Cannabis Consumers To Hollywood: Stop Promoting Pothead Stereotypes
Hollywood needs to stop promoting stoner stereotypes if they want to appeal to cannabis consumers.
A new survey which has just been released on Wednesday revealed that cannabis consumers no longer want to be portrayed on screen as lazy, absent-minded, or burned out. In reality, the modern-day cannabis consumer is successful and productive.
The survey, which was conducted by Miner and Company, a New York-based strategic research firm, said that the cannabis community wants writers and producers to change how cannabis users are portrayed on the big screen. No more with the dumb stoner stereotypes; the more these kinds of stereotypes are promoted, the more society will have a hard time embracing its use without bias.
“Media has played an incredibly important role in the societal acceptance of cannabis consumption, but there’s still work to do,” says Miner & Co. Studio president Robert Miner. “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.”
Consumers of both medical and recreational cannabis want to see change in Hollywood. “Recreational consumers feel concern that non-consumers of cannabis will take them less seriously and question their judgment,” Miner said. “And consumers of medical marijuana too often find that they need to be careful discussing their use with some peers or employers who may see them as unreliable or lazy based on ingrained stereotypes of cannabis use – even for medical needs.”
The survey, which looked at 800 legal cannabis consumers, found that 77% make at least $75,000 a year and 86% were employed full-time. They also found that 9 out of 10 identified themselves as “mindful”, “present”, “professional”, and “open-minded”, while less than half thought of themselves as forgetful or sluggish, characteristics portrayed in the typical stoner stereotype which is outdated. Cannabis consumers today want to be presented as the same – successful and professional, mindful and present. Not only do they have the income to purchase cannabis products, but they can also afford to pay for the movies or subscribe to streaming services. “TV and media in general have played a role in reinforcing these perceptions,” said Miner. “When a character on a show drinks a beer or a glass of wine, they aren’t presented as an out of control drunk or an alcoholic – but consumption of cannabis in any amount far too consistently turns that character into a zoned out bumbling stoner.”
“The creative community has an opportunity to recognized the impact of these representations and present cannabis consumption in a more positive light to help overcome the stoner stereotype that casts a stigma on key members of their audience,” Miner added.
What Older Studies Say
Last year, another survey was conducted by BDS Analytics. The first of its kind study assessed cannabis consumers and non-users, all of whom came from different financial, social, and mental backgrounds. The researchers looked at the participants’ levels of satisfactions with life and also looked at their attitudes towards parenting. Data on employment and how much time they spend outside were also taken into consideration.
The study, called Cannabis Consumers Are Happy Campers, obtained data from California and Colorado; two of the most prominent and progressive states in the country in terms of cannabis legalization. Two thousand participants from both states were involved in the study. The findings echo those of Miner & Co.; they found that cannabis consumers had a significantly higher income of $93,800 on average, while non-users took home around $70,000.
The findings also disproved another stereotype; that of cannabis users trying to avoid responsibility. They found that when it comes to parenting, cannabis users were more open to it; in California, 64% of participants already started raising a family while it was 55% for non users. Cannabis consumers in both states also showed to be more satisfied with life in general; 36% of Colorado consumers thought of themselves as very social while 28% of non users described themselves as social. Users from both Colorado and California also enjoyed outdoor activities more.
According to Linda Gilbert of BDS Analytics, “Cannabis consumers are far removed from the caricatures historically used to describe them.”
“The aim is that this will eventually be a national study… I hope and expect that ten to twenty years from now, this study will still be continuing,” she added.