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The new face of cannabis culture

Published Aug 2, 2022 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Drazen Zigic

Cannabis culture is always changing based on things like societal perceptions and laws, and although certain figures, images and even stereotypes associated with people who use and love the plant have long remained, the environment is shifting in a way that’s creating a whole new face. The problem is that there is a minimal acknowledgment of this shift, even though the new face could truly help to eliminate the heavy stigma that remains.

Old stoner stereotypes

The face, reputation and image conjured when cannabis culture is mentioned have remained the same throughout the decades. We all know the tropes, like the timeless hippy who is always too high to be productive, or the chilled scene of a bunch of young people just hanging out and getting high. Photos depicting exactly this are rampant in the media and industry, making it seem like the only ones who partake in and enjoy cannabis culture must be uneducated youth or carefree adults.

For those who’ve been around to see these changes take place, watching as true leaders take front and center stage as trailblazers, and still not being taken seriously it’s a painful reality, and something we’re pushing to correct.

New leaders

Attending the last several conferences and expos in Southwestern Ontario was an incredible experience, as hundreds of people from across Canada and the United States gathered to network and show off what their companies are capable of doing. Even in the smoking pit, no one dawned dirty jeans or flowery 60’s dresses, and not a single soul fit what you might expect if you still believe in old stoner stereotypes. Most wore suits and blazers, with dress shoes, and every single one had a business card to hand out and a story to tell about what it takes to make it in this industry.

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Panels were filled to the brim with highly educated experts, many from local colleges or universities, and passionate driven advocates who travelled from all over to share their motivation and struggles. Nowhere in media does cannabis culture look like this, a fact that won’t change unless more people are willing to acknowledge how in touch professionals and others can be with their roots while breaking every rule of stereotypes.

Success is no longer a question

It is no longer a question of whether or not someone could be a regular cannabis consumer and be successful. The culture and industry are ruled by athletes, educational professionals, doctors, researchers, business owners, entrepreneurs, parents, caregivers, celebrities, and creators. Though many will hold onto those precious moments of idolizing characters like Cheech and Chong, many of whom played integral roles as the inspiration for this change in laws we thoroughly enjoy today, it’s time for us to make it past what cannabis culture once was so that we can eliminate the stigma, and create a better, fairer, tomorrow for future generations.

Until we stop using damaging imagery and laughing at stoner stereotypes, we can’t expect them to disappear anytime soon. So speak up, set good examples, and let those who are generating this buzz know what you think. The transition hasn’t been easy but, in the end, our fight to shine a light on the new face of cannabis will be more than worth it.

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