We may have made some big strides since Cheech & Chong, but there are still some stoner stereotypes that really ought to go up in smoke. With Cannabis being legal in ten countries and counting, the problem of ongoing stereotypes, according to research, isn’t to do with legalization. In fact, legalization doesn’t decrease stereotypes at all according to a study in Visual Communication. So what gives? Well, mainly media.
Without diving into the results of the study in detail, the biggest takeaway was that the news machine (read: the conservative news machine) publishes stories about cannabis that rely on stereotypes, particularly things like criminal activity. Importantly, they emphasize how loaded imagery reinforces a heavy reliance on stereotypes. Both the media and Hollywood have a responsibility to ethically represent cannabis, but they currently play pretty fast and loose with it.
If you identify as a stoner or grew up in the 90s, you know what I’m talking about.
Times change though, and so can the media. Here are 4 stoner stereotypes we still hear in 2021 that really need to finally die.
Stoner Stereotype 1: Lazy
Yes, cannabis is great for sleep and studies have proven that it works well with people who have insomnia. Sure, cannabis can be great if you want to binge-watch Netflix all afternoon. That said, it doesn’t actually make you lazy.
Colorado University Boulder conducted a study and discovered that 80 percent of people who consume cannabis actually have more motivation to hit the gym, clean their house or think more clearly at work. While these studies were done most people replied with: “Weed makes you less anxious which helps you relax your muscles during a workout and keeps you focused with other daily activities.”
Stoner Stereotype 2: Uneducated, Unsuccessful, Unemployed
All kinds of people use cannabis. The rich, middle-class, famous people and creators of the world. I mean, the richest man in the world openly smoked a blunt. This is like saying only unsuccessful people drink alcohol. We know this isn’t true, so why label people who like to toke as the uneducated ones?
Apple founder Steve Jobs admitted to using cannabis. Nobel Laureate astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist and Pulitzer winner Carl Sagan outright wrote a paper on his insights about smoking cannabis and his support for legalization. Many incredible, successful and educated people have a love for cannabis and aren’t afraid to say so.
Many people around the world consume cannabis and are highly successful in their everyday jobs.
Stoner Stereotype 3: Criminals or Outcasts
Now, this stoner stereotype is directly perpetuated by the war on drugs. No, cannabis use doesn’t lead to violent crime. But there’s an ideological imperative at play here, mostly to reinforce the idea that all criminalized drugs — and the people who use them — are dangerous. This is a push-pull that’s been going on in media since the days of Harry Aslinger.
However, this stereotype gained some steam a couple of years ago largely due to a paper covered by an irresponsible polemic, Alex Berenson, who tried to link legalization to increases in violent crime. The problem is scholars have done rigorous work fine-toothing the relationship between cannabis use and crime, and so far, they haven’t found one. In fact, numerous other studies are emerging with evidence that legalization leads to less violent crime.
What are some stoner stereotypes that still need to die in 2021? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to follow CLN for the latest news, tips, editorials and more.