Hell, when I was a prosecutor in the ’70s and everyone – judges, cops, ministers, teachers, students and others – was smoking pot, I was too. Only after work and it never affected my work.
Today’s pot smokers and marijuana consumers are your neighbors, with many using it as the medicine it is.
Stoner stereotypes die hard. But with a multibillion-dollar industry beginning to flower — marijuana is now legal in some form in 30 states — cannabis advocates are pushing to dispel the idea that people who toke up still live on the couches in their parents’ basements and spend their waking hours eating Cheetos and playing video games.
Photos of 17 people — including a white-haired grandmother, a schoolteacher, a business executive, a former pro football player and a nurse — are being splashed across billboards, buses and the web by the company that has dispensaries in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York. Each photo has the word “stoner” crossed out and in its place a description of their job.
“What we’re saying is the very definition of a stereotype is defining a person by one bad mention,” says Daniel Yi, MedMen’s senior vice president of communications. “They’re also a grandmother. They’re also a father, a son, a brother.”
Judd Weiss, CEO and founder of cannabis company Lit.Club, believes the industry needs to do still more. He suggests marketing products in a way that makes them look more than just respectable, but as the herbal equivalent of a fine bourbon or scotch.
“Very much like the Tesla, we want to be seen as luxury quality but affordable,” he said.
To bring more people like Paul into the fold, branding expert Robert Miner says the marijuana industry needs to use movies and TV shows to change negative perceptions. Those lovable stoners Cheech and Chong were fine back in the day when it came to rebuffing the idea that anybody who smoked pot was headed for Reefer Madness. But the mainstreaming of marijuana, he said, demands a new message.