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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lacing Television with Marijuana

It is no secret that citizens in a number of states are beginning to have more relaxed views about marijuana. Between medical marijuana and legal recreational use in a number of states (with more states soon to follow), it is becoming more and more clear that marijuana use is here to stay. Despite changing views, even advocates of relaxed laws would agree that the drug should be kept away from adolescents and small children. Keeping the drug out of the hands of kids is extremely important; it is also imperative that an accurate picture is painted by the media regarding the drug and the effects that drugs can have on people.

The marijuana industry has become a booming business, one expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. It is only natural that television would want to get a piece of the pie, piggybacking on the drug's ever growing popularity. There are an ever-growing number of television shows which are depicting the use of marijuana, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Some of the current, more popular television shows which have incorporated pot use or aspects of the marijuana industry include:
  • Modern Family (ABC)
  • Bones (Fox)
  • Justified (FX)
  • Broad City (Comedy Central)
There are a number of other sitcoms and reality television shows geared around marijuana in the works for the near future, according to the article. Which begs the questions, is portraying recreational marijuana use going to unintentionally glamorize the drug? Does drug use on screen drive increased drug use among the shows audiences?

Steve Pasierb, president and chief executive of the non-profit Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, argues that being exposed to many characters smoking marijuana throughout their daily routine can have an increasing impact on the viewers - especially young ones.

"Right now, marijuana’s hot. One of the biggest dangers of this is the normalizing force, that message that causes kids to overestimate how many people are [smoking pot] and to think they’re the only ones who aren’t. This is not a nanny state thing—‘the more we show this stuff the more kids are going to turn into reefer heads’—we’re just talking about the natural progression of how young people process the media,” Mr. Pasierb says.

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