Throughout her expansive career, Susan Sarandon has earned a reputation for pushing the boundaries of female narratives on screen. In a career spanning almost fifty years, Sarandon has played a nun, an outlaw, a prostitute, and even a witch – among dozens of other roles. From her first film credit in 1970 as a wealthy, Upper-East-Side teen who becomes involved with drug-dealing hippies in Joe, to her seismic role as Louise Sawyer in cult classic Thelma and Louise, Sarandon has always been a risk-taker.
This devil-may-care attitude extends into her strident social and political activism. Never one to shy away from a cause, Sarandon hasn’t cared whether her views have made her unpopular in the film industry. At the 1993 Academy Awards, she and Tim Robbins used their stage time to draw attention to the detention of HIV positive Haitian refugees at Guantanamo Bay. She was also an outspoken advocate for Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential election, running into controversy over statements she made about his democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
With such a history of unequivocal opinions, it’s no wonder then that Sarandon has been equally outspoken about her lifelong use of marijuana. Sarandon first spoke out about her use of marijuana several years ago and has since been a vocal advocate for legalization. In an interview with Andy Cohen, Sarandon revealed that she’s smoked before almost every movie awards show she’s attended (apart from the Oscars). Given that she’s been nominated for nine Golden Globes, seven Emmy’s, and four Screen Actor’s Guild awards to name a few, that adds up to a lot of time spent stoned on the red carpet.
As a successful actress, producer, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Sarandon sees herself as a different kind of advocate for marijuana use – and not someone that traditionally fits into the stereotype of what a cannabis user looks like. Since first discovering the drug at college in the late 60’s, Sarandon is a prime example of how cannabis use can work as one small facet in leading a healthy, productive lifestyle.
She has likened marijuana use to yoga and meditation and has spoken out about how it has helped her creativity and mindfulness. She has stated that while she will read and review scripts while high to see different points of view on a character, she often takes a break from marijuana when she’s working or filming. Sarandon’s one rule for smoking is “don’t be stoned if you have to pretend you’re not”, and so she also took a break from marijuana while her children were younger since she found it hard to find time to herself.
Sarandon has spoken publicly of the hypocrisy around the criminalization of weed versus the socially acceptable use of alcohol. As a mother of three, Sarandon has said that she would rather her kids smoked marijuana instead of drinking. While she doesn’t think that consistent marijuana use from a very young age is a good idea, she has stated that if more people used marijuana instead of alcohol “the world would be in a better place”.
She believes that marijuana is over politicized in comparison to legal substances such as alcohol, which can cause much more damage to your body. As a vocal advocate for legalization, Sarandon has called out the unfair incarceration of people of color for marijuana related offences as a waste of taxpayer’s money, and has proposed that legalizing marijuana would provide a much welcome boost to the economy.
Stars such as Andy Cohen and Kathy Bates have shared stories about smoking with Susan Sarandon – with Bates admitting that she had some “good sh*t”. Sarandon herself has also opened up about her love affair with the late David Bowie, admitting that they used to smoke together.