Why the word “Stoner” or “Pothead” is NOT Offensive!
There was a time when wearing the label “stoner” or “pothead” was considered an honor. This was when prohibition was in its prime. The Drug War was still in its infancy and government propaganda was at an all time high.
During these times, being a pothead was similar to being “counter-culture”. Sure, those words were hijacked by the government to create a negative stereotype of the cannabis consumer, and yes, it doesn’t reflect on the general population of “tokesters” out there…but those labels meant that you didn’t buy into the political drivel being shoved down your throats.
As the cannabis industry continued to mature, new players stepped in. These are people that started playing the political game and tried to separate themselves from the concept of “stoner and pothead.”
Maybe this was a right move for some, creating a more open and serious dialogue surrounding cannabis. However, these days, some people are getting offended over the use of the words Stoner, Pothead and the likes. They equate it to being racist and disingenuous to cannabis consumers.
Nonetheless, if you ask the average cannabis user whether they get offended by the term…the majority would have no problem with being called a stoner. Of course, intention matters.
It’s very different to use “stoner” as a term of endearment as opposed to being called a “stoner” when being sentenced by a judge.
Context actually matters!
Understanding the Origins of Words
I’ve said it many times, “Offense is the currency of the ignorant!”
People only really get offended when their interpretation of a concept is being put into question by another person’s interpretation of a concept. Offense in essence, is an irrational anger towards someone challenging your own belief systems.
Offense is also a gift in the sense that if someone gives it to you, you have to accept it to make it yours. If you don’t accept offense, the gift returns to the sender.
Now before there are some politically correct reader skimming my words, let’s take a gander at the origins of the words in question.
The term “stoned” [as in referring to someone who is intoxicated] was first recorded as a single word in Hepcats Jive Talk Dictionary (1945) and was used commonly in jazz music in the 1930s and potentially earlier.
Some people believe that the term could actually originate from being physically stoned to death by…well stones. From there, the terms “stone-deaf” or “stone-cold” were being used to describe an extreme case of “something not working” because…well…you’re dead.
Eventually, the term translated to people being intoxicated or “stoned-drunk”. By the 1960s it was a common phrase as depicted in Ray Charles’ “Let’s Go Get Stoned” released in 1966. From there, the jump to stoner became quite simple.
Now stoner in itself became more complex, even within the cannabis community. Some people equate it to people who smoke weed all the time, others equate it to someone who simply consumes weed. Irrespective of this, the term was hijacked by the propaganda machine to marginalize people who consume cannabis. “Stoner” became a bad thing according to Uncle Sam.
But we have to remember, it were stoners who came up with the phrase…not the government. You need to check which narrative you subscribe to.
The word PotHead has murkier origins. No one really knows. Some believe it comes from a Spanish term called Potiguaya, which was a wine that was infused with cannabis buds. Others believe it comes from a term of “Potty” which means foolish or slightly crazy.
Nonetheless, these days it exclusively relates to people who smoke weed.
Pothead was another word that was hijacked by the government and turned into a weapon against the masses by creating a false narrative surrounding the concept.
Potheads…unlike stoners…are seen to be “less ambitious” and heavy cannabis consumers.
Irrespective of what your personal views on the words are, the fact of the matter is that these days the linguistics surrounding a more “corporate” cannabis culture isn’t sitting well with some.
The Vast Majority Don’t Care
When asked to a group of 150 stoners from all walks of life whether they are offended by being called stoners, more than 90% said it didn’t matter.
That’s because most cannabis consumers, not the suit wearing business tycoons but the average working cannabis consumer, understand that the terminology of stoner and pothead is irrelevant.
We are stoners. We enjoy smoking cannabis. We don’t buy into the trivial bullshit of identity politics. We understand that words can only hurt us if we allow it to. We understand that taking an offense term and turning it into something endearing is the best way to fight discrimination.
For those who get mad about terms like “marijuana”, “Pothead” and “Stoner”…why? You’re not “woke” if you’re going through life with an “offense pole” shoved up your ass.
For the rest of the stoners out there, that actually worry about real world problems…I salute you!