Hollywood’s portrayal of cannabis users usually involves a clumsy blockhead sitting on a couch with a joint in one hand and the remote control in the other while binge-watching television.
Most of the time cannabis users are presented as forgetful and lazy. A person who does badly in school and does not succeed in his or her job later in life.
Typically, a “stoner” usually refers to smokers of cannabis.
The use of cannabis was deliberately stigmatized during the last century.
Smoking cannabis was used in early propaganda to make people believe that it fries their brain.
It also appears to have created a love for jazz, a genre that was stigmatized during that time due to its African American roots.
In the latter part of the century, smoking was associated with (by the United States government in particular) the subversive counterculture. Smoking cannabis was even associated with growing long hair.
Some of the Hollywood movies that portray cannabis include that of Cheech and Chong where they go on road trips high, or the hilarious antics of Harold and Kumar, and the film Half Baked, the typical stoner farce movie.
Stoner films sure are hilarious. They show how people who use cannabis are dunderheads and most often than not cause an over-the-top mess for everyone around them.
But a new survey found that the jokes are losing their hilarity as millions are now using marijuana for a lot of reason, including medical use.
Minor & Co.’s report said that 7 out of 10 people who responded to their survey thought that Hollywood needs to go beyond the stoner comedies and utilize examples of people using marijuana who are not stupid and irresponsible cannabis users.
Young respondents said that they would rather see people using cannabis responsibly on the screen instead of drinking alcohol, doing crazy stunts, and being simpletons.
Adult use of cannabis is now legal in eight states and the District of Columbia. That’s roughly 69 million people or about 20 % of the US population living where adults can legally use cannabis recreationally.
Around 12 % of that number lives in California alone, where the sale of cannabis for adult use started in January.
To view it in another way, sales of both adult-use and medical cannabis are expected to reach $10 billion this year, according to the 2018 Marijuana Business Factbook.
But television and movie characters continue to describe marijuana users as stoners. According to some respondents, it’s a bit like having every character drink beer described as a stereotypical drunk lout.
According to a survey of legal cannabis users of Minor & Co based in New York City, the people have enough.
Regular users of cannabis who use the substance at least several times a week shared their thoughts on using cannabis on television and in movies:
- 7 out of 10 respondents said the media plays a major role in how the use of cannabis is seen by the public, including the removal of stigmas associated with the drug
- 7 out of 10 respondents said it was easier to talk to others about cannabis after seeing media characters using cannabis without thinking “stupid and stoned”
- 8 out of 10 respondents said that using cannabis on TV shows should be the same as describing someone who drinks alcohol, beer or a cocktail
- 73% of Millennials prefer to see someone using cannabis on TV instead of seeing drunk people on the screen
- 8 out of 10 respondents also said that they would like to see shows that describe medical marijuana as a “legitimate and positive medical option.”
Although TV and movies often depict cannabis in a bad light, 72 % of the respondents said that the use of marijuana on television and in Hollywood helped to legalize cannabis.
Robert Miner, president of Miner & Co. said that there is a huge a difference between “normalization” of marijuana and the broader acceptance for use by productive consumers.
“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,” Miner added.