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Will Godfrey Will Godfrey

Photos: What People Who Use Marijuana Actually Look Like


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Marijuana’s media profile has never been higher, thanks to recent policy changes and debate. Pity, then, the poor photo editors tasked with illustrating the resulting plethora of pot articles. All too often, the tired old default option for news outlets has been stoner stereotypes, wearing tie dye and brandishing preposterously proportioned blunts—a portrayal which, however colorful, is nothing if not skewed, given that half of all US adults have used marijuana.

Enter the Drug Policy Alliance: They’ve created a free library of stock photos in order to encourage more realistic depictions of people who use pot. The subjects are all medical marijuana patients in California. Sharda Sekaran writes on the DPA website:

Why do stereotypical images persist even though today’s marijuana consumer might look more like your Aunt Bettie or your accountant than The Dude—and now that vaporizers, edibles and topical creams have rendered the ubiquitous “joint” somewhat obsolete? One reason may be lack of existing images that show regular people using marijuana in an everyday context. After all, marijuana is still illegal in many places, and consumers may be reluctant to have their images plastered everywhere.

Given this helping hand, will the media now start changing the tone of the photos that accompany marijuana articles? Take a look at these examples from the DPA’s collection and see what you think:

"Younger African American woman inhaling vaporized cannabis in a dispensary" Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance

“Younger African American woman inhaling vaporized cannabis in a dispensary” Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Younger white female smoking a cannabis cigarette in her home"  Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance

“Younger white female smoking a cannabis cigarette in her home” Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Older white male smokes cannabis through a water pipe in his home"  Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance

“Older white male smokes cannabis through a water pipe in his home” Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance