As cannabis comes out of the shadows of Prohibition and into the light of legalization, we are increasingly seeing that the people who use cannabis come from all walks of life- but you might not know it looking at Hollywood’s and TV’s portrayals of cannabis consumers.
A recent survey of 800 cannabis consumers conducted by brand consultancy firm Miner and Co. suggests that the media, especially TV and movies, should get with the times and retire those old stoner stereotypes because not only does it continue to stigmatize all cannabis consumers as being lazy and forgetful, it could be hurting their bottom line.
There’s already a huge market for cannabis-friendly content. Just look at the many successful weed-related channels on YouTube (although YouTube has been cracking down on cannabis lately) and cannabis-focused media sites that operate outside of the mainstream, like the Cannabis Life Network and High Times.
And that’s not taking into account how cannabis can influence consumers’ viewing habits. 75% of survey respondents said they watched more TV when stoned, and 88% said that cannabis made watching TV and movies better, which might bring to mind the “Enhancement Smoker” scene with Jon Stewart from the stoner classic Half Baked.
Although that movie did have a bunch of the stoner stereotypes that we’re trying to get away from today, it did portray a more sympathetic kind of stoner in Dave Chappelle’s character, even if he ultimately had to give up cannabis to ‘get the girl’. But that movie came out 20 years ago, and we’ve come a long way since.
Media has a profound power to affect societal mores, and cannabis is no exception. 72% of respondents say that portrayals of cannabis consumption in the mainstream media has affected legalization, and nearly 80% felt that cannabis use should be treated no differently than seeing someone drinking alcohol- 73% of millennials said they’d actually prefer to see cannabis used over alcohol!
As the above infographic illustrates, thinking anyone who uses cannabis is a “Cheech and Chong” stoner is like saying anyone who drinks alcohol is automatically a wino- it’s not fair and it’s far from accurate.
“Media has played an incredibly important role in the societal acceptance of cannabis consumption, but there’s still work to do,” said Robert Miner, president of Miner & Co. Studio. “The same recognizable trope of the harmless silly stoner that drove normalization has now become an impediment to acceptance for productive and engaged consumers of cannabis.”