I think marijuana would have been a mostly taboo subject for prime time TV even 10 years ago, but as it moves further and further into the mainstream, we're seeing weed being mentioned more and more. Even on network television.
Marijuana got mentions on both The Simpsons (Fox) and The Office (NBC) last week and the Simpsons had an episode earlier this year that featured guest stars Cheech and Chong and was littered with marijuana references.
On The Simpsons last week, Lisa befriends and old magician who was a former colleague of Harry Houdini. As the magician tells Lisa about his dead wife and other past tragedies he laments, "All I have now is my memories and my medical marijuana."
A small mention, but it was good for a chuckle.
A marijuana reference on The Office came during last week's episode featuring the return of the Dundies. For those of you who don't follow the show, the Dundies are given out at a ceremony held for the employees of Dunder Mifflon who receive awards for things like having diabetes and smelly bowel movements.
On last week's episode, Michael Scott (Steve Carrel) presented Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) with the Doobie Doobie Pothead Stoner of the Year Award because "by his admission he actually tried marijuana in college".
Of course marijuana has been prominently featured on network TV many other times during the past decade, most notably in the Family Guy episode '420', which was entirely devoted to the herb and featured a musical number urging legalization. I see it as one of the high points of marijuana breaking through to mainstream culture.
The Simpsons have also tackled the subject before also. In the 2002 episode 'Weekend at Burnsie's', Homer is prescribed medical marijuana for ocular pressure after his eyes are pecked at by a murder of crows. I think this episode may have been one of the first mainstream, network shows to tackle the issue head on, but Family Guy sure took the ball and ran with it. If you haven't seen the 420 Episode, check it out. It's pretty awesome!
You can watch the episode of the Simpsons on Hulu here, and the episode of The Office here.