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The Stoner Starlet

Pot behooves the pop musician.

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The inevitable collapse of Miley Cyrus’s chipper-tween image continued last week when the Disney Channel singer was caught saying, “You know you’re a stoner when friends make you a Bob Marley cake” on a leaked video from her birthday party. While Disney was no doubt chagrined that its asset had gone off-message again—a different video surfaced last year of Cyrus smoking the psychoactive plant salvia—those fearing a Lohan-style slide need not be worried. All drugs, let’s remember, are not created equal, and her (alleged!) constant fiending to spliff dank nuggets should be a boon for her personal and professional future.

Consider Cyrus’s audience. She has what one presumes is a base of loyal fans who grew up watching her on Hannah Montana, as well as a more casual following of those who sheepishly enjoyed “Party in the USA.” The former are going to lose interest if she remains stuck in pubescence while they get older; the latter are going to lose interest if she doesn’t make any more hit songs. Getting wicked, wicked baked could help on both fronts. It will allow her to grow with her young supporters, many of whom now or will soon enjoy being mad crunk themselves, even as it abets her Top 40 aspirations. The history of American music made by people who smoked pot is, well, the history of American music, from Louis Armstrong to Bob Dylan to the Notorious B.I.G. There is nothing more chilling for a music lover than to hear a beloved artist talking about healthy, clean living. We know what that music sounds like: solo-years Sting. Gross.

Cyrus also benefits by (apparently!) opting for an earthy-slacker weed jones over the more typical drug behavior of today’s child-star-come-of-ager—i.e., doing lots of coke and driving an SUV into shrubbery. For one, hard drugs aren’t something “accessible” celebrities do. “I bet if we met we would really get along, just talking and smoking meth and getting arrested” is not a thing people think about their favorite singer or actor. Furthermore, even for those with very flexible professional schedules, uppers have a problematic tendency to totally incapacitate—see the wasted years of talents like Lohan and Robert Downey Jr.

By contrast, if you’re an artist who has employees to schedule appointments and pay bills, the typical drawbacks of weed-smoking (slovenliness, excessive listening to Otis Redding) can be made irrelevant or even useful. If Jack Nicholson, Tom Petty, and Brad Pitt are any indication, it seems possible to have a long, consistently productive marijuana-fueled career. (Just speculating, of course!) There is one small downside to note: potentially tumbling through the gateway into crippling, terminal heroin addiction. But hey, every occupation has its hazards.

Have good intel? Send tips to intel@nymag.com.


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