Can You Smoke Pot In Grand Theft Auto V?

Can You Smoke Pot In Grand Theft Auto V?

In the gameplay trailer yesterday for Grand Theft Auto V, one of the three protagonists, Franklin, leaves a Medical Marajuana dispensary. As he’s leaving, he smells a vial in his hand and says “Damn!” This begs the question: Can you smoke pot in Grand Theft Auto V?

Yes, you were able to buy drugs in China Town Wars. Yes, CJ accidentally got contact high in San Andreas. And, yes, Niko Bellic was no stranger to getting staggeringly, incapacitatingly drunk. But for the most part, the protagonists of Grand Theft Auto said no to drugs, which is very funny considering that drugs and drug users are everywhere in Grand Theft Auto series.

“So what,” you might ask, “Why would this be important?” Well, for a lot of reasons.

For one, drinking was one of my favourite parts about Grand Theft Auto IV (and Red Dead Redemption). Watching Nico struggle to stand up like an intoxicated toddler added a weird, QWOP-like sense of hilarity and acted as a subtle reminder of just how stupid and self-destructive a person can get when they let themselves drink to excess — particularly when they try to drive. The challenge of Franklin attempting to navigate the world stoned, and subsequently driving his car 5 miles an hour, could fill a similar gameplay niché.

Another reason? People typically aren’t that violent when they smoke pot. That could be really funny in a game that is, on paper, about committing violent crimes. Imagine Franklin leaves the dispensary, smokes some pot, and then completely forgets about the heist he’s supposed to commit in a hour because he really, really wants to go home, eat a pizza bagel and play, well, Grand Theft Auto.

The really important part, however, is that GTA V is ultimately game about Los Angeles, and it simply isn’t Los Angeles without medical marijuana dispensaries. Social taboos have changed and cannabis culture is just a part of normal California culture now, in a way that it wasn’t when Grand Theft Auto started off in 1997. Without pot, LA simply isn’t LA.

So yes, this is speculative, and based on a single shot in a trailer. But if it turns out to be the case, it’ll make the southern California experience that much more rooted in reality.

We have reached out to Rockstar and will update if we receive any new information.


  • That’s going to blow some stoner’s mind. “Inception, man! You can smoke pot while you .. woah … lets get pizza man!”

  • That kind of drug use would result in RC in Australia, wouldn’t it? Isn’t that why State Of Decay got RC’ed?

    • State of Decay copped it because the drugs were used as health packs, showing a drug use as beneficial.

      • Yep, as long as R* have it setup so that Franklin punches a few cones, then sits on the couch for a week zonked out of his head, missing mission queues and people knocking on his door, they should be ok.

          • Love it. Will have to have a mission where he tries to make it to White Castle.

        • holy shit

          only now did i just realise after 10 or so years that the * after the R in the logo represents “star” in rockstar


    • State of Decay got RC’ed as drugs were used as an incentive- they were given as mission rewards and excess use was portrayed as giving all benefits, little downside.

      • Well presumably using the drugs will have some effect here, otherwise they wouldn’t bother having it in the game. So I guess we’ll have to wait and see if it’s a positive effect.

        • Possibly, but you could smoke weed in Saints Row 2 as well. It had no benefit that I can recall, it just mae the screen go fuzzy for a short time.

          I rather liked the ‘message’ in GTA IV, when you got drunk Nico would agonise about how he shouldn’t have drunk so much (while falling over in the street) and if you tried to drive he’d constantly complain about what a bad idea it was.

          Then again, it was also a lot of fun to try and drive drunk to see if you could get away from the cops. Heck, sometimes even getting into the car was difficult. Several times I missed my car and fell into the street where a passing taxi promptly ran over my head.

          • I forgot that you were talking about GTA IV as I read the last paragraph. Needless to say, I had quite a time with it.

          • I seldom get run over by a taxi after drinking in real life, though in my youth I did wind up hugging a gutter more frequently than I care to admit.

      • ughhhh! because we can’t fucking figure out for ourselfs that drug use has both benefits AND consequences!

    • You are absolutely right, sir… Perfectly okay to mow down pedestrians, kill cops and willfully destroy property, but pot?! Dear GOD, won’t someone please think of the children?! Wait… Children wouldn’t t be allowed to play it if it was R18+, but that’s not the point, is it? (Sigh)

      • You could smoke bongs and then drive in the original Saints Row, it just impaired your vision and made you stagger similar to how alcohol worked in GTA IV.

        We have a new classification system since, but unless the smoking is an incentive or reward it’s technically ok under the new guidelines. It’s a thin line to tread though.

      • Similar thing with GTA: San Andreas and the Hot Coffee mod.

        It was perfectly fine to kill cops, steal cars, have gang wars etc. etc. but not take part in a crudely rendered sex mini-game.

        A lot of people (mostly non-gamers) seem to forget one little thing, IT’S A FREAKING GAME!

      • Its funny.. I heard the other day on some current affairs program that in cops will only charge you if you are carrying more than 15grams of pot if you’re an adult, or 30grams of pot if you’re under 18 (NSW). Otherwise they just give you a citation.
        Seems like the kids already know about this stuff.. And they’re getting away with alot more than adults! (Not that I would ever condone this.. ) 😉

    • State of decay was banned because morphine was named morphine in the game. And you can bet you arse that GTA V will be refused classification under out insane R-18 laws.

      • Nope. NOT AT ALL.

        It was banned because morphine and crystal meth were used as health/ stamina potions the same way as the red health potions in Diablo work.
        The guidelines state that the drug use can’t be presciptive (in an instructive sense), or offer a benifit.

        • Am I wrong in over simplifying it to if they just change the name to Norphine/krystal neth and then resubmitted, it would be allowed through?

    • You can only smoke it if there is no signs that the character is enjoying it!

      Considering that in that .gif the character is coming out of what looks like a medical marijuana joint, I suppose that would be regarded as being used medically, i.e. for a benefit, and might be grounds for an RC.

    • If there are no incentives tied to the drug use, then it shouldn’t be an issue. The cases where games get banned here is when they reward players for taking real world drugs (e.g. by recovering health, making combat easier, etc).

      If the effects are negative or neutral, then that section of the guidelines should not apply.

    • I was about to post the exact same thing, us Aussies better hope you cant smoke or do any sort of drug or we will get a RC for sure.

    • If the drug use does not provide a positive effect to the gameplay or player It shouldn’t result in RC in Australia. If it has a similar effect to the Alcohol in previous games there shouldn’t be any problem in Australia.

  • For the Aussies in a rush to get hysterical, this doesn’t necessary mean that it will be banned.

    You could smoke bongs/spliffs in the original Saints Row and it wasn’t banned. It worked similarly to the alcohol in GTA IV in that it impaired your movement, vision and driving.

    The guidelines state that you can’t have descriptive (instructional) drug use or drugs AS A BENEFIT/ INCENTIVE.
    If it just buckles you like the alcohol did in GTA IV then it shouldn’t be insta-banned.

    Please think for a second before you burst into tears, the guidelines are pretty clear on what will be allowed.

  • We’ll be fine, as long as the protagonist dies immediately after taking a toke.

    The OFLC are quite right to protect us from the notion that anyone has ever taken a drug and had a positive experience resulting from it.

  • What’s the bet the ACB see this as a reason to ban GTA.
    I saw this during the game play trailer and shook my head.

  • This would make sitting in the car listening to the radio stations for hours that much more believable.

  • I wouldn’t jump to conclusions here, in the video Franklin smells the jar and immediately puts into his pocket before you control him, nothing gives us a sense that he can smoke it and considering that he is walking out it’s probably one of those random activities the protagonists get up to once they are out of your control.


    I check out the classification website everyday to see whether this has been RC’d or cleared. I personally don’t think this game will be RC’d but you never know with our stupid classification board.

  • Did a kotaku employee just learn how to make a Gif? because there seems to be a lot more of them recently. (Not complaining about it)

    • The gif has made a resurgence thanks to tumblr and reddit (and reddit is where Kotaku US seems to source about 75% of it’s articles).

      The internet in general has finally realised that not everyone feels like watching a video just because a jpg won’t always suffice.

  • You know what’s awesome in a hilarious way?

    IF it does get banned in Australia because the protagonist had a massive (and enjoyable) smokedown, and I imported the game, and the cops kicked my door down while I was partaking in same horrific act which saw the game banned……. I’d be in HEAPS more trouble for having the imported game than I would for undertaking the act which saw the game banned.

  • And in will step Jack Thompson, or a nag-group that starts with the word “Family” and remind us that we’re not capable of making decisions — that drugs in games will lead to drugs in real life because we clearly imitate everything we see on TV.

    • that drugs in games will lead to drugs in real life because we clearly imitate everything we see on TV.

      Absolutely, after watching South Park, i want to go on adventures that make absolutely no sense with my mates that could get us or most likely everyone around us killed or become a narcissistic womaniser with deeply entrenched mother issues after watching Two and a Half men.

      • Bobby is in a wheelchair after imitating an act he saw on TV

        Harvey: “Little bobby, have you ever watched that program where they fix up a victorian home?”
        Bobby: “Yeah, sure.”
        Harvey: “After watching that program, did you feel like fashioning a window box or hanging drywall?”
        Bobby: “No.”
        Harvey: “Or when you see someone on tv driving a luxury german automobile, a sexy model in the passenger seat, does that make you want to do the same?”
        Bobby: (Dryly) “Yes.”
        Harvey: “Bobby, isn’t television safe for the good kids? The ones who go to bed on time and don’t file frivolous lawsuits?”

  • I can see this getting an RC with the way the classification board it’s being with drug related parts of games.

    Problem is even though in America using the green stuff can be classed as beneficial for medical reasons in some US states, Rockstar will most likely have trouble justifying it to a country (Australia) that has it illegalised.

    Unless of course your game character develops glaucoma and has trouble seeing the cops chasing him after blowing up a school bus, in which he’d have a legitimate medical reason.

  • My question for the people who will cry outrage at this is ” Where was your ‘moral outrage’ when The first Saint’s Row was released when it was discovered you could buy and smoke joints, blunts, pipes and big assed bongs?” My second question would be “Who damaged you so much to cause you to be an asshat because one non-defining aspect of a game offends you and you feel you must spoil things for everyone else?”

    • Because when Saints Row 1 came out, gaming wasn’t as big as it is now. It wasn’t under the constant eye of groups that work to ban things that can be “harmful” to child gamers. The way gaming culture has changed in a single generation is stunning to the point of unbelievable.

  • But the player can still bang a hooker and then murder her because they enjoy being a psychopathic dick? How is weed seemingly an order of magnitude more evil than killing?? If the OFLC refuses classification for weed smoking but has no issues with murdering a hooker, that’ll show us the kind of rationale these censors have. And since killing has been a part of gaming since, I dunno, forever, and they can’t refuse it on those grounds since there are literally thousands of games where killing feature more prominently, it would be a monumental dick move to refuse classification unless they can somehow show simulated weed smoking is somehow more damaging then violence. But then again, they’re generally not that accountable for their decisions and the appeals process is a joke, so if they want to be real knob knockers about it, they can… Bastards.

  • Exactly, unless using it results in some kind of gameplay boost or reward, it should be fine.
    Drug use in a game isn’t cause for a game to be RC, unless it’s used as an incentive or rewards players for using them.
    So don’t freak out just yet.

  • As long as it doesnt result in a benefit, it will be allowed in.
    Which is fine. If theres no benefit, then i can get away with pretending it doesnt exist in the game.

  • You could smoke weed in the first two saints rowgames.
    Don’t remember it being “used as incentive” or doing anything other than making the screen somewhat hazy, but the presence drugs alone ought now be cause for ban.

  • We saw Saints Row 4 just get banned for an “Alien Narcotic” that gave the player super power enhancements; so by the same stupid OFLC logic, this will be banned too. The act of taking a drug is considered as “harmful” as the drug itself; and in an age where everything is done to “protect the children” (Even under adult ratings) things like this will not see the light of day in Australia.

    It’s a shame though, I shifted my deposit on Saints Row 4 to this and now I’ll probably have to shift that to something else… Like Hello Kitty’s Tea Time HD or something.

    • While the alien narcotic was referenced in the classification decision, the main reason SR4 was RC’d was because of the weaponised dildo that implied actual penetration, i.e.: sexualised violence.

  • As long it’s legal medicinal marijuana then I don’t see it will cause any fuss.

    • That would be worse, same with @cyphix glaucoma fixing bus driver’s usage. Using ‘legal medical weed’ in a game in a prescriptive manner would be worse for classification purposes. The idea of the OFLC’s rating is to prevent drug use (prescription or narcotic) being incorrectly or haphazardly taught or represented as a cure or solution to ailments. So long as there is no benefit to its usage it should be ok, Saint’s row was banned because it gave you superpowers, Fallout was because it was used for status boosts. Early Saints games had no effect on player except a ‘blurring or haziness’ on the screen which would appear detrimental.

      Our GTA player controlled protagonist should be able to spend every cent he steals from dead hookers (so long as he doesn’t fuck them first because that is sexual violence, also insta ban) provided there is no in game benefit and the drugs aren’t incentive to the player as reward for completing a mission or action.

      Watching the clip has me nervous that GTA will feel the ban hammer, probably my favourite game series of all time and I would rage to the end of days if this get banned (or just import). At risk of sounding like the devil’s advoicate, perhaps this DOES need to be banned for something as stupid as this. Saints Row being banned irritated a few people but only for a few days and barely made news, State of Decay was never popular enough to be noticed.

      BUT BAN GTA? That’s like turning off all the CoD servers, NO it’s like banning Mario for being an insensitive representation of migrant workers. Banning GTA may be the scape goat the video game industry needs to really finally get the general public -the 99%- to realise how stupid these classifications are and how oppressed and molly coddled the people of Australia can be when they become complacent.

      Edit: (yes I realise previous GTAs were B7’d and edited but we didn’t have R18+ at that time)

  • ouuu GTA5 Pot smoking

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand its gone (Aus ban hammer)

  • Already ordered my copy through OGS long ago, because I have no idea how our Classification Board is going to react to this one.

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