Cannabis Users Want More Positive Portrayals On TV

By David Konow 05/30/18

A new survey shed light on the changing demographics of cannabis users and how they feel about stereotypical media and TV portrayals.

person lighting a joint

As norms in society change, people are pushing for Hollywood to move away from hackneyed stereotypes that were often commonplace in the past.

Now some marijuana users are lobbying the entertainment industry to stop projecting the negative stereotypical image that the general public has of pot smokers—lazy, hazy and comically stupid.

As Forbes reports, Miner and Company, a research agency out of New York, has put together a survey that highlights the changing demographic of the cannabis consumer.  

In a statement, Miner and Company reports that “a new class of cannabis consumers are reshaping marijuana culture and want to change ingrained perceptions. They are active, engaged and productive and want TV and media to catch up with the times and move beyond ‘stoned’ or ‘out of it’ stereotypes that present an impediment to greater acceptance.”

Miner and Company has especially called out the TV industry for its portrayals of dated marijuana stereotypes.

As Robert Miner, the president of Miner and Company, told Forbes, “TV and media in general have played a role in reinforcing these perceptions. 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.”

Far from the typical Cheech and Chong stereotype of stoners being lazy underachievers, Miner and Company reports that out of the 800 cannabis users surveyed, 77% had a household income of $75,000 a year or over, and 86% work full-time.

Seven out of 10 people polled by Miner and Company also felt that a number of TV shows portray cannabis users in the usual stereotypical way, and 8 out of 10 polled said they are glad when TV shows show them in a more positive light.

In addition, this poll notes that 77% of the people polled said that “cannabis improves their attention span so they can watch more TV in one sitting,” and are more likely to binge watch and be immersed in new series, which is why it would be beneficial for television to erase stereotypes that could alienate a big portion of their audience.

Robert Miner says, “[The] media has played an incredibly important role in the societal acceptance of cannabis consumption, but there’s still work to do. The same recognizable type of the harmless silly stoner that drove normalization has now become an impediment to acceptance for productive and engaged consumers of cannabis.”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.