Marijuana In The Media: Good Or Bad?
With cannabis becoming legalized throughout the country, it has also had a rise in being broadcasted in the media. Not only do news reporters discuss current events in legalizing cannabis from state to state, but as of late, entertainment media has been including more cannabis activities in their mainstream television shows. From a short scene of actors smoking to an entire series about the activities and experiences of herbalists, marijuana has made a major appearance in the media. But is that necessarily such a good thing?
Cannabis has been under a microscope when it comes to the pros and cons of legalization. As herbalists, it is important for us to conduct ourselves in a responsible way to show and prove that cannabis is worthy of being legalized as a medicine as well as recreational use. With different states bearing different cannabis laws, it raises difficulty for us to abide by all rules, however, proper education and examples through the media could only aid the chances of providing a clearer consensus to a more vast amount of people.
It's not a new thing to hear about marijuana on one of your favorite shows. But think back to some of your favorite old sitcoms - how did they portray cannabis? For example, on an episode of The Wayans Brothers, Marlon had the opportunity to hang out with one of his favorite actors. Only thing was he had to smoke to be down with his crew. The peer pressure forced him to partake, giving off the image that "you're not cool if you don't smoke." Opposite of that old mentality, Shawn tried to convince his brother not to smoke anymore because his brain will end up like a fried egg.
Fast forward, Marlon's new actor friend convinced him to smoke before an audition and although Marlon is no stranger to making a fool of himself, he was extremely out of control while high at his audition.
Yes, this episode is more than a decade old and people's thoughts about cannabis may have improved since then. But is marijuana and its users being portrayed in a better light nowadays?
Looking at the new show on MTV, Mary + Jane, we can't say that it has. Following around two girls in California that smoke and sell weed, the focal points of the show seem to be the other activities that Mary and Jane find themselves in. While cannabis is present, the show is more so about the girls promiscuity and drama - with many scenes of the girls talking about men they've slept with (sometimes customers/patients) and the everyday life of a California girl.
Seems as if the title of the show and the fact that marijuana is being shown on MTV are the only intriguing parts of Mary + Jane. Instead of showing the business aspect, customer relations, patient trials and tribulations, strains and they're effects, legalization efforts, cannabis community diversity, etc., the show would rather focus on fast young women that run a weed delivery business. There is nothing professional or admirable about their personalities or business therefore, this show only appeals to women who can relate to both Mary and Jane's lifestyles and is not a good example as to why cannabis should be legal.
Last Friday, High Maintenance premiered on HBO. This show focuses on a nameless male marijuana dealer who delivers to customers throughout New York City. SPOILER ALERT: The beginning of the first episode was very intriguing - as the drug dealer seems to be meek and fragile yet he finds himself selling to two bigger and very intimidating men.
The next scene goes on to show a bachelotette party with women smoking weed, sniffing coke and asking their gay male friend to pick up more liquor for "vodka tampons" (what an extreme shift in focus). Then, the story goes on to follow the gay male to a sexcapade with another man that he met on a "sex app."
The show continues to follow around the coke heads, gay male addicts in therapy groups and the nameless drug dealer. The marijuana dealer has such short and strange scenes throughout the episode, seemingly to exemplify the different lifestyles of people who smoke weed. However, those scenes are highly (no pun intended) overshadowed by the outrageous sex and drug activities during the rest of the show.
Again, this is another new show "about marijuana" that finds time to showcase irresponsibility, promiscuity, and in this case, other drugs. High Maintenance shows that cannabis is commonly used with other drugs that are frowned upon, which is not a good example as to why cannabis should be legal. Especially when focusing on marijuana in illegal or strict states like New York, it is important to show responsible and safe marijuana use.
Marijuana in the media can have a strong effect on legalization. There are still many people throughout the country with an inadequate understanding about cannabis and it's healing abilities. The depiction of marijuana on mainstream television has the power to affect a persons perspective of cannabis. These two new series put a negative face to the type of people who use cannabis. While there are members of the cannabis community out there like those on TV, that's not all we are. The media needs to do a better job at depicting the diversity of the cannabis community and the benefits of cannabis, rather than aiding to the negative stereotype of herbalists that we battle with on a daily basis.
How do you feel about marijuana in the media nowadays?