Title

The changing social constructions of marijuana users.

Presenter Information

Brian Grimmer

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom A

Start Date

17-5-2012

End Date

17-5-2012

Abstract

The social construction of marijuana users and the effects of marijuana have been undergoing a continual process of definition and redefinition across time. According to public opinion polls, the attitudes and perceptions regarding marijuana have grown more favorable over the last eight decades. Public opinion has many potential influences including government, news media, and mass media. This research focuses on the how changing perceptions of marijuana have been reflected in the mass media (movies and documentaries) and the real world similarities in society. Relying on several sources, I have compiled a nearly comprehensive listing of 817 films produced from 1934 to 2011 that contain some reference to marijuana. These films were coded in terms of how they framed marijuana and its effects according to four classifications (favorable, unfavorable, both, and neutral). I have organized these representations by year of release and then linked this information to the dates of relevant public opinion polls regarding marijuana and important legislative events. The data show there is a potential correlation between these films and their effect on public opinion and policies regarding medical and recreational uses of marijuana.

Poster Number

30

Faculty Mentor(s)

Nelson Pichardo, Karen Francis-McWhite, Ian Buvit

Additional Mentoring Department

Sociology

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May 17th, 2:00 PM May 17th, 4:30 PM

The changing social constructions of marijuana users.

SURC Ballroom A

The social construction of marijuana users and the effects of marijuana have been undergoing a continual process of definition and redefinition across time. According to public opinion polls, the attitudes and perceptions regarding marijuana have grown more favorable over the last eight decades. Public opinion has many potential influences including government, news media, and mass media. This research focuses on the how changing perceptions of marijuana have been reflected in the mass media (movies and documentaries) and the real world similarities in society. Relying on several sources, I have compiled a nearly comprehensive listing of 817 films produced from 1934 to 2011 that contain some reference to marijuana. These films were coded in terms of how they framed marijuana and its effects according to four classifications (favorable, unfavorable, both, and neutral). I have organized these representations by year of release and then linked this information to the dates of relevant public opinion polls regarding marijuana and important legislative events. The data show there is a potential correlation between these films and their effect on public opinion and policies regarding medical and recreational uses of marijuana.