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James Garner in 2011: 'Marijuana Should Be Legal'

James Garner in "Marlowe" in 1969. He was best known for his TV roles on "The Rockford Files" and "Maverick."

Actor James Garner, who passed away yesterday in California at 86, was a big fan of marijuana.

"I don't know where I'd be without it," he wrote in his 2011 memoir, The Garner Files. "It opened my mind to a lot of things, and now its active ingredient, THC, relaxes me and eases my arthritis pain."

Garner starred in such TV shows as Maverick and The Rockford Files, and also appeared in dozens of movies. Born in 1928 in Norman, Oklahoma, the handsome actor (nee James Bumgarner), who beared a resemblance to Rock Hudson, said he started using pot in his late teens ("I smoked for about 50 years"), which would place him lighting up in the late '40s. "I drank to get drunk but ultimately didn't like the effect," Garner noted. "Not so with grass. Grass is smooth. It had the opposite effect from alcohol: it made me more tolerant and forgiving…

'After decades of personal research and observation, I've concluded that marijuana should be legal and alcohol should be illegal.'

Garner had heart surgery in 1988 and a stroke in 2008. He was 86.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.