Using environmental activism to destigmatize cannabis



Using environmental activism to destigmatize cannabis

3 min read

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear, “motorcycle owner?”

You might think of your friends, neighbors, or even yourself. Evel Knievel might even show up. People may own a bike because it’s economical, eco-friendly, zips through traffic, or they love the open road on a spring day.

But if you were asked that same question in 1961, a more specific, ruffian image might have come to mind. One replete with leather jackets, switchblades, and a general disregard for the law.

That all changed in 1962 when Honda launched their “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” ad campaign. The ads featured pictures of clean-cut people on Honda 50cc bikes. Moms with daughters, little old ladies, men in suits, even Santa Claus rode a Honda.

Flowertown environmental activism destigmatizes cannabis

What motorcycles had was an image problem. “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” changed that problem, and, subsequently, motorcycle sales jumped 500%.

Now, quick, what’s the first thing you think of when someone says, “cannabis user?”

For the more informed consumer it might be moms, daughters, little old ladies, and men in suits. But you’re well aware of the image that still captures the popular imagination.

People hear “cannabis” and they think of young, unemployed burnouts watching Seth Rogen movies while trying to decide if bacon would go well on a peanut butter sandwich (to be honest, the answer to that may surprise you).

It’s clear that cannabis consumers still have an image problem. Without someone putting up “you meet the nicest people at a dispensary” billboards, how can we clean up this stereotype?

Well… how about an actual clean up?

In July, Reddit user RedArms219 posted a picture to the popular cannabis user subreddit, r/trees. It was a picture of a bag of trash they had picked up at their local park captioned, “Cleaned up the smoke spot #StonerCleanUpInitiative.”

The post had 22,000 upvotes within 24 hours.

The hashtag consistently trends on Twitter and Instagram, where users have posted their own results after taking up the challenge to clean up their “smoke spots,” and, generally, leave their favorite places better than the way they found them.

The activism movement follows in the footsteps of the popular backpacking/camping motto, “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.” Or the push to pick up at least five pieces of trash before you leave the beach.

Half Full Studios even got in on the effort by running an Instagram contest offering a custom bubbler to random #StonerCleanUpInitiative participant.

You can now buy stickers, tee shirts, and hoodies with the Stoner Cleanup Initiative logo, sold alongside shirts with a picturesque mountain top emblemized with the words “Pick Up Your Shit.”

Flowertown environmental activism destigmatizes cannabis

Using activism to destigmatize cannabis

Environmental activism may not be closely associated with cannabis consumers yet, but movements like this could change that.

It’s not hard to imagine that, as the movement picks up steam, the image of “cannabis user” might change to someone who cares about the environment, is active in their community, and makes an effort to improve the world around them.

A little good PR can go a long way. Just ask Honda.

But if you want to fight the stereotypical stoner image even more so, consider using foundational facts as a way to educate your peers on the wonder of this natural plant.

Taking the time to teach them the benefits of cannabis, or how it may actually be the next best thing for baby boomers can go along way to ensuring that everyone knows you meet the nicest people at a dispensary.