Wednesday, September 18, 2013


UPDATE 5/18: Gayle King, guesting on The Ellen Show, said she wasn't telling tales out of school when she said that Oprah "has smoked a little marijuana." In a separate interview, Oprah  declared Ellen's pot-infused party "the most fun I ever had. I don't even know what happened to me." 

9/18/2013 - Last year's Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Users from MPP had only five women on their list, and a female didn't show up until position #21.

This year's a little better, with 11 women included and Oprah Winfrey coming in at #2, between Presidents Obama and Clinton.

Winfrey was asked when she last smoked marijuana on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live" on August 16 and replied "Uh...1982." Host Andy Cohen then said, "Let's hang out after the show" to which she replied, "Okay. I hear it's gotten better."

At age 17, Winfrey won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant and began doing the news part time at radio station WVOL. She was then both the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville's WLAC-TV. She moved to Baltimore in 1976 to co-anchor the six o'clock news at WJZ-TV where she became co-host of WJZ's local talk show People Are Talking.

By her admission, Winfrey did much of this during the time she smoked pot, until the age of 28. In 1983, she began to host AM Chicago, taking the show from last place in the ratings the highest-rated talk show in Chicago. The rest is herstory.

According to Kitty Kelley's unauthorized biography, drug use was so prevalent at the Nashville station when Oprah worked there that management removed a vending machine "after they discovered it had been rigged to dispense marijuana." On a special pre-taped show in January 1995, Winfrey tearfully admitted she did cocaine in her past, according to Kelley to stave off a lawsuit by a former boyfriend who alleged she addicted him to coke. Oprah's book club endorsement of former heroin addict James Frey's A Million Little Pieces blew up when it was uncovered Frey fabricated most of the book.

Like Obama, Winfrey is lucky she never got arrested for a youthful pot offense, or she might have had a much lesser career, like 2008's Miss Teen Louisiana Lindsey Evans.

Showing up next on MPP's list is Lady Gaga at position #20. Last year, Gaga missed the cut, coming in at #52 (even though she was probably more influential last year). Jennifer Aniston (last year's #38) follows at #25, and Angelina Jolie dropped from #24 to #28 (maybe because she says she doesn't like pot). Sarah Palin dropped the furthest, from #14 on last year's list to #39 this year.

Martha Stewart is new to the list, coming in at #29 after she also joked with Cohen about knowing how to roll a joint. The venerable Susan Sarandon joins the list at #33, with an early admission uncovered by

Also newly added are Madonna (#42), Miley Cyrus (#45) and Rhianna (#47). Maya Angelou, who was the top woman on the MPP list last year at #21, dropped down to #37, and Whoopi Goldberg, who made last year's list at #44, has dropped off entirely.

Some obvious omissions to the list are: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway, Melissa Etheridge, Joan Rivers and Roseanne Barr. I sure hope someone asks Hillary Clinton soon if she smoked.

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