For generations, certain names have been co-opted by segments of society and used to represent stereotypes, usually as the butt of jokes. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, names like Becky or Melvin conjured a collective image in our heads of rude chicks and nerds.
“Oh my gawd, Becky…. Look at her butt…” Right?
This sort of thing goes back way further than our childhoods, and it is definitely in full effect today, and though the names may change from generation to generation, one thing remains the same, there are a lot of cool Melvins, Beckys, Karens, and Chads out there that have to deal with this cultural recurrence.
If you have spent any time at all in the cannabis culture, you have probably heard someone refer to someone else as a “Chad”, and not in a flattering way.
We personally know a few dudes actually named Chad who are in the cannabis space and they’re all cool as hell.
So, which is it? What’s in a name anyway? Maybe it’ll help if we look at when and how the term entered cannabis culture, and why it has caught on so quickly.
Karen, Meet Chad
According to Wikipedia, the disparaging use of the word Karen to describe an annoying white woman dates back to the mid-2000s, but really blew up with the explosion of meme culture in the past 4-5 years.
Curiously, the history of similar use of the word Chad can be traced back to the mid-2000s as well, born out of Chicago slang and first seen in pop culture on a satirical website for a fictional club called Lincoln Park Chads Society where a character named Brett cruises around town having “Chadtastic” adventures. The term found wider appeal on 4Chan and Urban Dictionary to describe the ultimate brodude.
Most recently, these sorts of names are getting slapped on people who make headlines for calling the cops on girl scouts, or joggers, or anyone they disagree with that has a skin tone darker than theirs.
They have also crept into cannabis culture and you can trace that right back to when the first adult-use recreational markets took form and the cannabis industry was born.
There’s no doubt that there have been d-bags in the weed world since the beginning of time. In the good ol’ days, however, the cannabis community policed itself and weeded those creeps out pretty effectively.
These days, cannabis regulations cater to the creeps and it didn’t take long for our culture to clash with the suits. Unfortunately for our cool friends with the inconvenient names caught in the crossfire, it is only natural to name your enemy, that name is Chad.
As we have pointed out, the word was already being used to describe white bros (not bros like us but bros like bros, ya dig?) so when “legal weed” came out of the gates as a nearly all-white-male corporate clusterfuck, naturally the name stuck.
What is a Chad, When it Comes to Weed?
Well, obviously, a Chad is a male.
But does it have to be a white male? No, not necessarily… but if the blue suit and brown loafers fit…
When it comes to weed, it really boils down to how long you’ve been in the game and what kind of work you have put in.
There are so many people getting into the cannabis industry right now that are not aware of and do not give a shit about the culture at the root of it all. These are Chads.
There are dudes blazing through investor capital to run acres of greenhouse mids that nobody wants and nobody will buy, flooding the market and tanking wholesale prices for generational craft cannabis farmers. These are Chads.
There are guys making promises about shit they know nothing about that they have no intention to keep anyway while operating under the perceived goodwill of this plant. These are fuckin’ Chads.
Just because you were, or are new, to cannabis does not make you a Chad. We want to make that crystal clear. Make no mistake, if you come into this new but with an understanding and respect of the history and culture behind it you should and will be welcomed.
Cannabis is an inclusive community overall.
Cannabis will continue to have an inevitable merging of culture and industry. If you’ve been in this from the beginning it’s something that you will have to accept and embrace in order to survive in this newly regulated market. It’s how that merge happens that matters most.
Remember there are people who have done this for decades before you all while being hunted by our very own government. If you come into this with no regard for the history of those who came before you and put their livelihood, freedom, and in some cases their lives on the line… you’re a Chad.
If all you care about is the financial bottom line… you’re a Chad.
If you once lobbied or voted against cannabis freedom… you’re a Chad
If you only come to cannabis because you see it as simply a Green Rush. Yep…you’re a Chad.
When Chad Adapts
Now the tricky part comes in when people who understand the concept of what a Chad is are just savvy enough to be able to pretend to not be one.
These are a little bit more difficult to identify but if you look closely you’ll see the sheep’s wool poking out of their wolf costume. The good news is the longer you work with them their Chad-tastic Tendencies become all the more difficult to hide… to the real ones.
Just take one trip to their natural habitat – MJBizCon in Vegas – and you’ll see exactly what we are talking about. If their shiny shoes and geometric pot leaf logos don’t give them away, that cringey look they give when you try to pass them a joint of actual weed should.
The real danger comes when an entire boardroom of Chads – fueled by investor capital and midgrade cocaine – assemble and start lobbying to ensure that the industry will cater to them, instead of to the legacy operators who made this whole thing possible.
The people fighting to limit or ban your rights to grow your own cannabis at home… Chads.
The people fighting to place caps on the number of dispensaries in a city or state… Chads.
The people fighting to ensure that the barrier of entry into the industry is too high for mom n’ pop operators to get in… Chads.
We see it clearly. We call them out daily. Unfortunately, the politicians and people in power can relate far more closely to grifters in 3-piece-suits than they can to real motherfuckers from the streets.
While we do not expect to be granted a meeting with Pappy Joe Biden just by showing up wearing Grassroots gear and smoking bomb weed, we need to keep the pressure on the allegedly pro-cannabis lobbying groups that do have that sort of access to make sure that they are representing real cannabis culture and making sure it will have a niche in legalization efforts from the top down.
If we fail, Chad wins.