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Actor James Garner Once Said ‘Marijuana Should Be Legal’

The 'Maverick' actor was a 50-year pot smoker who had an aversion to alcohol.

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By Victoria Kim

07/23/14

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James Garner is leaving a little more behind than his legacy as a TV and film actor following his death on Saturday at age 86. Garner, a veteran pot smoker with an aversion to alcohol, has also left behind his opinions on smoking weed.

In his 2011 memoir The Garner Files, the actor detailed his experience and love for marijuana. “I started smoking marijuana in my late teens. I drank to get drunk but ultimately didn’t like the effect. Not so with grass. Grass is smooth. It had the opposite effect from alcohol: it made me more tolerant and forgiving,” he wrote.

Garner, who died in his home of natural causes, is famous for his role as Jim Rockford in “The Rockford Files” and the 1950s TV Western “Maverick.” He is also remembered for his Oscar-nominated role in the film “Murphy’s Romance” as well as “The Children’s Hour” with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, and "The Great Escape" opposite action star Steve McQueen—just a few of many in his long, extensive TV and film career.

Garner continued working well into his 70s, appearing in the 2002 film “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” and the TV series “8 Simple Rules…For Dating My Teenage Daughter” the following year. In 2005, the actor received the Screen actors Guild’s lifetime achievement award.

Though Garner was able to keep his smoking habit under wraps, he had strong opinions about the sweet leaf. “I smoked marijuana for 50 years. I don’t know where I’d be without it. It opened my mind to a lot of things, and now its active ingredient, THC, relaxes me and eases my arthritis pain,” he wrote in his memoir. “I’ve concluded that marijuana should be legal and alcohol should be illegal. But, good luck with that.”

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