Shedding the Stoner Stereotype

Outdated Preconceptions About Cannabis Users 

The common stereotype of cannabis consumers being young, lazy, unmotivated individuals on the fringes of society has perpetuated itself for decades—from the tie-dyed dead heads of the 1960s to today’s video game dropouts living in their parents’ basements. Stereotypes about cannabis users persist, but many of these preconceptions were untrue from the start and poorly portray today’s diverse group of cannabis consumers. It’s time to retire these “stoner” stereotypes.  


The Stereotypical Stoner 


The word “stoner” isn’t simply slang from cannabis culture you’ll only find in back issues of High Times—the idea is mainstream. It even appears in the dictionary. Per the Britannica Dictionary:  


  • Definition: a person who uses drugs frequently : a person who is often stoned on drugs (such as marijuana) 

  • Example: The movie’s a comedy about a couple of stoners. 


In fact, it’s in movies that many stereotypes of cannabis users have been created and preserved. For example, the weed-infused, counterculture-inspired adventures of Cheech and Chong in the 1970s gave way to the 1980s Fast Times at Ridgemont High’s stoned surfer Spicoli, who paved the way for 1990s The Big Lebowski’s unemployed, robe-wearing, weed-smoking protagonist “the Dude,” which comes full circle to the 2000s Cheech and Chong-influenced stoner buddy comedies like Pineapple Express and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.  


The Modern Cannabis Consumer 


The issue with prior portrayals of cannabis users is that to some extent or another is that they no longer hold true as cannabis is becoming increasingly ingrained in everyday culture. Recreational cannabis is now legal in 19 states and Washington, D.C. According to Gallup—the well-known research and polling organization—a record-high 68% of U.S. adults believe marijuana should be legal. In August 2022, for the first time in Gallup polling, more Americans said they smoked weed than had a cigarette.  


With more and more “regular” people consuming cannabis, it’s time to reevaluate how we think about cannabis users.  


Five “Stoner” Stereotypes That Have to Go 

1. They’re Lazy  


The belief that stoners are lazy do-nothings who just hang around all day is a far cry from the truth. Some of the world’s most successful and famous people have been known to consume cannabis from time to time. More so, you’ll find cannabis enthusiasts among the icons of seemingly every field. For example, business magnates like Bill Gates and Richard Branson, authors such as Hunter S. Thompson and Steven King, actors like Woody Harrelson and Morgan Freeman, musicians like Snoop Dogg and Rihanna, and scientists like Carl Sagan are all known cannabis users. Even former U.S. President Barack Obama admitted to smoking pot as a kid.  


2. They’re Stupid  


It’s not just that cannabis consumers are often portrayed as unmotivated layabouts, they’re also commonly depicted as uneducated, or worse, unintelligent. While many believe that the vocabulary of cannabis consumers is limited to one-symbol words that are the staple of skate and surf culture—like “bro,” “man,” and “dude”—they are often actually highly intelligent people who have reached the pinnacle of their field. The average cannabis user is likely college educated and just as likely to work as CEOs as they are working in a coffee shop or dispensary.  


3. They’re Confined to the Couch  


The slouched-over stoner parked on the couch doesn’t capture the reality that many cannabis consumers are active. Numerous people enjoy nothing more than combining cannabis with their favorite activities, such as going for a hike or taking a yoga class. In fact, some of the world’s best athletes consume cannabis. For example, Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, MMA legend Conor McGregor, NBA all-time scoring leader Kareem Abdul Jabar, and Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams are among the many notable athletes known to smoke weed.  


4. They Live on Junk Food 


Thanks to the ever-growing ranks of delicious edibles and the occasional bout of the munchies, it’s easy to think cannabis lovers live on pizza, fast food, and convenience store staples like chips, candy, and cookies. That said, the diet of most stoners is similar to that of everyone else. In fact, the fusion of high cuisine with cannabis is becoming increasingly common as more and more states legalize weed.  


5. They’re Criminals 


One of the ugliest stereotypes about cannabis users is that they’re all criminals. The trope dates back to the misinformation spread about cannabis in the 1930s through media such as the film Reefer Madness, which linked cannabis with everything from a hit-and-run accident to manslaughter to suicide to hallucinations and descent into madness. According to one study, the average cannabis consumer earns more than $50,000 a year in wages, on par with the median U.S. salary. The fact is, while the average cannabis consumer might steal the last Oreo, they’re probably not stealing your television.  


Stopping the Stigma of Cannabis  


You can’t pigeonhole today’s cannabis consumers—they encompass a broad spectrum of people from all genders, ages, backgrounds, and beliefs. Plant Dispensary is an advocate for ending the negative stereotypes associated with cannabis and is working to create a welcoming atmosphere for everyone in cannabis culture. Our dispensary is home to a range of products that are sure to appeal to all types of users. Not sure what you’re in the market for? You’ll get no judgment from us. What you will get is expert assistance from one of our experienced budtenders. 

Plant Dispensary

Plan Dispensary writes about cannabis cultures, recent events, promotions and industry developments.




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