MedMen cannabis dispensaries launches publicity campaign: ‘Stoner’ out, ‘Marijuana user’ in

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Operator of 19 licensed cannabis facilities wants to break worn-out words that are stereotypically associated with marijuana consumers

There has been a long-held stigma tied to marijuana that portrays users as “stoners, “potheads” or “burners,” or countless others. Hollywood has been especially adept at developing and building on this stereotype over the past several decades. However, people from all across the marijuana ecosystem are now pushing to break the false image and want to show that marijuana users can – and do – come from all backgrounds and all walks of life.

Leading the push is MedMen Enterprises out of Culver City, CA. It has started a publicity campaign that centers on portraying marijuana users as anyone – a police officer, a teacher, a scientist and even a grandmother.

MedMen’s senior VP of communications, Daniel Yi, explains, “That word can be used to negatively stereotype people. We want to take that stigma away. We want to make marijuana mainstream.”

Other marijuana businesses are behind the push, as well. Many retailers have begun to work with media and news outlets to try and get them to quit using the word “pot,” as it carries with it a negative stigma that can hurt sales. Kb Pure Essentials out of San Diego markets the company as a retailer of health and wellness products, completely averting a link with marijuana, even though it sells cannabis-based products.

Marijuana use in California continues to increase, and hasn’t had the apocalyptic outcome many feared. The executive director of San Diego’s Association of Cannabis Professionals, Dallin Young, says, “The negative prophecies didn’t come true. California hasn’t turned into some ‘Mad Max’ world.”

The stigma remains, however, as was recently seen in the news. After Tesla’s Elon Musk was shown puffing away on YouTube, Tesla’s stock dropped the following day. The decline cannot be attributed completely to his marijuana use, but, given the overall lack of acceptance of the drug on a social level, it didn’t help.