A day will come when people have to issue trigger warnings before anyone in the vicinity utters the word "stoner," should the marijuana industry succeed in striking it from the American lexicon.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune, a recent billboard campaign from the cannabis company MedMen has spent $2 million to remind the public that pot smokers come from all walks of life and have feelings, too. Are they "stoners"? "No," says the ad, which has the words crossed out, replaced by more dignified titles — cop, nurse, teacher, scientist, are just a few examples.
Daniel Yi, senior vice president of communications at MedMen, which operates 14 retail pot stores, said the word "stoner" carries negative connotations and is used to stereotype marijuana users.
"That word can be used to negatively stereotype people,” said Daniel Yi. "We want to take that stigma away. We want to make marijuana mainstream."
This "Forget Stoner" campaign debuted earlier this year and is "part of a larger, on-going push by the cannabis industry to normalize the use of marijuana," reports the Tribune. In fact, the campaign to clean up the language relating to pot began shortly after California legalized the drug, as multiple pot retailers began demanding that people stop referring to pot as pot, because even that was offensive.
"Marijuana still carries a stigma that surfaces with the use of old slang like pot and weed," the Anchorage Daily News reported back in January. "For many, the words evoke an image of lazy, not-so-bright people who puff their lives away."
The industry wishes people would start using the more scientifically-minded name "cannabis" instead.
"The image deeply bothers the marijuana industry, which is telling the public — sometimes gently, sometimes curtly — that they should use the word cannabis," ADN continued. "That's the scientific name for the plant from which marijuana is derived."
Chris Coogan, co-founder of Therapy Tonics & Provisions, a La Jolla cannabis drink company, says that more "sophisticated" references toward weed will kill the negativity.
"People are taking a more sophisticated approach to using cannabis, especially in using the right dosing," Coogan said. "We don't want people to think of it as negative."