Marijuana: Media Loves Bad News, Good News Not So Much

he Cannabis Industry’s problems seem to grab more headlines. Stories of bad actors engaging in environmental destruction have become prominent. Businesses competing for limited numbers of stick-fig-pot-300licenses in certain geographic areas creates controversy and resentment. Illicit indoor cultivation in a residential neighborhood resulting in law enforcement responses always makes the evening news.

Successes for the Cannabis Industry like Job Creation, Taxes Paid, Neighborhood Development, Patient Assistance, Regional Brand Advancement — these rarely seem to become news events. Farmers using best practices aren’t highlighted, and best practice farmers generally aren’t law enforcement targets, so they don’t appear in negative coverage anyways. Delivery services are not publicly lauded for switching their fleet of cars over to Plug-In-Hybrids. The lack of law enforcement problems at well-run dispensaries isn’t a news item.

Further, it is easy for what might be deemed a “success” to be deemed as a “problem” to the media and the public at large. Since Colorado legalized, a small number (3 by this author’s count) of persons died while under the influence of cannabis products. Matters of other drug use or pre-existing mental health issues were not a consideration in the nationwide media coverage.

Headlines did not read, “1400 die per year of alcohol in Colorado, 3 from Cannabis, maybe.”

The Cannabis Industry, and by extension the entire Cannabis Movement, has significant public relations challenges. The process of resolving these problems won’t be easy. It will take time, money, skill, and a very good plan.
Teaching the Public About Cannabis

A major component of this plan will need to be educating the public about cannabis, and teaching that cannabis is normal for adults, but not for children (excepting outlier medical cases). Additionally, as a newly emerging Industry, we have the opportunity to proactively prevent new problems from occurring. By promoting social norms that reduce social harm we can bring about social change. Mutual cooperation between the Cannabis Industry and the Cannabis Cause could provide significant solutions.

Source: The Ganjier