Ever since marijuana became popular, it has been a highly controversial topic among everyone. It has become an even more controversial topic with the recent legalization in a handful of US states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Washington, D.C. Although it is legal in 9 states, most people still believe it is a crime or a wrong-doing. The main reason why this is such a debatable subject is because of the bias and stereotypical marijuana advertising. These ads trigger people to make hasty generalizations about marijuana as soon as they see one bias advertisement. Some people are so stuck in their ways that they don't seek the truth and facts behind the substance.
Almost every marijuana ad is completely one-sided, whether it's fighting for or against it. For example:
This advertisement was sponsored by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. With that being said, I bet you're probably wondering why it's calling marijuana the "WEED FROM THE DEVIL'S GARDEN." That's because it's trying to discredit the marijuana "nay-sayers." This is a perfect use of bars sarcasm and reverse psychology to develop a ploy to persuade the general public to no longer view marijuana in a negative light. While being sarcastic, this advertisement is also stereotypical because it makes it seem like everyone against marijuana believes that it is "WEED FROM THE DEVIL'S GARDEN." Even though this advertisement is very effective, it is also problematic. With the use of rhetorical slanters and advertising techniques, this ad makes it seem like everyone against marijuana thinks it's a spawn of the devil. Even if you're against marijuana you still wouldn't want to associate it with the devil. Nonetheless, this ad does its job to convey and persuade the general public to see through this radical statement and to view marijuana in a better light. But what about the statement? Where are the facts? Where's the proof? They make an illogical claim about marijuana without any reasoning behind it. Although there is no backing, most people will vouch for this statement. The general public would say something like, "Well, even though there aren't any facts, there has to be some reason why this organization would make such a harsh claim." This is what runs through everybody's mind, and that is exactly why ads like these are made, to play on our sympathy.
Next, we're going to talk about an anti-marijuana ad:
Unlike the first one, this ad is against marijuana; it was made by the National Drugs Campaign. At first glance, we notice a person sitting on the couch while holding something in his hand, it's a joint. So, it's obvious he smokes marijuana. Then, we take a look at the expression on his face. After taking a good look, one can conclude that he is lost and maybe, you could even vouch he's depressed. Any way you look at it, no one wants to have this look on their face. Now, lets move on to the text. In big white letters, it reads, "SMOKING MARIJUANA WASTES RELATIONSHIPS." And under it to the right, it goes into depth by stating, "Using marijuana wastes relationships, time, money, and jobs." Then it goes on to say that major and long term psychological problems are a possibility. Similar to the first ad, it states harsh and stereotypical claims without any evidence. There is no proof that these claims are true. If you were ask someone who smokes marijuana if he or she thinks their habit is a waste, they would probably say no. Most people who smoke truly enjoy it, being high is their happy place, their escape from reality. This ad stereotypes that after smoking marijuana you feel like the person in the picture. Also, it says that partaking in this activity does nothing but waste relationships, time, money, and jobs. This is false because many people don't regret spending money and time on marijuana. Just like the first ad, this one is problematic due to lack of proof and a bias standpoint regarding the media.
In conclusion, marijuana advertising uses bias, radical, and stereotypical statements in order to trigger the general public to make hasty generalizations about marijuana. We as a race need to wake up and realize that these ads are manipulating our minds. They just want us to view this debatable subject just like they do and they will do anything persuade us to their viewpoint. This tactic is wrong because there is no proof, there are only bias statements.
1. Campaign, National Drugs. "Marijuana wastes relationship." Google Search. Australian Government, n.d. Web. 05 May 2017.
2. National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "Marijuana weed from the devil's garden." Google Search. Pinterest, n.d. Web. 05 May 2017