Witnessing the next evolution of stoner stereotypes

Published Oct 4, 2019 12:00 p.m. ET
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We have touched on old school stereotypes, and how those harmful images have gone so far as to influence the success of the cannabis industry, but the transition that is occurring right now is one for the history books. If you glance over or think about some of the most common opinions of a pothead, there is one ongoing theme, which is all of the trait that comes to mind will be negative, or be something that can have an adverse impact on a consumer’s life. Though stoners have been the subject of comedy for decades, the general consensus, until recently, was that they are useless, unmotivated and unproductive members of society.

The history of pothead stereotypes

If you go back to the birth of prohibition, the average stoner stereotype is quite a bit different than what it was before legalization began to spread throughout the globe. At that time, society was filled with hate for all things different, and racism ran rampant, which is why cannabis consumption was associated with people of color. If I were to ask you to name a famous pothead right now, they probably wouldn’t be of a minority, and that is because this notion was washed away as society changed towards a general acceptance of marijuana use and people from other nations. That isn’t the only untrue myth to follow the average stereotype of stoners, but it is one that many consumers are entirely unaware of today.

As time passed, the most common stereotype of a pothead morphed into an image of flower-decorated hippies dancing about, making love in the sun, and smoking plenty of weed. Though this sounds like a lighter, more positive notion, when this began hippies were viewed as rebels, and not exactly the most intelligent group amongst society. This stereotype has stuck around the longest, with top running television series like That 70’s show making millions off of portraying a group of fun-loving pothead teenagers growing up in the generations that preceded Woodstock.

How are stoners viewed today?

This is where things have gotten interesting, as scientific research and study has confirmed many of the medicinal benefits of cannabis, the idea that this plant and any products made with it, could be bad, are beginning to fade away. Though recreational pot is swiftly becoming the hottest section of the marijuana industry, now almost everyone knows about the miraculous benefits of this plant species, and that its not just for diagnosed medical patients. Some researchers even believe that many recreational consumers are in fact self-medicating, despite not being aware or ever starting out with that intention.

If you were to ask the person next to you what they think of stoners today, what do you think they would say? Though the topic is still considered taboo amongst certain social circles, the general view of society is shifting into one that takes all aspects of marijuana use into consideration including both the medicinal and recreational values. We now know that stoners have a much easier time making it to work the day after a night of smoking weed and that medical patients all over the world are achieving a higher quality of life with fewer pharmaceuticals than we ever thought possible.

Your grandparents might still believe that cannabis consumption is bad, but that is likely due to exposure from years of propaganda and lies, that can be challenging to unlearn. For the most part, the average person is leaning towards a more positive perspective of stoners, one that brings to mind the image of a relaxed and happy productive member of society, or a relieved medicinal patient that is finally getting some rest. Neither of which contain the same negative associations of any other stoner stereotype that we know of today. Though we still have quite a way to go, the world is opening up and beginning to accept stoners as regular everyday people, who are just trying to get through life just like everybody else.

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