Anderson Cooper Defends Controversial Pot Bus Segment On CNN’s Live New Year’s Eve Broadcast

Evan AgostiniAP Images

Anderson Cooper admits he was surprised by a segment shot on a pot bus as part of the network’s live New Year’s Eve broadcast, but that doesn’t mean he thinks it was inappropriate. In a new interview, Cooper, who braced the frigid temps in New York’s Times Square alongside pal Andy Cohen to ring in the New Year for CNN, responded to outrage over reporter Randi Kaye’s live New Year’s Eve segment that took place on a “Canna-bus” in Colorado.

During the segment, Kaye, who was wearing marijuana leaf-shaped earrings while reporting, was shown holding a lit marijuana joint as well as a bong and gas mask as occupants of the bus got stoned on live TV. While Kaye herself did not partake in the on-air pot smoking, Cooper reiterated to late night host Stephen Colbert that there was nothing illegal going on during the segment. Anderson also admitted that even he was a bit surprised by the segment, but he questioned the controversy over it.

After Colbert asked Cooper, “Do you still have a contact high from Randi Kaye?” the CNN anchor fired back with a quick retort.

“First of all, it’s legal in Colorado,” Cooper said, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“We are grown adults and she did not smoke obviously. She was just in the environment. The whole thing surprised me as much as anyone else.”

Randi Kaye kicked off the pot smoking segment by saying, “We have the party started here. There is a little bit of purple haze. We call this the magic bus. The Canna-bus.”

Later, Kaye helped a man light up the gas mask bong before the bus made a pit stop at a “Puff, Pass and Paint” party.

While the smoky segment took place across the country from CNN’s main New Year’s Eve headquarters, that didn’t stop Kaye from holding out a lit marijuana cigarette in front of the camera and offering it to her colleagues in the Big Apple.

“This is for you, Andy!” Kaye said at one point, addressing a stunned Andy Cohen through the camera.

When Kaye asked Cohen if he wanted her to pick anything up for him, the Bravo host requested Cheeba Chews, a marijuana edible that comes in the form of a taffy candy. Andy warned Randi to dose herself properly should she choose to eat any of the candy.

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Of course, Anderson Cooper wasn’t the only person surprised by the televised pot party. As the segment aired, many viewers took to social media to slam CNN, with some calling out the network for promoting marijuana use and for giving “bong lessons” to young viewers.

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Randi Kaye has been reporting on marijuana in Colorado ever since recreational use of the drug became legal in the state in 2014. Cooper previously featured Kaye on his Ridicu-List segment, where the Anderson Cooper 360 reporter admitted she got a contact high while researching one of her earliest stories on the subject.