Are you tired of seeing cannabis misrepresented on television? I know I am.
It seems like every time cannabis comes up in a TV show, all we see are lazy, stoner stereotypes. Sometimes, the cannabis becomes a plot point where the characters are arrested, lose a job, or mess up something important because of their marijuana consumption. If you believe this representation, you may think all cannabis consumers are lazy, incompetent, irresponsible or otherwise unable to live a happy and productive life.
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Of course, research on cannabis consumption suggests the exact opposite. Studies have shown cannabis consumers are, on average, better educated, happier and more financially successful than those who don’t use cannabis. But for some reason, this isn’t usually the message when marijuana is portrayed in our popular media.
If you’re a cannabis consumer, you may feel alienated or misunderstood when these misleading themes suddenly pop up in your favorite show. Even some shows aimed at cannabis consumers, like the failed Netflix show “Disjointed,” seem to play into these negative stereotypes.
That’s why I love seeing TV shows that casually embrace a more positive, accurate and normalizing view of cannabis. These shows aren’t focused on marijuana specifically, but they include likable and functional characters who consume cannabis in healthy and positive ways, without unrealistic, negative repercussions.
Here are four TV shows that are breaking the lazy, incompetent stoner stereotypes by featuring high-functioning, thoughtful characters—who also happen to consume marijuana.
RELATED: STUDIES BUST THE STEREOTYPE OF THE LAZY, OUT-OF-SHAPE STONER
1. “Grace and Frankie” Depicts Realistic Cannabis-Loving Characters
Perhaps the most notable show on this list is the Netflix Originals “Grace and Frankie.” The show focuses on an unlikely friendship between two women who are thrown together when their husbands come out as gay and leave them for each other.
Frankie, an artsy hippie, is a regular cannabis consumer and is shown enjoying the plant throughout the show. Her counterpart, Grace, is a bit more uptight and doesn’t regularly consume cannabis. But we do see her try it from time to time to relax when things get particularly stressful.
Other characters, such as Grace’s two adult daughters, nonchalantly have marijuana throughout the show, too. What’s great about “Grace and Frankie” is that cannabis consumption comes up fairly regularly and is portrayed in a very realistic way. The characters have cannabis responsibly, and we see how it relaxes them and helps them process the challenges that they face.
If you’re looking for an entertaining dramedy with realistic cannabis-loving characters, “Grace and Frankie” is the one to try.
2. “The Orville” Shows Us a Future Where Cannabis Is Accepted
If sci-fi is more your taste, another show to check out is “The Orville” on Fox. You may not expect to see cannabis in this futuristic sci-fi comedy, which parodies “Star Trek.”
But in the second episode of the series we learn that cannabis is still around in the future, and it seems to be totally legal and accepted. Kelly, the second in command, uses the replicator to produce a cannabis edible, and then reminisces with Ed, the starship captain, about times when they smoked marijuana in the past.
While cannabis doesn’t come up often in the series, this nod to the plant creates a vision of the future where cannabis is so accepted that the two highest-ranking officers on a military vessel can casually order some up at a moment’s notice. Even in an imaginary future, it’s nice to see powerful characters who enjoy a little marijuana and don’t suffer any negative repercussions because of it.
3. “Westside” Features a Hard-Working, Cannabis-Consuming Musician
“Westside” is another original Netflix creation that shows a positive side to cannabis. This reality series follows a group of musicians as they try to put on a showcase of their music.
The show portrays the struggles and challenges that go on behind the scenes for each musician, and we see several characters struggling with alcohol addiction. While we see many negative impacts throughout the show from characters drinking, cannabis plays a much more positive role.
The one character who’s shown consuming marijuana, Leo Gallo, says that it helps him get creative. Leo is one of the most responsible and hard-working characters on the show, and we never see cannabis cause him problems.
While other musicians are missing shows, getting into fights, and regularly getting blackout drunk, Leo is focused on the music. Cannabis only seems to help with this focus.
This reality show shines a light on how cannabis can play a healthy and functional role in a person’s life.
4. “The Magicians” Portrays Realistic Marijuana Consumption in an Enchanted World
If “The Orville” bringing cannabis to space intrigued you, you may be interested in another show that puts cannabis in an imaginary world. In the SyFy show “The Magicians,” the characters wield magical powers and travel to an enchanted world called Fillory, where they become kings and queens.
Throughout the series, we see the loveable and humorous character, Josh, consuming cannabis. Sometimes, he ingests the plant to cope with life’s stresses, such as when magic stops working. Other times, he uses it to celebrate, like after he becomes king or at wild parties with his friend, the god Bacchus.
Still, we never see any big negative repercussions coming from Josh’s cannabis consumption. Josh is just your average guy who likes to smoke marijuana. For an unrealistic fantasy show, it gives a pretty realistic view of cannabis.
Whether you’re into drama, comedy, reality, fantasy or sci-fi, there are so many great TV programs that are beginning to show cannabis in a positive light. Hopefully, in the future we’ll see even more efforts made to normalize cannabis.
In the meantime, watching these shows is one way to support the programs and artists who advocate for cannabis through these positive portrayals.
Photo credit: bbernard/Shutterstock.com
If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 index of articles. And if you have questions about cannabis, ask them and our community will answer.