Cannabis in the Movies: How Accurate Are Portrayals
Cannabis consumption has been on the rise in recent years, and there are a number of reasons why the plant has become so popular. For one thing, cannabis can be consumed in a variety of ways, from smoking and vaporizing to eating and drinking. This means that there is a consumption method to suit every individual’s preference.
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Finally, the legalization of cannabis in many parts of the world has made it more accessible than ever before. All of these factors have contributed to the plant’s popularity and ensured that it is here to stay. Cannabis is slowly becoming a part of every industry, and movies are not an exception.
However, what we see about users of Cannabis in movies are, most of the time, excessively unrealistic. Except for a few that are logical. Although a few movies had positively exhibited those who take cannabis. Most movies characterized roles involving marijuana, with comics or an entirely bad individual. Are marijuana takers truly weirdos or dummies?
Most portrayals of Cannabis in movies are wrongly done. For instance, in Reefer Madness, users of cannabis were seen as murderers, or clowns to be laughed at. However, movies like Inherent Vice, reveal marijuana users can also have normal lives. And also make money, same as Blade Runner.
Read along, as we explore Hollywood movies, that correctly portray cannabis and those that got it wrong.
The history of cannabis in the movies
Cannabis started appearing in Hollywood movies as early as 1936. Reefer Madness (1936) portrayed cannabis badly. High school students were lured into taking cannabis in the movie. This resulted in various crimes amidst other side effects like a hallucination.
Furthermore, cannabis was seen in popular movies like Pulp Fiction, Dazed & Confused, and Half-Baked over time. Pulp Fiction was a crime movie, the other two were comedies.
In the movies mentioned above, we can deduce that most filmmakers feature cannabis, in scenes or movies, relating to crimes and comedy (mostly comedies).
Conversely, some movies have helped viewers see the medicinal usage of cannabis, and that cannabis users live normally. Most of the movies did not make it to the limelight like Inherent Vice and Blade Runner. Regardless of how it is being portrayed, cannabis is bound to be seen more in Hollywood movies.
How accurate are portrayals of cannabis and its effects on the movie characters?
Starting from Ralph Wiley in Reefer Madness, through Wyatt & Billy in Easy Rider, and Slater in Dazed & Confused, cannabis was given a negative impression by Hollywood. The characters were either sidekicks or dummies. Before they started accepting the truth of its medical and recreational use.
Ralph Wiley was depicted as a menace in Reefer Madness. He corrupted many youths in his society, leading to many social vices, before totally going crazy. Following this, the cannabis user in Easy Rider was illustrated as an anti-hero.
Also, in Up in Smoke, Hollywood created a new conception that there are credible cannabis users. Although they might be struggling with life.
However, there was finally a positive depiction of the drug users in Pineapple Express where Dale was employed. He was working in an office even though his life was not in total order.
Finally, in High Maintenance (2016), cannabis users were portrayed realistically. Most of the characters were cannabis users. They tried to make a living and live normally, in New York City.
Generally, Hollywood’s portrayal of Cannabis users in their movies has been inaccurate. According to research by Milner & Co. Studio, 800 cannabis users were surveyed. 75% voted that Hollywood portrayals are wrong. Also, the research shows that 77% of them were professionals. The same percentage earns above $75,000 per annum.
Movies based on true life stories and documentaries can help portray cannabis users accurately in Hollywood movies. Also, movies that misrepresent cannabis users will project a damaging image about them. This might lead to discrimination and racial profiling.
Are there any benefits to cannabis being shown in movies
Although movies in the past have given a false impression about cannabis. This can, however, be corrected by producing more movies that depict cannabis users accurately.
Also, cannabis in our movies can be used to educate the younger ones on the usefulness, and dangers of cannabis usage.
However, if wrongly portrayed in our movies, it can lead to the abuse and other side effects of Cannabis. It can also spread misconceptions about cannabis.
Portraying Cannabis, the right way is very important in the movie industry. This could help in educating society about its usefulness. Also, it will create awareness concerning the dangers attached to the illegal usage of Cannabis. Filmmakers should base their movies on true life stories, to eliminate the stereotypes concerning Cannabis users.