Silver Haze: Cannabis On The Big And Small Screen

by RISE Mag

August 4, 2018

Why does Hollywood keep painting cannabis consumers with the same broad “dumb stoner” brush, while most people who enjoy the plant are anything but? It seems like it’s high time for the film and tv industry to get a marijuana makeover, and change tired on-screen stereotypes.


Dude, Where’s My (Non-Stereotype) Representation?


Most folks who consume cannabis aren’t lazy, burnt-out, or absent-minded. So why does Hollywood keep depicting users this way?


According to a new survey from Miner & Co. Studio, the cannabis community is tired of stoner stereotypes, and wants the tv and film industry to change its on-screen representation of weed.


By and large, cannabis users are grown-up, gainfully employed members of society. Find out more on why they want the motion picture industry to grow up with them.



A Refined Cannabis Canon


Sure, it’s one thing to ask Hollywood to tone down the stoner stereotypes. It’s a completely different thing to enjoy high-quality cinema…while blazed out of your mind.


One director whose entire catalog could be considered an homage to the herb? Richard Linklater.


Slacker and Waking Life contain a fluid repository of ideas which ebb and flow between far out, and profound, while A Scanner Darklyvibrates with paranoia.


Delve into the best weed movies, and the best movies about weed.



From Apprehension To (Gradual) Acceptance


Cannabis and cinema have a longstanding history together, from anti-pot propaganda to stoner comedies. And as the public attitude toward weed steadily shifts from apprehension to acceptance, Hollywood has attempted to keep up.


Pro: Cinematic portrayals of toking up have significantly relaxed since the alarmist Reefer Madness.


Con: Once a joint or bong makes an on-screen appearance, the narrative tends to center on the misadventures of stoners.


What’s needed is a more nuanced portrayal of cannabis, focusing on accurate interpretations of real life. Find out more.


Making Cannabis Just Another NBD Prop


Cannabis representation on-screen has come a long way since the days of Reefer Madness.


Casual cannabis use is on the rise, marking a shift from the tired pot tropes of yore.


No longer must reefer representation only resemble bumbling stoner stereotypes (see Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle) or plotlines dependent on the presence of pot (Weeds is a prime example).


Instead – in increasing number – cannabis just happens to be a part of the narrative scenery, rather than an entire genre. With titles like BoJack Horseman (2014), Love (2016), and Santa Clarita Diet (2017), you needn’t look further than Netflix to find plenty of examples.


When Cannabis Met Cable


Today, cannabis has become so commonplace on the small screen that even National Geographic has a reality series dedicated to the herb — bluntly titled American Weed — offering a window into the cannabis industry as a legal, legitimate business.


While the stoner archetype has held a time-honored position in Hollywood, the presence of cannabis on cable is a relatively recent development. Read on to learn about television’s gradual embrace of weed, from “Just Say No,” to Broad City’s “Pussy Weed.”