In the world of marketing, it’s not uncommon for teams to use customer profiles or personas to target sales demographics. They assign a name, gender, and backstory of interests, beliefs, and way of life to those they would like to reach. This gives businesses an idea of how to speak to their prospective customers and how to relate to them.
For the longest time, the government and the entertainment industry have been the ones telling the public what cannabis consumers look like, what they do and don’t do. The government has been crystal clear, painting “greenophiles” as outlaws, criminals, lazy, unambitious, very dangerous and demonic corrupters of innocent young people. Hollywood has gotten into the act by painting “users” as drug-crazed psychopaths in now-famous cult films from the 1930s such as Marihuana, Assassin of Youth, and Reefer Madness; and as bumbling, irreverent fools in countless movies of the so-called “stoner” genre spawned in the 1970s.
Enough of letting them paint the portrait. Here are 10 new cannabis “stereotypes” for the modern age, based on real people. As authors often combine attributes of several people to make up a character, the names and any similarities to actual persons, living or not, are coincidental.
Saul the Scholar just graduated from college and is working on his doctorate. He doesn’t party much, not in the way the frat guys do. He doesn’t like alcohol because of how it makes him feel—especially the next day. When he gets together with friends, they play video and role-playing games, or they construct things. Saul likes to smoke a little herb at the end of the day to help him relax or get a little creative.
Sami the Student, like Saul, attends university; she’s an undergrad. Sami played sports in high school but isn’t a college athlete. She plays some club sports and likes to join in pickup games, but her new love is crossfit and obstacle courses. Sami doesn’t like to drink much alcohol, preferring to stay in control of her actions and behavior. Also, it’s hard to run that 5K with a wicked hangover. She drinks socially but prefers to take a toke before going out to dance or work out.
Mike the Millennial is a little older. All his life, Mike’s parents smoked cannabis. When he came of age, they had a fair and balanced conversation. Mike knows not to mix cannabis and machinery, just as he knows not to mix alcohol and machinery. He has a professional job in the tech industry, so he doesn’t talk about herb at work. But, to Mike, it’s no big deal. He sees it on a par with having a beer at the end of the day and likes both about equally.
Polly the Pinterest Mom is a stay-at-home mother who, along with her husband, is raising three very active children. From sports to arts and crafts, Polly and her kids are involved. Polly had never tried cannabis for fun; but, after she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, one of her friends suggested she give the well-known remedy a try. Polly doesn’t like to smoke anything, preferring to ingest her medicine. She finds cannabis edibles to be ideal for her. She cooks with infused butter and oil and shares with her husband when he complains of back pain. Polly and her mate prefer cannabis with low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as they aren’t seeking the high it produces.
Eddie the Entrepreneur was the classic attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) child of the 1990s. He has always been an easily distracted fellow whose mind seems to work in mysterious ways. Eddie can solve problems and overcome obstacles with very creative solutions, but he sometimes finds it hard to shut that magical mind down. Insomnia and focus are his two biggest challenges, and he’s found that a sativa edible in the morning can help him concentrate and boost his mood. At night he likes to smoke a little indica before bed for a restful night’s sleep. He doesn’t need both every day but likes to know they are there just in case.
Roxanne the Racer was never much into sports or athletics in her youth. However, a friend turned her on to long-distance running, and now Roxanne loves half-marathons and marathons. She finds the exercise therapeutic and empowering, but the toll on her body has been adding up. She read about a female Ironman triathlete who consumes edible cannabis during training and has incorporated it into her routine. Her body feels better, especially her joints, and her recovery time after long races has been greatly reduced. What she puts into her body is of utmost concern to her, so she likes to make her own granola with cannabis-infused coconut oil.
Thomas the Techie is a U.S. Army veteran diagnosed with PTSI. He is a network engineer in charge of security for a hospital system and, despite his struggles, is flourishing in his new career. He attributes much of his progress to medical cannabis. Severe anxiety and insomnia were his biggest challenges while finishing his degree after his military service. A doctor’s recommendation of cannabis and working with a caring support group have helped him integrate well into civilian life. Thomas never tried any recreational drugs beyond beer as a teen and is actually surprised to find himself smoking cannabis, though he is very grateful for the relief and normalcy it brings to his life.
Carl the Craftsman is a furniture designer, father of two, husband, and baseball coach. Carl has always been a creative sort and has enjoyed cannabis to relax. He played baseball in high school and might have played in college, were it not for a knee injury. His son and daughter both play Little League and he is happy to coach the team each year. He likes to smoke a bowl and work in his woodshop, where he’s perfecting his dovetail joinery and learning how to inlay.
Betty the Boomer grew up in the 1950s in a middle-class suburban neighborhood. Bobby socks and poodle skirts were her style; and, back then, good girls didn’t smoke or drink. She married while in college and was the quintessential dutiful wife and mother for decades, very active in the PTA and church, and could always be counted on to participate in a bake sale, fundraiser, or community event. The idea of trying cannabis never even crossed her mind as a young adult in the 1960s. But later, after she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a neighbor recommended she give it a go. It worked for her, and she went to a dispensary to get her infused gummies until she learned how to make them at home with a MagicalButter machine. They help her get through the days and have greatly reduced her dependency on NSAIDs and other pain relievers with intense side effects. She loves her new special candies but is still a bit embarrassed about taking cannabis, due to the stigma reinforced during her youth.
Bob the Boomer grew up during the same time as Betty but his experience was quite different. Bob was a hippie and loved everything that went along with it: the culture, the music, and the weed. He lives in a small, quaint cottage filled with art that he has collected from his travels and from his artist friends. Bob gave up alcohol in the 1980s but has smoked cannabis his entire life. He is a believer in the healing properties of the herb, having seen how it helped his friends who contracted HIV/AIDS in the ’80s and ’90s, war vets battling PTSI, and his own joint pain from arthritis. Bob is active in his local community and wants to help work toward legalization—not only for himself, but because he believes cannabis is a superior alternative to the pharmaceuticals and booze that so many of his generation struggle with.
These are just a few “snapshots” of your neighbors, your friends and acquaintances. There’s a good chance they go to your church, school, or clubs, or work alongside you. The unfortunate thing is that until it’s legal, most of these folks will never tell you of their need or preference for cannabis.
Except Bob the Boomer. Bob isn’t shy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amber Boone considers writing the cornerstone of communication. She interviews MMA (mixed martial arts) athletes for CombatPress.com and opines on MMA at FightItOut.com. She’s passionate about helping folks tell their stories and making the world a better place, which includes working to win the freedom of Americans to partake of the herb. When not writing or playing beach volleyball, she can be found at her day job—for now. Follow Amber on Twitter @thruthetrees11.