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  • Writer's pictureElucidation Strategies

We Are Products of Messaging

For folks in the cannabis industry, the topic of bias essentially comes up every day.

So, exactly what is bias? According to the Cambridge Dictionary:


noun /ˈbaɪ.əs/ 

the action of supporting or opposing a particular person or thing in an unfair way, because of allowing personal opinions to influence your judgment

Why is bias awareness so important in cannabis?  Why is it particularly affecting when it comes to this ancient plant?  It’s because of how the opinions about cannabis, the ones that influence judgment, were formed across wide segments of the population over the last century or so. In many instances the information that influenced those opinions - which went on to affect judgment - was based on inaccurate information and “facts” that lacked relevant and reliable data and/or support. Actually, we can find verifiable evidence that in many, many instances, misinformation about the aftermath of getting high and untrue conclusions about morally corrupt consumers were purposefully fabricated to further specific agendas of oppression and control.  The science (which is limited because of problematic bias) does not support assertions of cannabis as a pathway to addiction, crime, or depravity, even if those beliefs are held by many.  

It all boils down to the influence of messaging. That’s complicated because messaging comes from a variety of sources.  

  • What did your 4th grade teacher say when she described the “Just Say No Club” to you?  What thoughts came next? What conclusions were reached? 

  • What were your takeaways when you watched the characters smoking pot in the 1969 landmark counterculture film Easy Rider or the 1982 cult classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High? What thoughts came next? What conclusions were reached? 

  • What did your pastor say about gateway drugs in your bible study class?  What thoughts came next? What conclusions were reached? 

  • What headlines did you read about marijuana busts? Who did the headlines identify as the culprits? What thoughts came next? What conclusions were reached?  

  • What did your great aunt say about people who smoke dope at Thanksgiving dinner when you were in high school? What thoughts came next? What conclusions were reached? 

  • When you asked your doctor about medical marijuana and he declined to discuss it, what language choices did he make?  What thoughts came next? What conclusions were reached? 

The list could go on and on.

Attitudes towards cannabis in your home growing up, what you’ve heard in the news throughout your life, what your congregation says about the “type” of person who uses cannabis - it all accumulates. Over years, over decades, the messaging seeps in, influencing beliefs and values, which determine individual perspective and opinions.  That then feeds into the aggregate, shaping public opinion, the sum of all those individual views.  And public opinion goes on to shape wide narratives and public policy which then influences individuals views…creating a bias cycle.  

That’s why addressing bias is constant in cannabis - because until it’s disrupted enough, the misinformation loop just continues on. That’s why access to reliable and verifiable data and evidence and accurate education is crucial.  

At Elucidation Strategies, we believe that an informed decision is the best kind, but we are steadfast in our position that those informed decisions be based on fairness and truths.  

Contact Elucidation Strategies for more information about cannabis educational services.


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