Words matter. They carry associations that affect how we think about the things they describe. “Cannabis” and “weed” may be the same thing, but each word carries very different types of baggage. (“Marijuana” has its own issues, but more on than in a future post.) “Recreational Use” of cannabis—the term currently used by government, media and some industry professionals, is misleading and misused. “Adult Use” is a more accurate term, one which is validated by current data and will support ongoing legalization successes.
Opponents of cannabis legalization have been using “recreational” to demonize non-medically prescribed marijuana, in an effort to associate Adult Use cannabis with other dangerous drugs that are used recreationally. They want the disturbing images of addiction, violence and death, commonly associated with recreational drug use, to be associated with cannabis use. Unfortunately for the opposition, none of these dangers coincide with the reality of today’s Adult Use cannabis consumer.
And since it implies no age restrictions, Recreational Use is an inaccurate term to use in today’s climate of legalized cannabis, where buyers must be at least 21 years of age. It would make the most sense to use “recreational” to describe illegal, black market weed, and use “Adult Use” to describe regulated and tested cannabis products offered by legal businesses.
Why Choose Adult Use?
Adult Use excludes juveniles by definition, and carries associations of maturity, independence and level-headed decision-making. It disarms the opponents of legalization while more accurately describing the spectrum of choices adults have with legal cannabis products:
- stress relief
- wellness benefits
- spiritual exploration
- focused concentration
- social bonding
- combinations of the above, and others
Also, some adults looking for medical benefits don’t want to get a medical card for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t mean their usage is recreational in nature. Finally, here in Massachusetts there are only two types of licenses that cannabis businesses can obtain: Medical or Adult Use. There is no such thing as a Recreational license. So let’s retire that misleading term, and choose Adult Use instead. It tells the truth, after all.