My thoughts here were prompted by an article written by the Associated Press that appeared in The Times on March 27, 2019. I would like to see an end to the clever headlines that lead nearly every story about marijuana.
Cute and eye-catching references to pot, weed, reefer, bongs and joints are increasingly inappropriate at a time when people with real diseases find relief in marijuana or one of its active chemical derivatives. Just as it would be inappropriate and crass to talk about diabetics “shooting up” with insulin or someone “popping pills” to deal with heart disease, it is long past time to stop talking about people “smoking pot” to alleviate symptoms of seizures or the pain of a chronic disease.
I realize that there is a juvenile tendency to snicker like middle-schoolers when marijuana is mentioned. It’s easy for headline editors to throw in the “pot” reference to attract a few more readers.
It’s almost impossible for a TV story to run without some hippie-type sucking on a joint that would make Cheech and Chong proud even though the story is about some poor kid who found relief from debilitating seizures in marijuana or a derivative.
Further, as we have seen in several states, even when marijuana is legalized for recreational use, it is certainly not only the stereotypical long-haired hippie that frequents the dispensary. People of all sorts find enjoyment in marijuana and its edible offshoots. Just as it would be misleading to characterize people who consume alcohol by showing images of scruffy Skid Row drunks, it is equally outrageous to continually focus on Woodstock veterans when discussing marijuana.
It’s time for writers and editors to grow up and recognize that marijuana stock is traded on the NASDAQ, that responsible people run real companies that grow and market it and that the medical community is increasingly prescribing it for real diseases.
It is time to stop trivializing marijuana with street names that belong in the past, not the future. It can be referred to simply as marijuana, cannabis or by the chemical name of the derivative, leaving the questionably humorous references about pot and weed to the middle school kids, where they belong. Writers and editors should start acting like grown-ups.