Is the Stoner Stereotype Dead?

A “stoner” is someone who smokes weed on a regular basis. The term was originally invented to discriminate against the cannabis user, attempting to associate use with lifestyle. However, “stoners” didn’t take it as such.

Rather, cannabis users became affectionate to the term. “Are you a stoner?” “HELL YES!” Once the stoner culture developed, a wealth of music and movies came to be as a result proliferating the stereotype of the stoner.

Now, one must remember that this term is a few decades old but only truly picked up post-Woodstock.

People like Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin gave the “stoner” an international platform and red-eyed toksters from all over the world assumed the identity of stoner.

How times have changed

These days however, “stoners” are no longer long haired, semen stained morons that love to play hacky-sack all day long. Rather, the image of stoner has changed quite a bit over the past two decades. Nowadays we have people of all walks of life partaking. While many of them would not consider themselves “stoners”, the fact of the matter is that they are…whether they like it or not.

However, nowadays the image of the stoner has evolved to such a point that even soccer moms could be considered as such.

Since 1996, when California first legalized medical marijuana there has been a growing acceptance of the use of cannabis. Countries that were once staunchly opposed to legalization are now considering to make a shift to the legal cannabis market.

Now, that more than twenty-three states have some sort of marijuana program in play and with many other countries now giving cannabis to their medical patients, the idea of the “lazy stoner” simply doesn’t measure up.

How statistics dispels the stereotype

Did you know that one in ten people smoke marijuana in the US on a regular basis? That figure is only growing as cannabis is legalized in individual states. With roughly 30 million regular smokers and 20 million (not so regular smokers), the US is quickly embracing the idea of legal cannabis.

However, if we consider that 30 million people in the United States smoke weed on a regular basis, then the stereotype portrayed by the media simply doesn’t cut it.

That would mean that every one in ten people you know would be a stoner. I’m sure you know hundreds of people and I’m also certain that in some cases the stereotype holds true. But for the most part, people who smoke marijuana are just regular folks like you and me.

It is becoming ever increasingly difficult to know whether someone smokes marijuana or not. Some of the most “proper” folk you know could have a hidden cannabis habit they don’t want to share with the world.

Why?

It’s quite simple really, “Fear of the stigma”. To be associated as a “stoner” for some people, specifically those who abide by the rules of the “system”, is considered wrong.

“What would people think of me?” “I might lose my job” and a wealth of other thoughts pop into your head the moment you go public with your weed consumption. These are legitimate fears that have been induced into your brain to make you stay away from pot.

However, as more people spark up, the idea of “Stoners = Losers” is no longer sustainable. Some of the greatest minds of history smoked marijuana including; Carl Saga, Allan Watts, William Shakespeare just to name a few.

Once the use of cannabis has been “normalized”, people might still attach a stereotype to the typical stoner. However, for the most part, people will just accept the behavior similarly to someone drinking a beer.

In the future, the negative stereotyping of a stoner will no longer exist. Hopefully, this comes sooner than later.

One day the “stoner” will no longer be demonized and his use would be once more tolerated in this already “drugged up” society.

Why Stoner is a Money Word!

A year or two ago there was quite a lot of chatter about whether or not branding as a “stoner” is the right move. The argument was that “professionals do not want to be associated with the ‘stoner image’”. This is why many brands tried to steer clear of the “stoner image”. Some of the more ‘modern’ logos don’t have a cannabis leaf or anything related to cannabis on its brand appearance.

While this might sit well with demographics that don’t want to be seen as “stoners”, it leaves out the millions of people who do identify as stoners.

And why not?

Was it not stoners who took a negative stereotype and turned it iconic statement of the counter-culture? It was stoners who, irrespective of laws, continued to use cannabis and create an entire industry that thrived even when prohibition was at its worst. It was the stoner who wrote songs, made movies, invented cool slang terms, traditions and an entire culture around an obscure word.

Hell…stoners took the word from alcohol and made it cool.

Now, with the next wave of cannabis commerce about to be unleashed on the world, some of the new “savvy” marketers want to trash decades’ worth of culture to re-brand cannabis in a new light.

I think this would be a mistake. Of course, some people won’t identify with the “Stoner Culture”, but the Stoner is just that…culture.

It’s the one thing that every industry desires but few obtain. It’s creating a culture around the product and when it comes to cannabis…that culture already exists.

Perhaps, it’s time to update the “Stoner Culture” and bring it into the 21st Century. What does “Stoner” mean today? This is what modern brands should be looking for as opposed to distancing themselves from a rough past.

Perhaps the Stoner is no longer the “loser” as portrayed by the narrative of prohibition, but rather someone who even if the world is against them…will endure. Perhaps the stoner is no longer lazy but innovative. I mean, just look at the bongs we make.

The stoner is creative. The stoner is free-thinking. The stoner doesn’t bend to the rules, they find loopholes. The stoner is easy-going. The stoner doesn’t take offense. The stoner likes good food, good times and hanging out with friends. The stoner is a professional. The stoner is smart, like Carl Sagan and Terrence McKenna.

You see, as the new wave of recreational sales take off internationally, wouldn’t it make more sense to capitalize on a culture that has endured the test of time? That united people of all colors and creeds. That bridged the schism between classes, gender and politics.

Stoner isn’t dead…far from it, it’s going to come back and show the world that there’s a stoner living in every single one of us.