It’s not often you see pictures of people of smoking weed and think to yourself “oh, that’s normal“, unless you’re a degenerate marijuana smoker yourself. Even when you do view a picture of someone consuming cannabis it’s always those quasi anti-drug stock photos. If you’re not sure what those types of photos look like I’m sure these will ring your bell:
But let’s say there was an advertisement for marijuana in a magazine such as you would see for Absolut Vodka, or Dos Equis. Do you think the very act of normalizing cannabis to that degree would be enough to shake people down to their knees, tear at the very fibers of all their deeply rooted beliefs?
What if I told you such a thing already exists?
And that all across the nation proponents of change are slowly attempting to normalize the usage of cannabis?
Agencies such as Drug Pollicy Alliance are at the forefront of this effort, having recently released a new collection of 64 photos depicting responsible Coloradoan adults smoking recreational pot. What’s even more telling are the ways people are smoking, from vaping to hitting ornate bowls.
Gone are the days of the image of a hooded teenager smoking tiny joints with their pimpled faced friends, or frazzled adults in robes shouting at game show contestants on their TV screen as they take bong rips on their pleather couches during work time hours. Mary is coming out dammit.
“We all know that many marijuana smokers look more like your Aunt Bettie or your accountant than The Dude from The Big Lebowski,” said the DPA’s managing director of communications, Sharda Sekaran, in a press release, “but most images in the public sphere still do not reflect this.”
The new photos are the latest in a collection of stock photography dedicated towards presenting a modern view of pot users. Last year, the DPA shot photos of average California residents using marijuana for medical purposes.
It’s a valiant effort, and telling for its use of a wide swath of individuals:
Do these look like the cannabis smokers you know, or is this another attempt to somewhat commercialize the marijuana industry by giving it a more, well, palatable face? The question begs asking. Then again, maybe this step towards normalization is the answer.
My name is Petey Wheatstraw, also known as Charles Stevens. I’m an avid marijuana smoker, writer, devoted father and non-profit minion– not necessarily in that order. A Chicago native I’ve lived off and on in the Bay Area since 1996. Seven years ago I finally settled here to capture the changing face of our communities.