Reefer Madness No More

by RISE Mag

August 9, 2018

Why has cannabis been demonized when humans have been consuming it for thousands of years? In 1936, the release of a little film called Reefer Madness caused the clutching of pearls across North America, which led to decades of anti-weed propaganda, stigmas about cannabis use, and the devastating “War on Drugs” in the 1970s.


Well, Actually, We DO Give A Damn About A Bad Reputation


From topical treatments to makeup lines, these days cannabis can be found in pretty much anything. But weed hasn’t always been so ubiquitous — or, for that matter, socially acceptable.


Before pot entered the mainstream, it was cartoonishly vilified for nearly a century as a “demon weed” — a dangerous gateway drug that ended innocence, careers… even lives.


Responsible for all this hysteria? Government scaremongering, be it anti-cannabis propaganda in the 1930s or Richard Nixon’s War on Drugs in the 1970s. This is Reefer Madness.


Read more about the manufacturing of weed’s bad reputation.


“Zombie-like Non Productivity”? Um, No.


Let’s clear the air. Despite cannabis’ increased visibility in mainstream culture, a haze of anxiety persists around the plant. Where did this social stigma come from, and why do so many folks fear the reefer?


Less than a century ago, cannabis was associated in the popular consciousness with everything from violence and insanity, to “zombie-like non-productivity.” In reality, these alarmist ideas couldn’t be further from the truth.


Explore the marijuana myths that, while largely debunked, still persist in tired stereotypes today.


“Just Say No” Grows Up


If you were a kid in the 1980s, it’s likely that your first introduction to cannabis was through an anti-drug PSA, tacked onto an afterschool special.


Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign launched a series of moralizing TV pot plotlines, designed to warn adolescents about the dangers of the plant.


Learn how cannabis has assumed the lofty position of modern television darling, from Broad City to High Maintenance.


When “Just One Puff” Was The Epitome Of Evil


What substance could turn a tender maiden into a “hopped-up harlot” with just one puff, or provoke psychotic impulses capable of terrorizing the streets with violence?


According to paranoid PSAs of yesteryear, the drug powerful enough to “sow destruction in the youth of America” was none other than — you guessed it — cannabis.


With titles like The Devil’s Harvest, Assassin of YouthMarihuana, and the infamous Reefer Madness, get the history of anti-pot propagandafilms that were in high demand in the 1930s and 40s.


Modern Marijuana Media


There’s a new strain of stoner in contemporary pop culture — one that doesn’t signal counterculture so much as privilege.


From Broad City to High Maintenance, weed has become less anti-establishment and more uninhibited chill.


The pothead paradigm has evolved since Reefer Madness hysteria and D.A.R.E.-era messaging to include realistic portrayals of today’s cannabis culture.


Read on to discover the (re-)makings of the modern day stoner.