Marijuana enthusiasts the world over have been fighting lazy, misinformed stoner stereotypes since, well, the world realized we were smoking it. From the 1930’s cult classic Reefer Madness portraying marijuana smokers as violent rapists who eventually succumb to insanity (a tad unreasonable), to more recently, this fucking guy, stoner portrayal in popular media always has the same wildly predictable stereotype…
For decades, anybody who smoked weed in movies, TV shows or any outlet of popular culture has been a nauseating blend of stupid, lazy and/or hungry. Despite the overwhelming volume of people we know smoke weed in the 21st century, the depiction of people who consume cannabis products in media has remained a goofy combination of Cheech and Chong, Seth Rogan and the creepy loner from the turn of the century teen movies. It’s a tired trope, but a trope we have all become accustomed to.
Until legalization, of course.
As of me writing, recreational use of marijuana is now legal in the beautiful northern landscapes of Canada, the states of California, Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, Portugal, Uruguay, and largely decriminalized or tolerated in a host of other countries across the globe.
Along with legalization has come an almost unprecedented boon in commerce. Spending in North America alone has reached $9.7 billion in 2017, with projections having total market spending at $47.3 billion just 10 years from now. For God sake, Coca-Cola has been eyeing a beverage deal in order to join the gold rush, and none of this is even accounting for the inevitable rise of the global marketplace.
Most importantly, we got Elon Musk – Elon fucking Musk – the father of Tesla and billionaire CEO of a space exploration company, SMOKING A BAT on live video, and that dude is taking over Mars, Matt Damon style.
So you would think, in 2018, with billions of dollars of commerce, widespread legalization and a general acknowledgment that marijuana is no longer a “gateway drug” destined for the outer reaches of societal acceptance, that we’d be done with the lazy stoner stereotype. Apparently not!
Enter the Alberta Motor Association, taking us all the way back with their new impaired driving campaign. You would almost think it’s a joke until you realize it’s not.
For starters, that looks pretty fucking chill; I’m not going to lie. If you’re going to post up on a library table and dive right into a nap, I’m not going to hate on that either. That’s a boss move. We get it.
But look past the impressively laid-back gentlemen in the photo and you find a hilariously stupid stereotype. Who does that?? Not even when you’re high – who does that, period? It’s 2018, I can’t even listen to one song all the way through. I’ve got like a million songs on my phone, and I refuse to listen to ANY of them to the end. No one has the attention span for that shit.
Look, do I love my dog? Yes. Do I talk to my dog? 100%. But assuming that everyone who smokes a joint, experiences some sort of Dr. Dolittle-like hallucination is ridiculous.
Secretly, I wish that were the case! I would smoke even more weed if it meant I got to kick back with a carafe of Merlot and derive a transcendental proof for human consciousness with my pup, but sadly that’s just not how marijuana works.
One can only wish.
The paranoid stoner stereotype, along with that tin foil hat, needs to end up in a goddamn time machine. ASAP. Again, it’s 2018. We voluntarily share our most personal information on half the web pages on the Internet, I don’t know how concerned we should still be about mind-controlling radio waves.
Okay, this dude seems like he’s having a good time. Are we trying to bring the perception of marijuana into the 21st century? Yes. But I’m not the fucking fun police. Go get it, buddy.
As you can see, I saved the most heinous transgression for last.
“Classic hungry stoner stereotype,” you say. “What’s so bad about that?” you ask. It’s the implication, my friend. It’s the implication that I won’t walk into your pancake restaurant right now – dead-ass sober – and eat that entire stack of pancakes. I will not only test the limits of all-you-can-eat but the physical limits of human consumption. Sober. I will go full Keyzer Soze on every pancake house in the beautiful province of Alberta, just to prove a point. I’m the whole fucking reason IHOP switched to burgers.
Oh, and the whole hungry-stoner-will-eat-anything trope is lazy. Tired, overplayed, and lazy.
In all seriousness, awareness campaigns like this shouldn’t exist anymore. The Alberta Motor Association also did a series of videos and other promotional materials that were fine, but the fact that this can get approved in 2018 is crazy to me. Luckily, there are organizations out there investing time and capital in order to change these lazy stereotypes that have been around for decades. Just recently, MedMen invested over $2 million in a campaign to help ditch the exact stoner clichés we’ve discussed throughout this article. The sooner people realize that doctors, lawyers, teachers, politicians, their neighbor and a large portion of the community they live in enjoy the many benefits of marijuana, the sooner we’ll be able to leave these irrelevant clichés in the past. Because you know who smokes weed? People. Regular fucking people.