Adam Carolla (adamcarolla.com/)

Why Adam Carolla thinks Californians will say no to recreational pot in 2016

Comic Adam Carolla on his relationship with weed, retail marijuana's chances in California's 2016 election and more

Regular listeners of “The Adam Carolla Show” — the massively popular daily podcast from the comedian best known for “Loveline” and “The Man Show” — know that weed is a regular topic of conversation for Carolla and his guests.

So when Carolla takes his podcast on the road for a live taping at Denver’s historic Paramount Theater on March 25, you know cannabis will be on the agenda in the 420-friendly city. (Maybe I’ll see you there? I’ve been invited to be one of Carolla’s guests during the Friday-night taping.)

And so we caught up with the comic to talk about his own relationship with weed, his feelings about recreational cannabis’ chances in California’s November election and a marijuana regulation he thinks has John Denver turning over in his grave.

The Cannabist: Tell me about your own personal relationship with weed.

Adam Carolla: As I said when I was being interviewed to be a Catholic Big Brother many years ago, they asked me, ‘Do you do drugs?’ They have to ask you that when you interview for Catholic Big Brother. I said, ‘No, I don’t do drugs per se, but if I’m at a party and there’s a joint going around, then count me in.’

I’m not a daily smoker. It’s not really part of my lifestyle. But if I’m ever anywhere and there’s anything going around, I’m in.

Cannabist: I know a lot of people like that.

Carolla: Yeah, but what kind of pot is the best if I just need some sleep?

Cannabist: Well, I know some friends who prefer to use indica edibles for sleep. Edibles have a longer lasting high than smoking or vaporizing marijuana, and indica is in-da-couch — the downer to sativa’s upper. They say those kinds of indica edibles will put you to sleep and keep you asleep.

Carolla: Well then, that’s my relationship with pot — until I get into these indica edibles. I do have difficulty shutting it off at night. I have difficulty going to sleep. I have hypervigilance disorder where I’m always up and around. I used to smoke a fair bit when I was 22, 23, 24, when (marijuana) was sort of harder to find. But as I got into a adulthood I found myself with a glass of wine in my hand rather than a doobie. And I’m definitely not one of these guys who is going to get high and grab a microphone and go on stage. I’m not good enough. But I love getting high — there’s nothing funnier than getting high with my buddies, going out to dinner and laughing our asses off.

Cannabist: You live in southern California. So do you think California voters are going to just say yes to recreational marijuana in November’s election?

Carolla: I don’t know, because we’re this weird culture out here. Even though every commercial that depicts California shows people running on the beach with the dog and the drink in their hand and having a big bonfire at the end of the night, all of those activities are things you’d be arrested for if you lived in California.

You think of California and you think of letting your freak flag fly and, ‘Man, do your thing.’ But when you come to California and you go to the beach, before you even walk onto the beach there’s a sign with 22 things you can’t do on the beach — no throwing footballs, no throwing Frisbees, no dogs allowed, no bonfires allowed, no cannabis or skateboards allowed. On one hand we have this stupid reputation for it being like, ‘Come out and do your thing.’ On the other we have more rules and regulations than any place in the world. It’s not as footloose and fancy-free as you think. Go to the beach, light a cigarette, be carried out in zip ties. Go to the beach, crack open a beer, drink the beer and have some 22-year-old junior college drop-out come over and tell you to dump it in the sand in front of him. They make you dump it into the sand. And then they’d tell you you’re lucky you didn’t get a citation. So that’s California.

Adam Carolla (adamcarolla.com/)
Adam Carolla (adamcarolla.com/)

(Legalization is) not a sure thing, because California loves telling people what to do and what not to do and basically raping its citizens. Their No. 1 thing is, ‘How can we write people up for all this bullshit?’ And this could be one more thing off the table they couldn’t write tickets for. What are we going to do, by the way, when you legalize it and light a doobie at the beach? People are concerned about third- and fourth-hand smoke out here.

So I’d say no, because we’re super-stupid, and they love regulation.

Cannabist: So you think California voters will say no to legal recreational pot, but you’re still pro-legalization?

Carolla: I believe that as long as you pay your taxes and you’re not hurting anybody, live and let live. I’ve always had that relationship with pot or anyone who smokes pot. And this is coming from a guy who is more apt to have a cocktail at the end of the night instead of a joint, but if you own a home and pay taxes and want to grow a pot plant next to your Roma tomatoes, I don’t see why the government has to get involved with that. We can all have a garden for our own use, right? You can grow asparagus and Roma tomatoes and eat them. I’ve never got why you couldn’t have a pot plant in your backyard. It would keep a few Mexican drug lords from having any more money in their pocket. If they catch you trying to distribute it, that’s maybe a difficult issue. But if you can grow your own tomatoes and brew your own beer and you’re a homeowner and paying property taxes, whatever goes on in your yard should be fine.

Demonstrators march in November 2011 to protest the federal government's crackdown on California medical marijuana dispensaries during a rally in Sacramento, Calif., at the Robert T. Matsui Federal Courthouse. (Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press file)
Demonstrators march in November 2011 to protest the federal government’s crackdown on California medical marijuana dispensaries during a rally in Sacramento, Calif., at the Robert T. Matsui Federal Courthouse. (Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press file)

Cannabist: Interestingly, Denver residents can grow up to 12 cannabis plants per household — but not outdoors.

Carolla: What, you can’t grow a plant in your backyard? John Denver would be rolling over in his grave if he could hear this conversation. You know how many kilowatts those things (grow lights) take?

Cannabist: Yeah, we’ve written a number of stories about how much electricity is being used by the legal cannabis industry, which is being regulated to grow mostly indoors.

Carolla: My mom had a pot plant in our backyard when I was a kid, probably around 11. I showed my good buddy the plant, and the next day it was gone.

Adam Carolla hosts a live taping of “The Adam Carolla Show” at 8 p.m. March 25 at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place in Denver. Tickets start at $39.50.