A Brief History of Cannabis Culture.
For the past 50 year, youth and underground subcultures – subcultures widely accepted by mainstream society – have adopted the cannabis image, cannabis lifestyle, and thus are the modern day captains of cannabis culture.
These youth and underground subcultures that accept cannabis culture include but are not limited to such industries as surf, skateboard, indie films and music, electronic music, rap music, reggae, DIY media and film, and for lack of a better term, homeopathy and effective self medication.
In reality, all of them operate above ground, with occasional exceptions, within the confines of accepted and established societal norms.
So why has cannabis been shunned? Cannabis is entwined in the living fabrics of all of these accepted industries.
You don’t see people shunning Bob Marley, a pioneer of cannabis culture, or turning their heads away from Supreme, a lifestyle brand heavily rooted in the cannabis culture of New York City.
The growth of the publicly accepted image of the marijuana industry as THE marijuana industry and nothing more has always been stunted. Although, it’s quite impressive that the pioneers of the cannabis industry have been able to take pot from the ghettos of black America and the hippie vans of the ‘70s and turn it into a world-wide multi-billion industry…right under the nose of government agencies and conservative mainstream media.
Unlike other legal industries, these cannabis pioneers operated in secrecy because publicity would land them in jail! What an incredible accomplishment.
As a result, the true cannabis pioneers – AKA those that built the real cannabis culture – are still battling to tell their tale and show their story.
Why? Well, as a result of having to develop their skills and hone their craft underground to avoid landing themselves behind bars other popular portrayals of the weed industry took over. The weed world was represented by thugs, stoners, and frat boys in movies and tv shows such as Pineapple Express with James Franco and Seth Rogan, Half Baked with Dave Chapelle, Harold and Kumar as they adventure to White Castle, Cheech and Chong, Weed, and magazines such as High Times and Cannabis Culture.
While these definitely are accurate representations of some of the many character-types that partake in cannabis, they come at the expense of the far more interesting and more deserving of celebration master growers, geneticists, artists, craft entrepreneurs, and activists who are slowly going public with their stories.
Just look at how fast the cannabis industry develops in areas where it is federally legal or provincially accepted. Colorado is thriving and cannabists are proud! They are some of the most passionate crafts people in the world being that they finally get to spread their wings.
British Columbia has been very liberal with pot for the past 20+ years and thus, just in the past 2 years has been handing out provincial licenses for recreational dispensaries – there is now more than 10 provincially accepted recreational cannabis industry in the city. Not to mention that there’s 200+ ‘grey’ area cannabis recreational dispensaries operating in the provinces with no government backlash or negative public image. They are accepted and welcomed with open arms.
Cannabis and Music.
Let’s take a look at how cannabis has been widely accepted and even glamourized by way of rhymes and songs. Hopefully you are reading this when it’s 4:20 PM where you are. Spark one up and open your music browsing platform. Le’s go… here are the top 5 weed songs.
It was quite hard narrowing our list down to 5 songs because cannabis has positively influenced thousands of songs in all genres. From rap to hip-hop and country music to reggae, artists write lyrics about their love for the marijuana plant.
5. Redman and Method Man’s iconic “How High” from 1999.
This song’s lyrics start with “Excuse me as I kiss the sky” and you might be wondering why they want to kiss the sky. Well, it’s because they are “so high that [you] can kiss the sky”.
4. Peter Tosh’s advocacy reggae masterpiece, “Legalize It” from 1976.
The name of the song speaks volume and tells it all. When former Wailers co-founder stroke a pose in the middle of a ganja field to shoot his album cover he wasn’t just doing it for fun, he was making a BOLD statement directed at every single government agency trying to keep the cannabis industry from flourishing.
3. Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It” can be related to by any cannabis consumer.
This tune is funky and it paints a beautiful picture of friendship and camaraderie. When all your friends put $5 down to buy the stinkiest and ickiest bag of skunky goodness. You get the bag, you roll up a big joint or a fat blunt and you just get high and partake in friendship. Definitely a top-3 favourite activity for any weed smoker.
2. Here’s a pop song that will chill you out while you enjoy a lovely joint, “Day ’N’ Nite” by Kid Cudi.
This song is a dream piece of music that takes you on a deeper more euphoric journey. It’s a catalyst to your high. It’s the wine to your cheese and the pepperoni to your pizza.
If you toss and turn all night due to stress but weak for peace, put on your headphones and chill out to this groovy tune.
1. “The Next Episode” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg
No cannabis music is complete without this iconic old school rap anthem. The lyrics embody the use of cannabis… every single line. Chances are that if you have smoked weed just once in your life you know this song. Snoop and Dre leave us with a powerful message… “smoke weed everyday”!
Cannabis apparel is a dynamic industry. There are two sides to what one might define as “cannabis apparel”. On the one hand there is lifestyle apparel that uses cannabis as inspiration. On the other hand, there is now apparel inspired by actual cannabis companies and stores… kind of like tour merchandise for artists and singers.
Cannabis lifestyle apparel relates back to the sub-cultures we talked about previously. Whether it be a graphic t-shirt from a well known lifestyle clothing company or socks with a marijuana leaf print on them, cannabis has been widely adopted by surf and skate apparel companies.
The rise of product brands and dispensaries gave rise for the need for these people to advertise. What better way to advertise than through word-of-mouth advocates essentially playing the role of walking billboards. If you make or sell exceptional cannabis products then your customers will want to represent you.
As mentioned previously, now that weed farmers, marijuana geneticists, artists, ganjapreneurs and activists are going public with their stories a landscape this rich is now being adequately represented via music, cannabis apparel, and art.
Cannabis and Art.
Cannabis has played a massive role in the world of art. From product reviews shot as art, to inspiration for artists, to pot stories that share first person account of smoking pot, to movies and fashion… cannabis is deeply rooted in the art world.
Take a look at these macro photographs of a British Columbian grown Death Bubba. Everything from the detailed trichomes, to the vibrant colour of the flower, to the cola and calyx are a work of art.
Pot stories whether they are personal accounts of smoking weed with celebrities or funny times with your friends are also a form of art. Gathering around at a party and telling these hilarious – or embarrassing – pot stories is something that everybody loves to do. Did you know that ‘Vape’ is Oxford Dictionaries word of the year? How’s that for cannabis culture becoming more accepted.
In conclusion, it’s time cannabis culture is accepted globally. After decades of having to hide cannabis leaders in every facet of the industry can finally show face and be proud of their passion.