PhD Graduate Kat Kolar and Professor Patricia Erickson on the Normalization of Cannabis Use

January 23, 2019 by Nico Golinski

PhD graduate Kat Kolar and Professor Patricia Erickson, in collaboration with Andrew Hathaway (University of Guleph), Amir Mostaghim (University of Guelph), and Geraint Osborne (University of Alberta), published an article in Deviant Behavior. The article explores the social networks that are embedded in the use and supply of cannabis. The authors argue that these social networks contribute to the normalization of cannabis use.

Kat Kolar obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018. Her dissertation is titled Differentiating the Drug Normalization Framework: A Mixed Methods Investigation of Substance Use among Undergraduate Students in Canada. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at UBC researching the social integration of substance use and health inequities impacting people who use illicit drugs. Patricia Erickson is a retired senior scientist at CAMH and a Professor (status-only) in the Department of Sociology and the Centre for Crime and Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include illicit drug use and drug policy; youth, violence, mental health and addictions.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through Research Gate here.

Hathaway, Andrew D., Amir Mostaghim, Patricia G. Erickson, Kat Kolar, and Geraint Osborne. 2018. "'It's Really No Big Deal: The Role of Social Supply Networks in Normalizing Use of Cannabis by Students at Canadian Universities." Deviant Behavior.

Cannabis (marijuana) has undergone a normalizing process as indicated by high use rates, social tolerance, and broader cultural acceptance of its use in many countries. Users also maintain access through extended friendship networks that facilitate the cultural diffusion of the practice. The social nature of supply is herein theorized in terms of Goffman’s understanding of activities that function to preserve a sense of normalcy as a collective achievement enabling predictable constructions of reality. Based on in-depth interviews with undergraduate students, we explore how social networks of supply—characterized by casual access, reciprocity, and sharing—contribute to shared meanings about using marijuana as an unremarkable or “normal” thing to do.

Read the full article through ResearchGate here.