Cannabis in the Media

What do you think of when you think of the type of person who smokes marijuana? A stoner or slacker who lazes around his apartment all day? This is a very common perception of a marijuana user and it can very much be attributed to the media’s portrayal of cannabis users. Hollywood films Up in Smoke (Cheech and Chong), Pineapple Express and Dazed and Confused all contribute to a negative image of marijuana users, and with this comes a lot of negative reactions when the topic of law reform is brought up – who wants to help someone who won’t help themselves to a job anyway? This is the kind of representation that needs to be stopped and thankfully, those in various forms of non-fiction media are helping to undermine this backward perception of weed users.

That was a trailer for the new film House That I Live In, directed by Eugene Jarecki. This is exactly the kind of film we here at Cannabis Isn’t Criminal are dying for. The film highlights the endemic problems within drug/cannabis prohibition: that it targets lower socio-economic sections of society, causing a never-ending cycle of offending and incarceration. It goes on to stronger tangents of race and harder drugs that are not particularly related to this campaign, but it does illuminate politicians’ reluctance to act on drugs for fear of seeming ‘soft’. Greens Senator Richard Di Natale recently said

”I have lost count of the number of politicians who privately say to me, ‘we’re on the wrong track’ but stay silent publicly.” 

This is one of the systematic problems that has been built up by years of incorrect stereotyping not only in America but Australia as well: that being soft on drugs means you are soft on crime. This could not be more wrong and it is only through popular media that this misconception will change. In our next blog we will look at which media personalities are shaking things up one of the most powerful mediums there is: television.


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