding their own Canadian cannabis company, Houseplant, back in March.

The panel’s host, Karan Wadhera of the cannabis investment firm Casa Verde Capital, started by stating, “You guys have had a busy couple of decades.”

“Yeah, and we’ve been stoned the entire time,” replied Rogen, followed by a roar of audience laughter.

“Not right now though!” Goldberg interjected. “That’d be crazy.”

Afterward, Wadhera asked the two filmmakers-turned-ganjaprenuers about how cannabis influenced their lives. Both Rogen and Goldberg were born and raised in Vancouver, where cannabis use was culturally accepted. But when they moved to Los Angeles as teens to embark on their film careers, they noticed that Americans generally stigmatized the herb — and that’s where they hit on their filmmaking niche.

As Rogen recalled:

I really saw that we had an opportunity with our work to help make people view [cannabis] the same way that we viewed it, in that it was an additive part of our day-to-day lives. So I would talk about it on talk shows all the time… David Letterman came to me once, and I was just like, ‘Why do you keep asking me about [weed]? I’ve talked about it so much on your show.’ And he was like, ‘Because no one else will talk about it. And I know, for other people, it’s a part of our lives. I’m just fascinated because you’re willing to talk about it.’

At the time, we were being very productive, we were producing a lot of movies, which, again, was playing against the stigma of someone who used as much weed as I did – and do. And then we really tried to start incorporating it into our work in a way that also kind of broke some of those stigmas.

Discussing a moment from their film The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Rogen continued:

There’s a scene where me and Paul Rudd are playing video games, and we’re smoking weed. And we’re talking about other stuff, but it was actually one of the first scenes in a movie where people are smoking weed, and they aren’t commenting on it. It is just a part of what they’re doing. And they aren’t pariahs on society, they’re just people hanging out [with] weed. It’s as if they’re drinking or something like that.

Randy Robinson
Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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