“Scooby ‘Doobie’ Doo & Marijuana Too

By Karen Berger, PharmD, Medical Writer

While researching blog topics, and trying to find something entertaining, I somehow went down the rabbit hole of an interesting Internet theory: Scooby Doo has tons of references to marijuana. 


Here’s the 411 (420?):


A 2017 post in Green Rush Daily, “7 Reasons Scooby-Doo Was Made For Stoners,” brought forth some pretty convincing tidbits from the cartoon. The author, Ab Hanna, declares, “If you have an innocent mind you may have watched Scooby-Doo and never realized it was made for stoners.”


  • In a scene from the live action movie, Shaggy is sitting next to a blonde woman on an airplane, and they are talking about Scooby Snacks. When she introduces herself as Mary Jane, Shaggy replies, “like, that’s my favorite name!” Ab Hanna’s take: “If that isn’t proof that Shaggy loves weed we don’t know what is.”

  • In another scene, Shaggy and Scooby are in the mystery machine, grilling “munchies.” Smoke is coming out of the top of the van. The duo start to panic when detectives bang on the door. Hanna comments, “Typical reaction of anyone that smokes weed if you ask us.”

  • What about the constant obsession with snacks and munchies? Ab Hanna analyzes, “We don’t see why the creators would emphasize this so much, especially with the most dazed and confused characters. In a nutshell, Shaggy and Scooby were simpletons with bottomless stomachs. They sure sound like the stereotypical stoner.”

  • It’s in the name: Scooby DOOBIE doo - it’s literally his middle name. Ab Hanna theorizes, “You know when you’re so about something you tell someone it’s your middle name? For example, if one hippy asks “Hey man, can you roll us a doobie?” another might reply, “Ya man, Doobie is my middle name.” The writers were probably trying to clue us in on what Scooby was all about.”

  • Other clues Ab Hanna brings forth: a scene where Shaggy and Scooby actually put pots on their head; Shaggy with a huge appetite, always talking to the dog, and the Mystery Machine Hippie Van. 


A September 2019 article, “Conspiracy theories and pot brownies: the secret history of Scooby Doo,” in the Telegraph also delves into this mystery. The author, Martin Chilton, “The way that Shaggy was always giggling in the back of the Mystery Machine (a flower-power painted ‘stoner’s van’ modelled, according to Scoobypedia, on a Ford Taunus Transit van), and was constantly suffering from “the munchies”, fueled rumours about pot-smoking undertones in the show. Shaggy’s personality was said to be that of a stereotypical hippy pothead.” 


Chilton went on to describe some of the same scenarios as above: the Mary Jane name, the Scooby snacks (“there have also been claims that ‘Scooby snacks’ were not really dog biscuits, but were pot brownies.”)


But, Chilton says, in creator Iwao Takamoto’s memoir, “My Life with a Thousand Characters,” Takamoto “states categorically that there are no hidden or veiled drug references in Scooby Doo.” Heather North, voice of Daphne, also insisted that there were never any drug innuendos in the show. 


Ed Liu, moderator and reporter for animesuperhero.com, has an interesting analysis: “In his autobiography, Iwao Takamoto stated uncategorically that there are not hidden or veiled drug references in Scooby-Doo. He noted that in the late 60's, you simply did not do anything that could be construed as a drug reference if you wanted to stay on the air, and added that ‘drugs of any kind were an anathema to Joe Ruby; he hated them’ (Ruby being half of Ruby-Spears, who wrote the earliest Scooby-Doo episodes and a whole lot more for H-B before spinning off into their own studio). The hunger thing was just that Shaggy and Scooby-Doo were teens with bottomless pits for stomachs. He also points out that Shaggy was loosely based on Maynard G. Krebs, who was a beatnik, not a hippie, and beatniks weren't known for heavy drug use.


Just for some context, when the show first aired in 1969, Cheech and Chong were still at least 2 years away from their slice of fame, and even they raised quite a ruckus at the time for their overt pot humor. I'm inclined to take Takamoto at his word that drug jokes or references just wouldn't have occurred to anybody at Hanna-Barbera, and would have been shot down by any number of people in power if it had been brought up directly or even suspected.


Of course, contradictory evidence of the conspiracy is often just more proof of how deep the conspiracy really goes, and I'm sure some will think Takamoto is just covering himself after the fact. I'm inclined to take him at his word, though.”


What do you think? Do you think Scooby Doo purposely referenced marijuana throughout its run? Do you think Takamoto is giving us the runaround? Or do you think it’s all a big coincidence, just another Internet theory?


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