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10 pop culture moments that destigmatized weed



In the United States, the stigma surrounding cannabis, known by various names including weed, Mary Jane, or marijuana, has undergone a complex journey from being classified as a Schedule I substance with a high potential for abuse and no medical value (a decision now under review) to becoming commonplace in modern culture.

Throughout much of the 20th century, marijuana remained highly stigmatized and classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, alongside drugs like heroin and LSD. However, toward the latter part of the last century and gaining intense momentum in the 21st century, collective attitudes toward marijuana began to shift.

Medical marijuana legalization gained traction, starting with California’s Proposition 215 in 1996. The passing of said prop marked a turning point: The ability to view cannabis as medicine versus a drug was a cornerstone argument for understanding and uplifting the mental and medical health benefits of the plant.

Over the past decade, significant legal developments have reshaped the landscape of marijuana policy in the United States. Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use in 2012, followed by similar legalization efforts across the country. Relaxed attitudes toward cannabis are also evident beyond the shores of the U.S., with marijuana now legal in a handful of countries such as Thailand, Mexico, Canada, and Uruguay, among others.

Parallel to these legal changes, pop culture has played a significant role in destigmatizing marijuana. Comedy, music, and movies have often shown cannabis use in a combination of both humorous and positive light, challenging age-old stereotypes and contributing to its acceptance in mainstream culture. These moments have assisted in the normalization of this all-natural medicine that some once viewed as the “devil’s lettuce.”

With that in mind, Stacker looked at some of the pivotal people and moments in pop culture that have contributed to the cannabis conversation. Scroll through and see if any of your favorites made the list.

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