Article by Mike Okada, Cannabis Life Network
As cannabis becomes more mainstream, there is a discussion happening within the community over who should (and shouldn’t) speak for the cannabis cause.
One side is saying that we need new spokespeople as legalization kicks in because the activists who got it here no longer represent the common cannabis user, while the other side argues that we can’t ignore that history and push these people to the side.
In many ways, this is a public relations issue as the media provides a platform to the people and organizations it chooses to quote in cannabis stories, and it shapes how the cannabis community is seen by the general public.
But who should decide who gets to represent the industry?
We’ll take a deeper look into the factors at play such as the War on Drugs and the effects of its anti-cannabis propaganda, the generation gap, the media’s influence, and if there is such thing as the common cannabis user.
A war of misinformation
For generations, cannabis consumers have been stuck with the stoner stereotype, from the hippies in the 1960’s to Cheech and Chong, Bill and Ted, Harold and Kumar, and many more.
At the same time, there was a competing narrative that began in the late 1930’s with Reefer Madness that continued with the kick-off to the War on Drugs in the 70s, which inspired those generation-defining anti-drug PSA’s.
With the War on Drugs came a war of (mis)information and cannabis activists were branded as potheads and conspiracy theorists by government propaganda and anti-cannabis lobbyists, and some of the most anti-legalization industries will not surprise you- alcohol, tobacco,