Political correctness has infiltrated many businesses, and now the pot business is pushing to recast marijuana — considered by many to be a gateway drug to cocaine, heroin, and much more — in a positive light.
A recent billboard campaign called “Forget Stoner” from the cannabis company MedMen has burned $2 million in an effort to remind the public that pot smokers come from all walks of life and have feelings, too, according to The San Diego Union Tribune.
“Are they ‘stoners’? No,” says the ad, which has the words crossed out, replaced by more “professional” titles such as nurse, teacher, scientist, even cop.
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“A day will come when people have to issue trigger warnings before anyone in the vicinity utters the word ‘stoner,’ should the marijuana industry succeed in striking it from the American lexicon,” writes Paul Bois in The Daily Wire.
Daniel Yi, senior vice president of communications at MedMen, which operates 14 retail pot stores, said the word stoner carries negative connotations and is used to stereotype marijuana users, according to The Daily Wire.
“We want to take that stigma away,” said Yi. “We want to make marijuana mainstream.”
Not everyone is in favor of that.
“The federal government still classifies marijuana as a Class 1 controlled substance — meaning the addiction liability is great,” Seattle-based pharmacist George Hatziantoniou told LifeZette. “The cognitive and behavioral effects of marijuana use are well documented and detrimental.”
“Marijuana-related automobile fatalities doubled in 2013-2014 in Seattle, Washington, after legalization,” he added, citing a 2016 Washington Times article.
“Marijuana also has a much longer half-life than alcohol, and therefore, accumulates in the body after regular use,” noted Hatziantoniou. “Additionally, destigmatizing marijuana by removing words like ‘stoner’ may broaden the public appeal for the drug and possibly increase consumption, which could lead to more addiction, more cognitive impairment — even more fatalities.”
The “Forget Stoner” campaign debuted earlier this year and is “part of a larger, ongoing push by the cannabis industry to normalize the use of marijuana,” reports the Tribune.
— Boston Herald (@bostonherald) September 19, 2018
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The campaign to clean up pot parlance began shortly after California legalized the drug, as multiple retailers began demanding that people stop referring to pot as pot — because that was taboo.
How to incorporate cannabis into table decor. pic.twitter.com/dhmGXinm2k
— MedMen (@ShopMedMen) September 21, 2018
See more about how marijuana has become a booming industry in the video below.
Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.