Fran Lebowitz: 'I'm for the Legalization of All Drugs'

Lebowitz on Pot: "They certainly give you the impression now that marijuana is good for you, like whole wheat."

Author/raconteur Fran Lebowitz is the subject of Pretend It's a City, a seven-part Netflix docu-series directed by filmmaker Martin Scorsese. She's written such books as Metropolitan Life and Social Studies.

In Episode 5 ("Department of Sports and Health"). Lebowitz, who's 70, offers her opinions of marijuana, as reported by Tokin Woman:

"Marijuana used to be a horrible thing that would lead to a life of desperate degradation. Now it's a wonderful thing. It's curative. They put it in jelly beans, gummy bears and lollipops! These are things children eat...

"I smoked marijuana when I was younger. I didn't particularly like it. I don't like the smell of it. Of course, now people don't smoke it as much. I mean they smoke it but they also take these other things, these candies or whatever. That's not the feeling I was ever seeking, that feeling of kind of light happiness, OK? That's not for me. No light happiness for me." 

"I do have friends who are around my age or even older who I know to have been daily marijuana smokers for 50 years. These are not the most acute people on the planet. Let me assure you that there is an aggregate effect. Because I knew them maybe when they started, OK? So they're not like, dangerous people, but maybe they're not the people you would consult anymore.

"Sometimes, My God, I think, What happened to him? I asked him something and he was so vague. I asked her what happend and she goes, He's a pothead! I forgot.

"So if I was in charge I would say, 'Marijuana. People like it. It's fun. Let them have it. What do I care?'" 

Lebowtiz also discusses her addiction to cigarettes in the episode.

Always the contrarian, Lebowitz commented about pot and other drugs in an interview with Paper magazine in 2014. 

"I don't take any drugs, and I haven't taken any since I was 19; from 15 to 19 I took my lifetime supply. Everyone has an amount of time that they can consume drugs and alcohol, and you can either do it over 60 years or in a span of four years, which is what I did. I'm for the legalization of all drugs, not because they're all good for you, because they certainly give you the impression now that marijuana is good for you, like whole wheat. I don't really think they're good for you. I don't see them having a good effect on anyone I know and they didn't have one on me, although they work. They absolutely make people feel happier.

"My reason for them being legal is to take the crime out of it and to control it. I certainly know people who have been smoking the marijuana plant nonstop since the late '60s, and let me assure you, it definitely has an effect on your mind. These are not the sharpest people. It definitely has a softening effect on your mind. I'm even in favor of the legalization of heroin, which I know is a very destructive drug, mainly because I think people can do what they want."

This article was originally posted on Sept. 18, 2014. It was updated on Jan. 19, 2021.


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

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