On Friday night (Jan. 4), TMZ posted photos of Justin Bieber allegedly smoking marijuana with friends inside a Newport Beach hotel room, and the inevitable backlash from both the pop star and his fans occurred in the hours and days that followed. Bieber posted a vague mea culpa on Twitter on Saturday, explaining, "Everyday growing and learning. trying to be better. u get knocked down, u get up." Meanwhile, Beliebers have both chastised and defended the singer on their social networks: while some feel let down by the alleged pot use, others think that the "Believe" star can be forgiven for a one-time slip, while still others that even regular marijuana use is no big deal.
It's a familiar dance to every celebrity that has been caught dabbling with weed, although Bieber admittedly possesses more star power -- and has more teens, tweens and children looking up to him -- that most in the public eye. But in 2013, does it still matter when a celebrity (specifically a musical artist) is caught with a joint in hand?
Our country is gradually becoming more accepting of pot use: two months ago, Colorado and Washington voters approved state-regulated marijuana growth and sales, and Massachusetts was added to the list of states with medical marijuana available. And with those shifting ideals comes the changing public perception of celebrities who vote yes on reefer use. Last week, Frank Ocean was cited for marijuana possession, and the R&B fave quickly owned up to the incident by posting on Twitter, "hi guys, i smoke pot. ok guys, bye." In the past year alone, stars like Rihanna, Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa have been busted with weed, and all four regularly endorse toking up. With hundreds of popular songs dedicated to getting high and artists routinely caught inhaling, does Bieber's pot use even deserve to elicit more than an eye-roll or head-shake?
To voice your opinion about musical stars like Justin Bieber getting caught with marijuana, vote now in our poll below, or sound off in the comments section. Does Bieber's unclaimed position as a role model play any factor in your view of those photos? Is marijuana no longer as frowned-upon as it was 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago? Let your voice be heard here.