Pot industry wants to see 'stoner' stereotype go up in smoke


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michelle Janikian, who writes about marijuana for publications like Herb, Playboy and Rolling Stone, says after she tells someone what she does for a living, she usually spends the rest of the conversation "trying to act so friendly and mainstream" so they don't think she's stoned.

Adam Salcido relates that after he went to work a couple of years ago for a Southern California company that helps organize weed-infused events like Hempfest and Cannabis Cup, he had to reassure his family he wouldn't turn into a drug addict.

Stoner stereotypes die hard.

But with a multibillion-dollar industry beginning to flower – marijuana is now legal in some form in 30 states – cannabis advocates are pushing to dispel the idea that people who toke up still live on the couches in their parents' basements and spend their waking hours eating Cheetos and playing video games.

MedMen, a flashy, upscale chain of dispensaries that brands itself as the Apple store of pot shops, recently rolled out a $2 million ad campaign that, for lack of a better description, might be called the "anti-stoner offensive."

Photos of 17 people – including a white-haired grandmother, a schoolteacher, a business executive, a former pro football player and a nurse – are being splashed across billboards, buses and the web by the company that has dispensaries in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York. Each photo has the word "stoner" crossed out and in its place a description of their job.

People can find their biographies on the website www.forgetstoner.com, where they can also learn why they use weed. Reasons range from treatment of medical conditions like migraines and anxiety to simply enjoying the high.

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