Marijuana in American Pop-Culture Essay

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Justin Mitchell Dr. Gingo English 1301 P12 07 May 2014 Marijuana in American Pop-Culture Recreational marijuana use in America is nothing new, but recent legalization movements for marijuana display a growing trend that has become a highly dominant part of American pop culture. From the beginning of the 1978 movie series Cheech & Chong, to newer hits like Pineapple Express and Harold and Kumar, marijuana is glamorized. Recreational marijuana use has been in popular culture for decades, but now it has gained such traction that some states have even begun to legalize it. Pop culture in American society presents a positive image of marijuana because pop culture itself is a reflection of the popular American view. Americans are becoming more accustomed to marijuana usage due to the increasing frequency of displays in pop culture, a growing availability, and it being a serious political issue. The film and TV industry have played a vital role in how marijuana is seen by America. The first instance of the drug use in pop culture is the 1936 film Reefer Madness by Arthur Hoerl. The film takes two ordinary teenagers, who are pressured into using marijuana, through an over-the-top journey that includes a hit-and-run accident, suicide, manslaughter, and even an attempted rape. However, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), which was established in 1970, used the movie satirically to aid in the reform of marijuana policy. The film, in the 1930s, was considered an “unabashed propaganda film,” but has now turned into a “cult classic” (Armstrong). From the release of the movie in 1936 to now, there have been almost a hundred movies containing frequent use of marijuana, usually in a fun or comical light to make it seem less harmful to the American public. Its popularity in the television community has dramatically increased as the casual use

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