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STONER?

I PREFER THE TERN CANNABIS ENTHUSIAST


Stoner? I prefer the term cannabis enthusiast
Erin Fleming
University of Kentucky

STONER? I PREFER THE TERN CANNABIS ENTHUSIAST


Abstract
Advocates of marijuana are the group being studied for this research paper. From the
research I conducted I found the label of a stoner carries assumptions throughout
society that are negatively looked upon. These stereotypes are falsely portrayed
worldwide for this individualized group. This group does not stick to certain customs
rather they pertain to their own beliefs. However, this group connects with one another
through the belief that marijuana positively affects our world. Furthermore, the majority
of this group advocates the use of marijuana because of its health benefits and its ability
to boost the economy. In addition, the legalization of marijuana is believed to help carry
out these positive effects worldwide. Some members of this group do not smoke
marijuana, however, they advocate marijuana because of the positive aspects it offers.
Controversially, in society there are people that smoke marijuana solely to get high,
ignoring the positive aspects marijuana has to offer. This opinion is what separates
advocates that smoke marijuana for the positive effects versus the people that smoke
marijuana just to feel high. Conclusively, this group consists of people that have the
ability to foresee the negative effects of this drug decreasing and the positive affects
increasing.
Keywords: Advocates, Marijuana, Stereotypes, Health Benefits, Economy

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Marijuana is a mixture of dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp
plant- Cannabis sativa. This is the most illicit drug used in the United States (Drug
Facts: Marijuana). This drug has been increasing amongst young adults and teenagers
since 2007, showing the differentiation in marijuana use between the past generations to
the current generations. In society today, marijuana has become very controversial.
Several states have or are in the process of legalizing this drug. Specific states where
marijuana is legal contain highly populated groups that advocate the use of marijuana.
Since our society is becoming so accepting of other cultures and beliefs, I decided to do
research on advocates of smoking, the most controversial drug in todays world,
marijuana. In order to grasp the basic concepts of this group, I conducted online
research. I furthered my research through interviewing advocates of this group. I
interviewed a male and a female of different ages in order to see if these different
characteristics had effect on their opinions and beliefs. After I communicated, interacted,
and observed with these two people, I was able to understand their way of life while
overcoming several stereotypes. Most importantly I learned the exact reasons why this
group supports and uses marijuana. From the research I conducted, I conclude that the
stereotype for this group is falsely portrayed in society. In addition, the real beliefs
behind the advocates use of marijuana is not only for medical advantages, but also to help
increase the economic growth.
In past generations of society, advocates of the drug, marijuana, are viewed as low
class, slow, confused people. They are not only associated with violence and crimes but
also with dirty and trashy physical appearances. This specific group of people is typically
known as stoners ((The Stoner Stereotype).). This label carries all of the assumptions

STONER? I PREFER THE TERN CANNABIS ENTHUSIAST


and judgments that are associated with users of marijuana, to the modern day world.
Stereotypes are based off previous knowledge influenced by the parental style
experienced as a child. Therefor judgments, assumptions, even prejudice labels are
extremely hard to overcome. However, I over came my previous stereotype of a stoner
into something more accurate in the modern day world. Based off of the interviews I
conducted, I learned this group looks, acts, and most importantly, prioritizes just like
people outside of this group (Fleming). Each individual in this group differs in their own
way. There is not one style, belief, religion, etc. that they stick too. Specific
classifications and qualifications required in other cultural groups simply do not exist in
this specific group of people. I found that it is common to know someone on a first name
basis such as a co-worker, boss, or even student, and not know they belong to this way of
life (Kleeman). This can be a hard realization to grasp because of the way this group has
been portrayed throughout the mainstream of society, unsuccessful coach potatoes.
Advocates of smoking weed are generally very open-minded people that tend to stick to
their individual beliefs. Out of curiosity and eagerness I researched deeper into the
passion and logic behind this groups beliefs. I found that the majority of this group is not
only advocates of smoking weed because they enjoy the relaxation of the high, but also
because of its scientifically proven health benefits, and its ability to boost the economy.
The specific reasons this group supports the use marijuana is hidden behind the
stereotypical values brought onto this group. A large component of this
miscommunication amongst our society is due to the media. Furthermore, the media
plays a big role in stressing and exaggerating misconceptions of several groups to the

STONER? I PREFER THE TERN CANNABIS ENTHUSIAST


outside world. It makes you wonder, how many other groups are portrayed inaccurately
through the media today?
Through this communication in the media, a well-known drug, Marijuana, is
becoming very controversial globally due to its apparent health benefits. The legalization
process of this drug is currently in effect amongst several states (Medical Marijuana Pros
and Cons). In certain states, particularly Colorado, medical use of marijuana, since
November 7th in the year 2000, is legal to anyone suffering from debilitating medical
conditions. According to Article XVIII, the state of Colorado will allow medical
marijuana treatment to anyone that suffers from these following conditions: cachexia;
severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, including those that are characteristic of epilepsy; or
persistent muscle spasms, including those that are characteristic of multiple sclerosis; or
(III) Any other medical condition, or treatment for such condition, approved by the state
health agency. On the contrary, some may disagree with the health benefits medical
marijuana has to offer. This is what separates advocates of smoking weed from the rest of
society. I, as an outcast from this group, wanted to see articles directly written from a
doctor that provided proof of these positive and negative health benefits marijuana
apparently offers. In 2009, researchers at Complutense University in Spain, found that,
THC an active component of marijuana has anti-cancer effects on human brain cancer
cells. They found that THC provoked the death of cancer cells within the brain. This
process is known as autophagy(Anti cancer effects in active component marijuana).
The researches reached this conclusion through first, carrying out tests amongst rat brains
with brain cancer, to then testing it on humans that suffer from the same brain cancer.
Upon analysis, both the mice and human brains showed similar signs of autophagy.

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Furthermore, Dr. Peter McCormick, from UEA's School of Pharmacy said, THC, the
major active component of marijuana, has anti-cancer properties. This compound is
known to act through a specific family of cell receptors called cannabinoid receptors.
This reliable source provides medical assurance that medical marijuana does serve a
purpose. The more I learned about the positive aspects of medical marijuana the more I
realized the reasoning behind the strong beliefs these advocates obtain. This group of
people is so passionate in marijuana because they strongly believe in the positive aspects
this drug has to offer.
Learning about the positive effects marijuana has on the body sparked my interest
in the negative effects marijuana can cause. I noticed in the interviews I conducted, there
was little mentioning of the negative aspects marijuana has on the body. When I asked, if
they think marijuana is harmful to the body? the only response I got was, if you are
smoking every hour of every day I feel that, overall, it will just make you be slower, I
mean too much of anything is not good (Fleming). This vague response motivated me to
find reliable research on the negative side effects. According to the National Institute on
drug effects, early use of this drug can affect brain development. Specifically, it impacts
areas of the brain that are responsible for learning and memory. This information did not
shock me because of observations I have made from this group in the past. I have
personally noticed overtime the decrease in memory smoking marijuana causes to young
teens. Knowing both of these side effects are true, I have a hard time understanding why
this drug is so popular in teens especially because this is the group that can most severely
suffer from these long-term effects. Marijuana not only has negative side effects on the
body but it also can negatively influence someone into the drug world, also known as a

STONER? I PREFER THE TERN CANNABIS ENTHUSIAST


gateway drug. I knew marijuana was known to be a gateway drug and so that is why I
made sure to address it in my interview. Surprisingly enough one of the interviewers
opinions on becoming a gateway drug matches one of NIDA(National Institute on Drug
Abuse) theories. The article, What is marijuana? states that someone who uses
marijuana is more prone to coming in contact with a drug dealer. This interaction opens
the opportunity to experimenting with other drugs. I thought it was interesting that both
areas I sought out information from stressed the same concept that marijuana can expose
people to other drugs, specifically young teens. However, the interviewee believed that
this interaction between a drug dealer only occurs because marijuana is illegal.
Suggesting that if marijuana became legalized then this product would be bought through
government approved shops. Its important to notice this group wasnt only talking about
the positive effects marijuana has but also the negative effects that can occur. Both
interviewers willingly explained different ways this drug can become unsafe resulting in
a gateway drug. Even though they mentioned the danger marijuana can cause due to the
illegalization, they also mentioned how it can be resolved through legalization This
opinion is what sticks out to separate this group from the rest of societys opinions.
Advocates of marijuana see both the positive, and negative effects of this drug, but what
differs them from others in society is their ability to foresee these negative effects
decreasing, following the legalization of the drug.
Activates of smoking marijuana not only want to legalize weed worldwide
because of the health benefits it obtains but also because of the economical growth it can
cause. In order to learn about this economical growth, I researched into the state that
legalized marijuana, Colorado. As expected I found that well regulated, taxed medical

STONER? I PREFER THE TERN CANNABIS ENTHUSIAST


marijuana can boost the economies growth in numerous aspects (Halycon Organics).
Since the legalization in 2000, the demand for marijuana exceeds the earlier estimates.
The marijuana policy group, Colorados department of revenue states that, Our point
estimate of demand is 121.4 tons per year for adult residents. This is 31 percent higher
than a recent Department of Revenue assessment, 89 percent higher than a study by the
Colorado Futures Center, and 111 percent higher than an older study by the Colorado
Center for Law and Policy. It is important to notice that the majority increase in demand
of marijuana is the outcome of residential users, not medical users. Most importantly, this
rise in demand guides the path to economical growth. The department of revenue also
found that the ratio from medical to retail consumption is very low. This means the retail
supply of marijuana is increasing while the medical supply of marijuana remains steady.
This led the department of revenue to believe, that this increase in retail is triggered by
several-out-of state visitors. These statistics imply that Colorado makes more money
from recreational marijuana then medical marijuana. Advocates of marijuana see these
effects on the economy, which is why they are not only supporters of legalized medical
marijuana but also supporters of legalized recreational marijuana worldwide. With this
increase in supply of marijuana, job opportunities arise. These jobs can vary from
employees at the dispensaries, to labs testing the safety of the product, and even to
horticulturists maintaining the plants. This would also immensely increase the need of
paraphernalia (Dale Gieringer). In addition, this legalization would authorize and support
the agriculture of hemp. Dale Gieringer, coordinator of California NORML (National
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and co-founder of the California Drug
Policy Reform Coalition, stated that hemp is a versatile source of fiber, protein, biomass

STONER? I PREFER THE TERN CANNABIS ENTHUSIAST


and oil, which was once one of Americas top crops. Meaning hemp will be in high
demand, resulting in an increased income for the state. After learning the reasoning
behind these groups beliefs I understood that being an advocate of marijuana, for the
majority of people in this group, involves much more reasoning and passion then I ever
imagined. Marijuana has the potential to vastly improve the economic growth of not only
the few already legalized states, but of the entire United States. Profit from marijuana
usage has the ability to increase the economy for not only advocates of marijuana, but for
people overall. This is why advocates of this drug stand out from others in society
because they see the positive outcomes it could bring to the United States as a whole and
the potential it holds. This groups desire to legalize marijuana is not to abuse the drug but
rather to gain acceptance of its positive affects on our world.
During this process of researching this groups beliefs, I was stumped on the idea
of who necessarily believes in these positive aspects of marijuana and who just uses
marijuana to get high? The media portrays smoking marijuana as something to abuse.
For instances, in music videos, songs, TV shows, marijuana is used only to get high. I
wasnt sure on how to exactly figure this out other then directly asking someone who
smokes weed opinion. This is why the interviews I conducted were very useful. From
what I found, the majority of people who smoke marijuana believe in the positive effects
marijuana has on health benefits and the economy. However, there are also some people
who dont pay attention to these positive effects. As mentioned before not everyone in
this group sticks to a certain belief, it is open to their individual beliefs. To further the
idea that people can belong to this group through different ways connects to what Marci
Kleeman said in her interview. Marci talked about how different people in her

STONER? I PREFER THE TERN CANNABIS ENTHUSIAST


horticulture class of all ages came to Colorado, specifically to study marijuana, in hopes
of opening a business using this product. Its important to notice some of these people in
Marcis class smoke marijuana and others did not. This proves from the information I
was able to reach out to, that there are more people that advocate smoking weed because
of its strong positive effects on the world versus people that use it just to get high. Both
of these different beliefs exist in society. I however, specifically took interest in the
people that advocated smoking marijuana for the positive aspects versus the people that
use it to just get high. Just like collective groups of any other subject, users of marijuana
reason for smoking differentiates. Though it is apparent that some smokers do it just for
the high, my research strongly supports the common theme among users that they
smoke it for the various positive affects that advocates see in the drug.
Advocates of smoking marijuana go by their individual beliefs. The one thing
these participants share in common is the belief of the positive effects this drug has on
our world today. The stereotypes assigned to this group overtime are inaccurate for the
majority of these advocates. This certain group of people want to better our society
worldwide. In their eyes, in order to accomplish this, the legalization of marijuana will
need to take place. The idea that all people who smoke weed participate solely because of
these positive effects it has on society is unrealistic. However, based off my research the
majority of the people in this group strongly believe the legalization will positively
benefit society because of its health and economic benefits.

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