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Last Word: Do We Really Care About the Marijuana Habits of the Rich and Famous?

Here’s something you should know: You won’t be reading about Paul McCartney giving up marijuana here on CBE.

What? Sir Paul has given up pot? What’s going on?

Well, nothing is going on — and that’s the point.

Last week, a story came out that Paul McCartney, the famous Beatle, had given up using marijuana because he wanted to set a good example for his grandchildren. As news stories go, this one was worth no more than 3 or 4 paragraphs in the “People” column, and really, there’s not a lot more too it than what I just told you here.

However, I checked today on Google and there are no fewer than 194 news stories from last week about McCartney’s lack of cannabis use. Here are a few of the headlines:

There are a lot more, but you get the picture. Still, 194 stories on THIS?

Paul McCartney’s big marijuana moment came in 1980 when he was caught by Japanese customs officials trying to enter the country with pot and ended up spending 10 days in jail before getting deported. It was a big deal at the time, but that was 35 years ago.

What this really shows is more of the media’s fixation on marijuana and celebrity, and their want to blow up a minor mention of marijuana to over-the-top proportions when somebody famous is involved.

You saw it a few weeks ago when Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman commented that cannabis should be legalized “across the board,” and before that, when Willie Nelson announced he would be launching his own marijuana brand.

The Willie Nelson announcement, at least, had some newsworthy quality to it; the Paul McCartney story is simply overblown media hype.

Is it a surprise that some celebrities use marijuana? Of course not. And, is it a surprise that a famous former Beatle like Sir Paul McCartney has STOPPED using it? Again, not really.

Although you can make the case, and I have, that famous people talking about regular use of cannabis is a good thing because it keeps the legalization debate front and center, it also does something else: It trivializes the discussion to a media soundbite that offers no real information or insight.

It’s meant to titillate — no more, no less.

But, this engages me to do something about it. For my part, I’m going to try to limit the focus of celebrity marijuana coverage here on CBE to real, meaningful news that has some actual impact on the cannabis space.

I may love Sir Pau’s music, but I could care less if he’s smoking marijuana or not. And, I’m guessing a lot of you may care less, too.

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