It’s impossible to hear Morgan Freeman’s voice and not be seduced into a trance-like state. After all, the authoritative Oscar-winning legend has guided people through alien invasions, the icy plains of Antarctica, and even down perilous streets in foreign destinations (thanks, GPS feature).
One thing most people don’t associate the actor with, however, is cannabis. That all changed in a 2015 interview with The Daily Beast. Prepared to discuss his new film 5 Flights Up, Freeman instead opened up about his long-time use of marijuana and why he thinks it should be legalized everywhere.
Eight years ago, Freeman was driving across Mississippi when he was involved in an accident. His 1997 Nissan Maxima skidded off the highway and flipped several times. While he survived thanks to knowledgable medics and the Jaws of Life, his left shoulder, arm and elbow were shattered. Doctors operated for four hours to repair the nerves, but he still hasn’t reigned the full use of his left hand. To cope with the pain, Freeman turned to marijuana.
When pressed for information about his opinion on the use of the herb, Freeman stated:
“THEY USED TO SAY, ‘YOU SMOKE THAT STUFF, BOY, YOU GET HOOKED! MY FIRST WIFE GOT ME INTO IT MANY YEARS AGO. HOW DO I TAKE IT? HOWEVER IT COMES! I’LL EAT IT, DRINK IT, SMOKE IT, SNORT IT! THIS MOVEMENT IS REALLY A LONG TIME COMING, AND IT’S GETTING LEGS—LONGER LEGS. NOW, THE THRUST IS UNDERSTANDING THAT ALCOHOL HAS NO REAL MEDICINAL USE. MAYBE IF YOU HAVE ONE DRINK IT’LL QUIET YOU DOWN, BUT TWO OR THREE AND YOU’RE FUCKED.”
Referring to the accident he survived, he pointed to the glove-aid sticking out of his left suit sleeve and stated:
“MARIJUANA HAS MANY USEFUL USES. I HAVE FIBROMYALGIA PAIN IN THIS ARM, AND THE ONLY THING THAT OFFERS ANY RELIEF IS MARIJUANA. THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT KIDS WHO HAVE GRAND MAL SEIZURES, AND THEY’VE DISCOVERED THAT MARIJUANA EASES THAT DOWN TO WHERE THESE CHILDREN CAN HAVE A LIFE. THAT RIGHT THERE, TO ME, SAYS, ‘LEGALIZE IT ACROSS THE BOARD!’”
The last time Freeman mentioned marijuana was in a 2003 interview with The Guardian. He can be remembered stating “Never give up the ganja.” His attitude in The Daily Beast interview was the same.
“AND WHAT NEGATIVE EFFECTS DOES IT HAVE?” FREEMAN CONTINUED. “LOOK AT WOODSTOCK 1969. THEY SAID, ‘WE’RE NOT GOING TO BOTHER THEM OR SAY ANYTHING ABOUT SMOKING MARIJUANA,’ AND NOT ONE PROBLEM OR FIGHT. THEN LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED IN ’99.”
The 79-year-old narrator was referencing the event in which fewer individuals used marijuana. In effect, a number of riots and arrests took place.
In the video below, activists with The Young Turks discuss Freeman’s progressive stance on the use of the substance: