Watching Breaking Bad is a visceral experience. The first episode of its fifth and final season aired last night (Sunday, July 15). For those who may not know the show’s premise, Breaking Bad chronicles the slow transformation of Walter White from a cancer-stricken high-school chemistry teacher to a Machiavellian meth kingpin, outsmarting professional drug cartels and battling his competitors to the death.


It’s a roller-coaster ride of a show, with one big difference: On a roller coaster, you can at least see the tracks ahead. On Breaking Bad, the audience never sees what’s coming – ever. As Bryan Cranston observes, the show’s fans are “on this journey that they often don’t want to go on. But they have no choice, because we’ve hooked ’em.”


Cranston is the remarkably savvy actor who anchors all this madness. Best known before the advent of Breaking Bad as the demented dentist in Seinfeld and the dad on Malcolm in the Middle, Cranston’s searing performance as Walter White has earned him three consecutive Emmy Awards.


HIGH TIMES caught up with the genial actor near his home in Hollywood. He grew up here and watched with avid interest as the California cannabis scene evolved. And though he doesn’t partake of pot in any form, he speaks out firmly and intelligently in support of legalized marijuana.


“It comes down to individual decision-making,” Cranston says. “There are millions of people who smoke pot on a social basis and don’t become criminals. So stop with that argument. It doesn’t work.”


Read the entire interview in the September 2012 issue of HIGH TIMES. On sale now!