Something that really stuck with me when learning about public relations was that companies must stay on top of trends every year. The audience goes wherever the wind blows, so it is vital to stay ahead of the curve in order to captivate your audience’s interest. It’s a familiar concept within fashion where one fashion trend may be hot now, but it will be out sooner than you think. Information trends are similar to fashion where it flows throughout the world every day and cultural shifts revitalize the concept through certain events.
For example, take a look at how the information on cigarettes were radically altered in the past few decades. Cigarettes were widely used during the 50s/60s, with doctors pushing them to their patients. No one really knew of the dangerous health effects from long-term smoking, so people continued to smoke packs of cigarettes every day. It wasn’t until the late 90s when a slew of laws was filed to decrease cigarette use in America. Nowadays, you can find more people vaping through e-cigarettes than smoking a pack of Marlboros.
That was about how PR radically altered cigarette use in America, but now our main substance that has been gaining more recognition is cannabis. Recreational cannabis use has been legal in 1/10 of America for since the elections and the push for modernized information has become more relevant than ever. The dominoes have fallen quicker than ever since it became legal, with organizations become more pressured to cave in to where the wind is blowing. One of the biggest opponents of the cannabis community that followed the wind was the DEA.
After mere months of legal and public pressure, the DEA recently removed misinformation about cannabis on their website. Their website, dea.gov, provided some erroneous facts about cannabis use. The legal request comes from the non-profit medical cannabis advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) where they argued that over 25+ misinformed statements were found about cannabis; it violated the Information Quality Act, which prohibits government agencies from providing false information to the public and requires them to respond to the requests within 60 days for correct information. The ASA filed the petition on December 5th, 2016 and the facts were finally scrubbed off from the website.
Some of the “facts” that were erased from the website included preposterous claims that cannabis is a gateway drug, a primary contributor to lung cancer and psychosis, and that it causes an irreversible cognitive decline in adults. These claims are what kept the ‘Reefer Madness’ mindset going after Nixon’s War on Drugs initiated in 1971. It’s almost 46 years later and now these mind-boggling “facts” have now been expunged from the public eye. Another PR miracle has been crafted for the cannabis industry after decades of Nixon’s War on Drugs!
This right here is what public relations is all about: a change of information regarding a certain idea due to the ever-changing social culture in the community. It was the people that led the direction as to where the wind is blowing and cannabis legalization in America is pushing farther than ever in the right direction. Social Media helped to build the bridges that connected cannabis users together under one virtual community. Other than building bridges, social media is also major factor for where the wind is blowing for social trends. The fight for cannabis legalization has been a long and hard battle so far, but the DEA expunging their “facts” from their website is a MAJOR step in the process.
All I have to say about this PR miracle is…FINALLY! Most people have known for decades about cannabis’ medicinal benefits and it’s amazing that the misinformation is being erased from the DEA’s website. I’ve known since college that these claims about cannabis use were sorely incorrect and that cannabis has widespread benefits when using it. As Americans, we deserve the fundamental right of correct information to better educate ourselves on what is right for us. It should be up to the people, not “professionals”, that should make the decision about what’s good or bad for their body.
Cannabis use in America is going stronger each day, with more consumers being better informed about the plant through social media sites. More people are saying NO to misinformation about cannabis and saying YES on recreational use. Just like fashion trends, information on cannabis is slowly morphing itself within the modern social culture that we see today.
We’re just one step closer to widespread legalization here in America. The dominoes are falling harder than ever and the wind is blowing faster than ever towards the future of the cannabis industry.