February 5, 2010

Stoner Boycotts

February 5, 2010

Recently, you may have heard something about a stoner boycott against Starbucks. For those of you that haven’t, here is the breakdown; Last month, the organization ‘Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation’ called for a nationwide boycott of Starbucks after the coffee company appeared on the “sponsor” page of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association (see the link). The CDIA is a group of law enforcement officials lobbying to end the state’s voter-approved medical marijuana system and revert back to the old laws.

After word of the boycott spread on the internet, thousands of stoners contacted Starbucks’ management to inform them that they would be getting their coffee fix somewhere else. In record time, Starbucks issued a formal statement assuring the public that it does not support the anti-marijuana group. Another company that was listed as a sponsor of the CDIA was ‘The North Face,’ a clothing line that is extremely popular with snowboarders and hikers. Once customer complaints flooded in, the clothing company issued a public statement denying they were ever a sponsor of the CDIA. Instead of issuing their own public statement about the obvious lies they were telling, the CDIA shut down its website. Another company listed as a sponsor was Enterprise-Rent-A-Car. However, it seemed that the car company dodged the boycott bullet before the site was taken down.

This isn’t the first time in recent history that stoners have united to boycott a company. About a year ago the infamous ‘bong hit seen around the world’ debuted on the internet, which was a photo of Olympian gold medalist Michael Phelps hitting a bong. In reaction, Kellogg’s cereal company dropped their sponsorship agreement with Phelps. Almost instantly, websites and stoner publications called for a boycott against Kellogg’s. Kellogg’s stock dropped almost 10 dollars in the first month of the boycott. Of course, it is hard to determine to what extent the boycott had on this price drop, but considering that cereal is the ‘stoner’s cup of tea,’ one can assume there was at least a partial correlation. I know I switched cereal brands, and when I am high (which is everyday), I eat A LOT of cereal.

Currently YouTube is getting scrutiny from the marijuana community for censoring legalization questions from President Obama’s recent question and answer session. Also, Chase Bank is getting heat for denying a student-based marijuana organization a grant that it legitimately won in an on-line competition. Whether or not these will develop into successful boycotts is yet to be seen; only time will tell. Are boycotts a new weapon in the war for marijuana legalization?

In a capitalist system, people vote with their dollars. The more dollars you have, the more votes you get to cast. In the past, stoners have always voted for 20 sacks and quarter ounces in record numbers. After the marijuana is consumed, they still have extra cash to ‘vote’ for clothes, food, and entertainment. Considering the fact there are more and more stoners every day, businesses need to be more sympathetic to the stoner cause. Back in the day, businesses would distance themselves from stoners in order to gain customers; now businesses make sure to stay neutral on the issue of legalization in order to keep customers. In the future, will we see major companies pour money into pro-marijuana activities in order to gain customers? I know I would support one company over another if one was pro-marijuana and the other was just ‘neutral.’ What about you??



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