Breaking the Stigma: How Cannabis Professionals and Advocates are Working Towards Change
Cannabis, also known as marijuana, has been a part of human culture for thousands of years. It has been used for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational purposes in different cultures. However, since the early 1900’s, cannabis has been stigmatized and even criminalized around the world. This has been detrimental not only to the individual liberties of cannabis consumers, but has also hindered cannabis research and policy, and distorted society's perception of the versatile plant. In this blog, we will explore the history of cannabis stigma and how cannabis professionals and advocates are working hard everyday to remove the negative associations that hinder the adoption of reasonable regulations allowing for the responsible use of cannabis.
The history of cannabis stigma can be traced back to the early 20th century. In the United States, anti-cannabis propaganda was used to create fear and public outrage against the plant. One of the most famous examples of this propaganda was the film "Reefer Madness," which portrayed cannabis users as violent and criminally insane. Other examples include government-sponsored campaigns that associated cannabis use with crime and degeneracy, as well as stoking racial tensions and fears about immigration.
Such propaganda was used to justify the criminalization of cannabis, imposed by the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. This act made cannabis illegal in the United States, and other countries soon followed suit. Cannabis became classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which meant that it was considered to have no medical value and a high potential for abuse.
Almost a century after the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act, stances on cannabis are changing rapidly. Many U.S. states and territories have legalized cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use, and other countries are, again, following suit. But regardless of the changes, cannabis stigma still exists. Detractors associate the plant use with laziness, criminal behavior, and addiction.
As a result of prohibition, there is a limited body of scientific knowledge about the cannabis plant. While data is emerging from a broader research field in recent years, it lags well behind misinformation that is ubiquitous in the markets. In particular, many of the benefits of cannabis are exaggerated and some of the risks may be downplayed as well. This kind of misinformation may also contribute to the stigmatization of cannabis by oversimplifying its effects and not properly educating the community about potential risks. This is made worse by the fact that cannabis is still illegal federally and can not be treated like other consumer products on the market, allowing products into the market without standardized testing, research, quality control, etc.
Cannabis professionals, including researchers, medical professionals, and advocates, are working to remove the stigma associated with cannabis. One way they are doing this is by promoting evidence-based education about cannabis, including its potential benefits and risks. They are also working to change the perception of cannabis users by highlighting successful professionals, athletes, and celebrities who use cannabis.
Another way cannabis professionals are removing the stigma is by promoting responsible cannabis use. This includes advocating for regulation and quality control of cannabis products and promoting safe consumption practices. They are also working to remove the stigma associated with medical cannabis use, which is often seen as a “legal” way to get high rather than as a legitimate treatment for a variety of ailments and diseases.
In conclusion, cannabis stigma has a long history, beginning in recent history with anti-cannabis propaganda in the early 20th century. While the legal status and cultural perceptions of cannabis have evolved, stigma still exists, and new forms of cannabis misinformation contribute to it. Cannabis professionals are working to remove the stigma by promoting independent research, information about responsible use, and finding ways to change the perception of cannabis users. By removing the stigma associated with cannabis, we can create a more informed and accepting society.
At Valor Craft, it’s our mission to remove the stigma. To that end, we created our ongoing Acts of Valor campaign that is designed to create strong relationships with cannabis retailers and organizations locally to make a positive impact in our communities. We use sales of Valor Craft cannabis products to direct money towards impacting local community organizations or people in need. We hope to grow this campaign in order to help promote a positive perception of cannabis users as productive members of the community.