Comic Jessimae Peluso Talks Cannabis: 'It's So Wild That A Cute, Little Plant Could Make Such A Big Difference'

“Cannabis has really affected my life positively, so much. I am able to be more present in what I do, in my condition as a human being. It makes me whole. This allows me to be a positive influence on others. And that ripple effect really permeates [the fabric of society],” says stand-up comedian Jessimae Peluso, from MTV's Girl Code, while smoking a joint and sporting a Wu-Tang Clan T-shirt in her house in Los Angeles.

“It's so wild to think that just a cute, little plant could make such a big difference in someone's ability to be present and evolve into a more empathetic human being.”

There are two things that Jessimae undoubtedly and unapologetically loves: words and weed. And she is very committed. Of words, she’s made a career and a tool (“I love words. My mother was big into vocabulary and both my parents did crosswords every single day. So I'm kind of a nerd. Words are how most of us survive”). Of cannabis, she’s made a lifestyle. And also a cause.

Only a few weeks ago, the comic joined the U.S. Cannabis Council and HeadCount’s Cannabis Voter Project’s Cannabis in Common campaign, which is aimed at getting Americans to contact their legislators about passing cannabis reform at the federal level.

Other high level celebrities like Sarah Silverman and Seth Rogen, as well as nonprofit organizations and dozens of companies in the cannabis industry, have joined the campaign as well.

More on this topic, later in the article. But first, let’s pause and rewind for a little bit.

It’s The Environment, Stupid

“I really, truly believe your environment dictates what your vices are,” asserts the wordsmith.

Jessimae Peluso

Jessimae Peluso 


Jess (“can I call you Jess?” “Okay”) grew up in upstate New York, where people around her were mostly drinkers. Weed was no stranger, but not very common either. And certainly not in the young lady’s party repertoire.

Booze was always more accessible and accepted. Even after moving to City, her habits didn’t shift much. After all, she was working as a bartender.

Then came California, and oh, how things changed. “You can't drink and drive out in Cali, like you can in Upstate New York. Not that I condone it, but that’s just what we did. There was no subway back home,” she declares.

“The environment really reflects what people enjoy. And in Cali, people enjoy marijuana. It's just more common in that environment.”

So Jess started to dabble in the dark herb, finding solitude and solace in it. “Cannabis could help me access a different part of myself that I didn't even know I had access to, because alcohol is such a numbing substance.”

helped Jess open up creatively, emotionally and sexually. “It opened different avenues and areas of my life.”

Even though the effects on her personal wellbeing made her a friend of weed, it was its effects on her psyche as she dealt with her father’s illness that made her a devotee.

Pappa Peluso suffered from vascular dementia, a sort of brain disorder that causes memory loss, sometimes compared to Alzheimer’s. And really helped Jess cope, “slow down and survive the trauma and grief of losing my father while he was alive.”

As her career evolved, …

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More Comic Jessimae Peluso Talks Cannabis: 'It's So Wild That A Cute, Little Plant Could Make Such A Big Difference'