Cannabis in the Movies: Which Films Got It Right (And Which Didn’t)?

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These days, it seems like cannabis is everywhere you look. Decriminalization and legalization initiatives have led to a newfound acceptance of the plant, and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down.

Thanks to this increased acceptance, people are becoming more curious about cannabis and its various uses. Many are surprised to learn there is more to the plant than just smoking it in a joint. For instance, cannabis can be used to make edibles, tinctures, and topicals. It can also be vaporized or dabbed.

One other prevalent cannabis consumption method is a bong. For those who are not familiar, bongs are an efficient way to smoke cannabis, and high quality bongs sold online and at stores offer a smoother, cooler hit than other methods like pipes or joints. The list goes on and on.

And as more people learn about the benefits of cannabis, its popularity is sure to continue to grow. Who knows? Cannabis may even become as mainstream as coffee someday. Cannabis legalization has spread throughout North America; since then, popular culture is starting to reflect this change.

For decades, cannabis has been portrayed on the big screen. However, in the past, the portrayal has always been negative and mostly fed off inaccurate stigmas. These days, the portrayal is more accurate, and in this blog post, we will look at some of the most famous cannabis-themed movies to see if they have accurately portrayed marijuana. Remember that not all of these movies have gotten the memo correctly. Even so, they’re still worth watching.

Cannabis and Its Portrayal in Movies

Cannabis has been around society for centuries, and Hollywood has portrayed this herb in movies for decades. In the early 1900s, movies would depict cannabis and cannabis use as something lethal and dangerous to one’s health, with many movies portraying cannabis as a drug with deadly side effects. Over the decades, cannabis started taking on a new form in movies with a sillier stigma portrayed. Many cannabis films are loved by many, with some of the most well-known being:

  • Up in Smoke: This Cheech & Chong film was released in 1978 and showed Cheech and Chong, two stoner best friends, as they go on their stoner adventures. This film portrays cannabis as something fun rather than something dangerous.
  • Dazed and confused: This 1993 film stars Matthew McConaughey and Jason London. Considered a box office flop, this movie is about a group of naughty teenagers who celebrate the last day of high school together by going to a keg party.
  • Friday: This 1995 film stars Chris Tucker and Ice Cube. This stoner comedy is about the adventures of two stoner best friends Craig and Smokey, who owe a local drug dealer some money.
  • Reefer madness: This is a 1936 film about high school students who are lured to try cannabis. The film deals with issues such as manslaughter, suicide, rape, manic episodes, and hit-and-run accidents, which is a highly negative portrayal of cannabis.
  • Assassin of youth: This 1938 film is considered anti-cannabis propaganda and is a World War II movie about the effects of cannabis.

Factors and Implications

There is a lot of hype around cannabis, and any movie that portrays cannabis is bound to get a lot of attention, whether good or bad. This is why many film writers and directors use cannabis as a plot device to drive the film forward. Many characters are also used as a plot device; these characters are typically stoners who embody a stoner’s typical characteristics and stigmas.

It would seem that stoner films have become a genre of their own, with many of these films becoming popular in the cannabis community. As attitudes around cannabis change in society, so is how the herb is represented in films. The way stoners are represented in movies also evolves as the stigma withers away.

Movies have a big role in pop culture and society in general. In most cases, movies affect public opinion. This is no different from how the portrayal of cannabis on the big screen affects the way the public views cannabis.

In the 1930s, when films spread a lot of fear-mongering about cannabis, the public became afraid of the drug and believed what was being portrayed on screen. This helped the people support the outlawing of cannabis. As time went on and the portrayal of cannabis changed, so did public opinion.

The Future of Cannabis in Cinema

Currently, cannabis is portrayed as something light, fun, and comical in films. In the future, films might lean towards the portrayal of cannabis as something healthy for you and focus on the drug’s medical benefits. Cannabis still has a stigma in the world, and films today still play on that stigma a lot, but as the stigma drops, so will the stigma portrayed in cannabis films.