Exploring the Nation's First Museum of Weed

Back in May, I attended the Budtender’s Kickback day-cruise hosted by Weedmaps and won an all-inclusive trip out to Los Angeles for the opening weekend of the Museum of Weed! In this blog, I'll walk you through my experience and share my favorite highlights.

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The History of Weed Museum event is open from August 3rd through September 29th and hosts a more intimate VIP event each Saturday 8 p.m. – midnight which is when I attended. As you walk in, you are greeted with music from a world-class DJ, open bar and wonderful hors d’oeuvres provided by Crateful Café.

As you walk through the doors to the first exhibit, your eyes are met with a neon filled hallway that continues into a room filled with informative displays of pre-prohibition items from around the world. From a Betsy Ross flag created from hemp to Mid-Edo period samurai armor with hemp bindings, this room certainly shows you the deep roots of cannabis.

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The second and third exhibits dealt with the Age of Reefer Madness and the Counterculture Revolution that followed a few decades after. The second exhibit stretched across a few rooms; in the first room the walls were covered with propaganda spanning from the early 1920’s to the 1990’s including dated posters claiming cannabis’s “negative societal effects” and old racial cartoons about the plant.

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As you walk through an old VW bus into the third exhibit, you are greeted with psychedelic-esque artwork on the floors, ceiling and walls. Large “dab” sculptures line the walls to make it seem like wax is drooping from the ceiling and pooling onto the floor. Counterculture picket signs with LGTB, black rights, women’s rights and pro-cannabis messaging are scattered throughout the room.

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The fourth exhibit is titled “Behind Closed Doors” and focuses primarily on the Nixon administration’s War on Drugs. Monitors displaying D.A.R.E. and “Just Say No” campaign ads are constantly playing throughout. The floor and walls were covered with anti-drug messaging. The exit of this exhibit consists of walking through a small mirrored hallway with police lights and sirens blaring, as well as mannequins outfitted in S.W.A.T. gear. This also serves as the beginning of the fifth exhibit, entrapment.

As you exit the mirrored hallway, you find yourself surrounded by jail-cell styled walls with several biographies of individuals who are currently serving sentences for cannabis conviction.
Weedmaps also gave museum-goers a chance to write to their home state’s representatives explaining the benefits and misjudgments of cannabis.

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The first of the final two exhibits is titled Dose of Compassion, these rooms tackled the transition of cannabis from counterculture to pop culture during the mid-80’s and 90’s. As you enter you are
transitioned into a late 1990’s style bedroom, complete with an iMac and posters of stoner-buddy-comedies like Up in Smoke and Half Baked. Exiting the bedroom leads visitors into a re-creation of one of the first Cannabis Buyer Clubs in San Francisco, this room provided great information of how the HIV/AIDS epidemic provided a way for cannabis to make its way out of the dark corners of society and into the light to show how misconstrued it has been.

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The final exhibit was titled Legalization, the smaller of the two rooms had an interactive information board that used your own hand as a curser for the screen, slides included the complete history of plant as well as where it currently stands in the United States legislature. Exiting this room leads you into the larger and final room. In the middle of the floor, there is a cylindrical room with a step-by-step guide of growing cannabis. Taking up an exceptional portion of a wall is a terpene exhibit, which was an assortment of colored vials hanging from string depicting each type of terpene.

Last but certainly least, was the interactive cannabinoid exhibit, this consisted of colored shapes that represented each cannabinoid and had a corresponding insert for each shape. The screen would start off as a stagnant white, but as each shape is inserted, the screen begins to morph into geometric patterns and pulsates colors giving you a visual depiction of what happens in your brain when you use cannabis.

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The overall experience of the museum was outstanding! From the atmosphere of the event to the people in attendance, it was truly for the cannabis lover and enthusiast. If you're in the Los Angeles area through the end of September, I highly recommend checking the museum out.

Written by: Quinton Cox

Somerville Patient Advocate

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