Not all viewers are laughing along with the pot-smoking characters.
The episode of the BBC program finds a distraught Dawn caught up in the belief that Pete is a “drug addict” after she finds a joint stashed in the glove compartment of their shared car. Her friend, Pam, reassures her that it’s no big deal; just “a bit of a spliff.”
“Me and Mick used to smoke it all the time before Gavin was born,” she said. “Now and again. It doesn’t make us junkies.”
Mick also pokes fun at Dawn’s distress, joking that it’s just “a bit of weed — it’s hardly Breaking Bad.”
Viewers later discover that Pete had received the joint as a gift as part of his office’s Secret Santa. “I was actually quite touched that they included me, but my wife thinks that I have turned into Zammo from Grange Hill,” he grumbled.
The episode concludes with Gavin returning to find the four smoking the notorious joint while dancing to reggae music and laughing.
But not all viewers are laughing along with the pot-smoking characters. Lord Nicholas Monson, who lost a son to suicide after the young man developed what Monson said was drug-induced psychosis, denounced the episode.
“With much justification, the BBC prides itself as a beacon of truth, but here it has a blind spot,” he told the Daily Mail. “Knowledge of the potential damage of modern cannabis is hardly obscure. What then is it doing, pushing a strong subliminal message that cannabis is perfectly okay and those who fear it might be otherwise are fair game for mockery?”
Monson cited the loss of his son in expressing disappointment in what he believes is the trivialization of cannabis use.
“Our tragedy is not unique,” he continued. “Super-strong cannabis is mentally damaging, it is thought, for about one in nine regular users. Because of developing brain issues before the age of 25, the young are even more susceptible to its injurious effects.”
So far, the BBC has not issued a response to Monson’s allegations.
Written by Emma Spears