Cannabis has been a part of American culture for over a hundred years, though ever since the War on Drugs sunk its teeth in, the perception of cannabis and the stigma around it has left some pretty severe side effects on the public’s opinion of cannabis.
Luckily, with cannabis legalization, this perception of cannabis has shifted pretty drastically from the 70s to today. If you’re like many nuclear families, your parents grew up with Cheech and Chong making subtle jokes about cannabis in their films, creating certain stereotypes we still see today. Meanwhile, the US government placed cannabis on a Schedule I status in the same family as heroin and meth.
Not long after, the effects of the war on drugs shifted the idea of cannabis use into the lazy stoner stereotype, where if you smoked pot, you were slow or stupid and destined to be a failure; That stoners never went anywhere in life.
I’m sure you can picture it now. The average stoner stereotype— a 20-something kid with long, unwashed hair, a tie-dye t-shirt, and a bedroom full of lava lamps and records. Or maybe you look at the alternative stereotype— the one where cannabis acts as a gateway drug into harder substances and leads to a life of crime, in and out of jail.
With either stereotype, the public has been left to believe that cannabis is plain and simply bad news. On the one hand, it makes you a useless, non-contributing member of society, and on the other, it makes you a criminal. Unfortunately, these stereotypes have been pretty harmful.