Monday, February 17, 2020
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Dear Mainstream Media: Stoner Stereotypes Are No Longer Relevant

Not every cannabis consumer is a Grateful Dead-loving, tie-dyed wearing, patchouli-smelling hippie with a peace sign tattoed on her arm. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

A new class of cannabis consumers is helping reshape the marijuana culture. According to a new survey of 800 legal cannabis users, conducted by New York-based media and brand consultancy Miner and Co. Studio, today’s cannabis consumer is not what the hackneyed stereotype suggests.

Respondents to the survey were:

  • 21 to 55 years old (35 on average)
  • 51 percent male; 49 percent female
  • 77 percent have a household income of $75,000 or more
  • 86 percent employed full-time
  • 73 percent married or living with a significant other
  • 72 percent parents of children under 18
  • 49 percent Democrat; 30 percent Republican

A major contributing factor to the changing consumer acceptance is the impact media has played. According to the study, 72 percent of respondents believe having cannabis consumption and consumers portrayed in TV shows and mainstream media has influenced legalization.

These viewers want their favorite shows to continue to play a positive cultural role in promoting greater acceptance and legalization and 85 percent want their shows to find ways to have storylines and characters speak out if federal law enforcement starts to prosecute buyers/sellers of cannabis in states where it has been legalized.

“Media has played an incredibly important role in the societal acceptance of cannabis consumption, but there’s still work to do” said Robert Miner, president of Miner & Co. Studio. “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.

“Recreational consumers feel concern that non-consumers of cannabis will take them less seriously and question their judgement, 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,” Miner added.

“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 recognize 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.”

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