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Cannabis and Mass Media

Updated on April 4, 2018

The cannabis industry is becoming larger and larger ever day. As this legal industry grows so does its acceptance in the public eye. Going back 20 years, you would never imagine to see advertisements in your local paper for what sales a store is having on its marijuana. Or expect to see a Weedmaps billboard when driving down the road advertising an app that gives directions to all the Medical Dispensaries in the area.

Advertisement featured in the New York Times
Advertisement featured in the New York Times

The New York Times, one of the most major news sources in our country are now publishing advertisements for medicinal cannabis. It is almost hard to believe when you look back on how cannabis used to be portrayed in the media during the mid 20th century. If you saw anything at all they were demonizing, scary propaganda, used to scare the general public into thinking it was dangerous and harmful.

This is what cannabis "advertisements" looked like before the early 2000's. Anti marijuana propaganda flooded the media causing a mass hysteria over it. These images and media produced at the time is the reason why Medicinal Cannabis has such a negative stigma around it. All the claims about it being bad for your health and every other bad thing that they said it would make you do were completely false. We are in the age of science and medicine and through modern testing we now know the true benefits from Cannabis and that all those harmful side effects are a lie

Clip From Reefer Madness

Reefer Madness is a classic example of how Cannabis was portrayed in the media from the 1930's all the way up to the early 2000's. All advertisement and media about Cannabis was negative. This demonizing of the plant is what has given it such a bad name now.

Anti-Drug Commercial

Advertisements like this are on the more recent spectrum but still all negative regardless. Until the last few years you would never imagine to see a positive commercial or advertisement about Medicinal Cannabis but it is happening, and is almost weird to look at or see for the first time just because we are so conditioned that whenever we hear the word "Marijuana" come from the television there is rarely ever anything good following that.

Bilboard for Dispensary Locating App

Seeing billboards like this are now very normal too. The first time I saw one I was thrown off but it is starting to be a very normal thing now. Advertisements for Cannabis are starting to become a regular thing now. But not only regular but also positive, the advertisements are now about where you can go to get your legal marijuana instead of anti drug propaganda paid for by pharmaceutical companies.

Cannabis and Mass Media

Advertisements aren't the only ways that public views of marijuana are changing with the times. Mass media is starting to portray cannabis in T.V. and Movies more and more all the time. It is so common now that there are now multiple T.V. series and movies all about cannabis and sitcoms about working in a Medicinal Dispensary.

Cannabis show featured on Viceland.

Feature Film about Marijuana

Movies and television shows like these are coming out all the time now. If you went back 25 years you would never imagine seeing these things on television. It just shows that the more it is portrayed as normal the more its becoming accepted and something that people don't deem offensive to see on television anymore.

Alcohol and Advertisements.

I believe that Marijuana should be potrayed positively in media due to the way that alcohol is advertised. You can't watch television for more than 30 minutes without seeing one advertisement for alcohol. Usually they show pretty women and big parties and people having a great time. They show all of this, even though all of us know what alcohol really does to people. Im glad there is now positive advertisements for Marijuana because the level of harm it has compared to alcohol is almost funny.


Are views finally changing? If you look at a propaganda poster from the 1930's and compare it to a dispensary advertisement now, you can see how much progress has been made in normalizing and de-stigmatizing the use of marijuana, mostly shown in mass media. But it is still a very controversial topic to this day, views are changing but very slowly. I think that within the next 20 years you will see advertisements on television showcasing brand new strains of Marijuana.


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    • Michel Haaring profile image

      Michel Haaring 

      3 months ago from Nieuwe Tonge

      I cant wait to see the first commercials :)

      Thanks GrantHigginbotham for this nice article.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      8 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Seems to me that the voters don't buy the negative rap. I don't know anybody who picked up the practice because it is now legal. I have manageable cancer and don't smoke but if it changes, we will bring it on. It really is a cool substance.

      Just in yesterday to my understanding is that there is no uptick in traffic accident or arrest issues with users. And yet it just keeps going up with texting.


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