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Accepted Contribution:

How medical cannabis activists in Brazil build their authority as experts and impact the science-society relationship  
Janaynne Carvalho do Amaral (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) Jodi Schneider (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign)

Short abstract:

Our netnography analyzes how a Brazilian non-governmental organization, the Medical Cannabis Research and Patient Support Association, APEPI, builds their authority as experts, combining their own lived experience with scientific knowledge.

Long abstract:

Activist organizations play an important role in shaping public perception of controversial topics such as appropriate drug use. In 2015, after the mobilization of activists, Brazil legalized one form of medical cannabis by prescription only. In 2016, the Medical Cannabis Research and Patient Support Association (APEPI) registered as a Brazilian non-governmental organization focusing on “awareness, demystification and democratization of the medical use of cannabis” (APEPI, n.d.). Oliveira (2017) analyzed similarities between APEPI members and the lay experts Epstein (1995) described in early AIDS activism. Using netnography, our case study explores APEPI’s cannabis activism such as news, websites, interviews, and documentaries as well as the organization’s recent email newsletters. We explore how this activist organization communicates science and impacts the science-society relationship. We analyze how APEPI builds their authority as experts, combining members’ lived experience with scientific knowledge shared in interviews with scientists and developed in partnership with universities. We attend particularly to the role of these activists as trusted intermediaries for parts of the Brazilian public; the role of the organization in producing grassroots knowledge, especially advice for medical marijuana users; and the types of people, such as celebrities, scientists, and prominent movement leaders, featured in APEPI’s Instagram posts.

Combined Format Open Panel P048
Justice-oriented science communication research: sharing knowledge, building a network (papers and discussion workshop)
  Session 1 Tuesday 16 July, 2024, -