A few years back, it was rare to even see the word “cannabis” used in stories penned by reporters. But as industry changes and matures, vocabulary is changing too.
The one thing media outlets can’t seem to shake? Pot puns. In fact, it appears they could be getting worse.
They are absolutely everywhere: in the majority of all news stories, on billboards, even in company names themselves: from Maricann Inc. to Good Buds Company Inc to Green Relief Inc (all of whom are licensed producers of cannabis for medical purposes in Canada).
From an NBC news headline, such as "Weed the people? Companies relax drug-testing policies in bid to attract more workers -- Drug testing policies have gone to pot as more employers choose not to navigate the hazy issue" to a Toronto Star headline, proclaiming: "Marijuana marketing expected to be more low-key than blunt," the puns are running rampant.
Some say that it is necessary to lose the pot puns if we want to not only de-stigmatize cannabis use but also give companies credibility in the rapidly shifting industry. Some feel they reinforce a negative stereotype. Some believe when used by the media, they turn hard-news stories into puff pieces.
Others argue they’re all in good fun, in an industry that built its foundation on having alternative views.
While the latest release of the AP Stylebook, a journalist’s bible, don’t reference cannabis puns specifically, it surprisingly gives the nod to cannabis slang, stating: “Slang terms such as weed, reefer, ganja or 420 are acceptable in limited, colloquial cases or in quotations."
Here are Proactive’s top eight list of the most overused pot puns (admittedly, many have been used by us: we are not immune to the draw of the pot pun but are trying to correct our ways).
Eight pot puns to drop
1. High times: a classic, and almost boring by this point.
2. Pot of gold: a nod to the leprechaun, along with some lucky charms.
3. Up in smoke: not terrible, but incredibly overused to describe any negative situation.
4. Budding industry: yes, we know the industry is growing. Yes, we know buds are involved.
5. Highs and lows: the gold standard of cannabis puns. An oh-so-obvious one to pull out on a moment’s notice, when your brain is foggy and it’s five minutes before the end of your shift.
6. Ready to roll: begrudgingly, this can be used in certain situations somewhat successfully, such as in this previous release by the Alberta government, stating "Alberta will be ready to roll come October 17."
7. Blazes new trail: yeah, yeah, we know your "joint" taskforce is blazing a new trail.
8. Let's be blunt: just slightly cringeworthy. Also, there is a difference between a joint and a blunt (blunts are rolled with tobacco paper).
In conclusion, is there any way to stem the budding growth of cannabis puns?
For now, weed better wait and see.
(Note: clearly, we still have a ways to go when it comes to extinguishing the cannabis puns).