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Is Stoner Culture Slowly Evolving?

Natasha Winkler

by Natasha Winkler

June 19, 2020 04:03 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
Is Stoner Culture Slowly Evolving?

Stoner culture was born out of an era of peace and love. In the ’60s-’70s, the hippie culture became synonymous with illicit drug use. Cannabis was a large part of the grab bag of mind-altering substances used during this time. After this peace and love movement began to shift following the war, cannabis began popping up in other populous groups. It is not really known if use increased among these populations or if it just was brought to more public light. Even though cannabis use is popular among many sub-groups in society, a distinct image began forming when people thought about “stoners”.

Society is Slowly Changing its View on Stoner Stereotypes

With sweeping legalization efforts and successes, globally this age-old image of a stoner is slowly drifting into the past. While in the beginning the almost archaic association of a dazed and confused, red-eyed 20-something was still used heavily to push measures forward with certain public demographics; it is those same stereotypes that have also held this plant back for so long.

While the tie-dye wearing, hemp necklace touting ‘pothead’ is an iconic image that actually brought many users a sense of community, the original stoner imagery was used to demean cannabis users and portray them as stupid, slow and unable to comprehend reality. The bigger push on this stoner culture divided advocates and those opposed to any kind of cannabis use. This stoner culture mindset was actually exploited in the beginning days and used as negative propaganda. The imagery is still strong when someone talks about “stoner culture”, but does this sub-culture still exist?

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Classic Stoner Brands are Slowly Going Under

Is this a sign of a shift in culture? While stoner stereotypes may take generations to rewrite, the normalization of cannabis use is quickly reversing any negative attachments society has on what remains of “stoner culture”. Historic cannabis mogul brand, High Times has recently taken several hits, knocking down its recognizable stature. In this case, High Times has been making several key business moves, shifting from an entertainment and media brand into more of a front-facing retail brand.

These changes do have to do with the ever-growing and shifting demographics of cannabis users. For decades, High Times appealed to open cannabis users as a symbol of dedication. Now with cannabis users coming forward in every sector of society, High Times is struggling to find a way to address all of the cannabis community – both financially and consistently. As new consumer characteristics are identified and amplified, just like the variance in society – cannabis brands will have to target a specific demographic rather than blanket market all cannabis users.

A Sign that Cannabis is Growing Up

Recognizing that both legalization and normalization have significantly shifted both what we think “stoner culture” is and who fits into this category; we can see that this shift is just a sign of growth and development for the industry and society. While I don’t expect us to see an end to the iconic stoner imagery, as the industry grows it is quickly realized that consumer characteristics are far more expansive than the couch potato in his mom’s basement staying blazed all day every day. Cannabis consumers walk among us – they are our neighbors, our co-workers, and even our church friends.

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