October 17th officially marks cannabis legalization in Canada. We’ve been closely following the news for this emerging industry, and its impact on other industries. We recently talked about the strict branding and advertising regulations, and turned it into a handy infographic.

Anyone who is over their province’s legal age has the right to consume cannabis, based on this estimate that’s over 78% of Canada’s population. With the median age at 40.6, it looks like there are opportunities for brands to appeal to a more mature audience. As it moves into the mainstream, we pose the question: “Is stoner culture growing up?” Let’s dive in.

Cannabis Culture and the Stoner Stereotype

Cannabis culture has a long history, but where it really began to take off was the hippie counterculture movement of the 60’s and 70’s. Soon after it started to make its way into the mainstream. This comprehensive guide outlines the cultural evolution of the stoner. 

The term “stoner” is often associated with a lot of cliches and specific characteristics to describe a person who smokes a lot of cannabis. Some of the most common traits include; laziness, being stupid, no job, always being hungry, and are a hippie.

Cannabis Culture staples:

The Cannabis leaf: a symbol of stoner community. Often printed on posters, t-shirts and other paraphernalia.

420: the official Cannabis holiday, with a rather convoluted origin story.  It’s a day for cannabis enthusiasts to gather and celebrate.  

 

Iconic stoners in pop culture

Cannabis has made its way into film, television, music and really any form of media. It’s even gone on to have it’s on genre: stoner comedy. Here are just a few of the most recognized stoner figures in pop culture (and real life).

Cheech & Chong

The comedy duo, best known for the 1978 film Up in Smoke, are possibly the most famous stoners in cannabis culture. They are the perfect embodiment of what makes up a stoner, and were pioneers in the stoner comedy genre.

Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High

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This fictional character from the 1982 film, portrayed by Sean Penn, is still an iconic stoner figure and highly quoted to this day. Spicoli is the textbook stoner stereotype, known for always being high, having the munchies and slacking off.

Snoop Dogg

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The “Smoke weed every day” rapper is pretty much most known for his cannabis connections. He even has his own line of cannabis and edibles called Leafs by Snoop. We could go on about his weed-ventures but instead it might be best if we just link you this.

The New Culture

Many people who consume cannabis don’t mind being called a stoner, but all of that is changing anyway. When talking about the plant itself, terms like “weed,” and “pot” are being replaced by the seemingly politically correct “cannabis”. This also means calling someone a “stoner” or “pothead” is starting to fade away.

Several ad campaigns have rolled out over the past couple years aiming to educate those around the stigma of using cannabis. Last year, online cannabis resource company Lift&co created the #FacesofCannabis campaign. This campaign showed real cannabis users of different age, race and gender and occupation that otherwise don’t fit the typical stereotype. Not only does the campaign show the diversification in cannabis consumers, but it focus on the stigma around “getting high” and how it doesn’t hold people back from living their normal lives.

Other companies like Civilized, are also on a mission to change the way cannabis culture is perceived. In this article, they discussed the need for celebrities that don’t fit the stereotype, to help normalize the conversation. They want to educate people, and show them that it can be part of a balanced lifestyle.

Between the regulations and the preconceived notions, it looks like it’s going to take some time for Canada to become informed on the industry and consumption. It’s not about changing stoner culture, without it the industry may have never existed.

It’s possible there will be a big shift towards creating a new culture, a community with a wider demographic and no stereotypes.