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The cannabis industry has evolved considerably quickly, especially in Canada, since legalization was enacted October 20, 2018. About 20% of the underground market has been diverted to legal and regulated sources. With provinces slowly integrating ways to support their local industry and the upcoming edibles and extracts regulations, we can imagine that much more of the illicit trade will come above board in the coming months. 

Despite the booming but ever-evolving industry having so much interest across the country, and even the world, the stigma associated with cannabis continues to linger. In fact, that stigma continues to be supported by journalists and publications alike, even as cannabis and the related industry brings new readers and viewers. Realistically, it’s important to shine a light on the industry as it really is – rather than just what we imagine it to be. 

Long has it not been an industry catering to the giant joint and teenage rebels. Cannabis has been a medical, therapeutic, spiritual conversation much longer than the one we most often see portrayed in the media. If you look up cannabis news, you’ll get a smattering of images – some of corporate grows, a few flat layouts of pot leaves, an employee – but we still also reuse the same images that we satirize. This CANADALAND podcast exploring this is a great listen for those interested. 

For others, maybe helping to alleviate this lingering stigma means participating in ways that would allow for this. That’s us at Pistils, and why we’re partnering with BTS Stories on the Stigma event series. All our fundraising efforts will be funneled to Breaking the Stigma to support pediatric patients. The events will include collecting images from participants in order to allow for news sites and journalists to have a selection of quality images to pair with their reports. With the regulations in mind – including limiting any ‘glamour’ aspects – we hope to use photography and artistry to help destigmatize cannabis, one image at a time. 

Keep posted on Stigma events and maybe together we can create an inclusive cannabis industry that focuses on the positive and the potential of the plant and helps others understand that visually. Normalization takes time, but we’ll get there, one image at a time.