You probably know who John Roselius is.
He’s the actor who in the 1980s and ’90s told millions of Americans in an anti-drug advertisement that “this is your brain on drugs” while frying an egg on a pan. The ad has become a bit of a cultural phenomenon — exemplifying what many people see as the ridiculous hyperbole behind the federal government’s war on drugs and its anti-drug campaigns.
Well, it turns out that Roselius himself is not too happy with the ad’s legacy. While he believed in the ad’s message back when he did it, he recently told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that he’s since questioned its effectiveness. He also said that government drug programs were failing and “horribly run and misread.”
And, in a big twist, he said that this year he voted to legalize marijuana in California.
Roselius elaborated that he’s still against legalizing other drugs, but he just hadn’t thought much about legalizing pot until it happened in Washington state and his in-laws voted for it. “They were in their late '80s and my mother in-law, god rest her soul, had pretty bad arthritis and a lot of pain,” Roselius said. “My father in-law had a lot of pain in his legs. They didn’t want to use opioids and they went with the marijuana.”
But Roselius’s change of heart actually reflects a shift among the broader population.
According to the Pew Research Center’s surveys, support for marijuana legalization has rapidly increased over the past several years — from 32 percent in 2006 to 57 percent in 2016. And while much of that comes from millennials embracing legalization, every other generation has shifted toward more and more support for legalization as well.
This is one of the reasons legalization advocates characterize their cause as inevitable: The momentum is clearly on their side. And now, they even have the “this is your brain on drugs” guy on their side.
This November, voters in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada will vote on whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use, while voters in Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota will vote on medical marijuana legalization. To read more about the initiatives and chance of passing, check out Vox’s explainer.