Getting marijuana culture out of the cannabis closet and on to the streets in style.
The Medical Marijuana Registry of Colorado listed 92,840 users in that state alone (Sept. 2017) and that’s counting only people who actually registered.
Meanwhile in Canada, the Financial Post reported that the number of people seeking medical marijuana tripled in just one year (2016), with no slowdown in sight.
Even the stock market reflects this flood of medicinal patients, with analysts comparing the cannabis craze to the dot com boom. However, our popular mainstream culture does not reflect this reality. Tragically, hundreds of thousands of people feel they need to hide what has helped them become happier and healthier. My hope is that this site will play some small part in bringing our cultural expression more in line with our lived reality concerning the wondrous world of weed.
How did we get here?
People have not always been reluctant to show a positive attitude toward marijuana. Cannabis gave alcohol some strong competition during the Jazz Age of the 1920s-30s. In response, governments used race-based criminalizing as a convenient way to assert control over the skyrocketing popularity of both dance clubs and cannabis.
In 1936, the anti-marijuana propaganda film Reefer Madness was widely circulated and by the 1950s the war on the “evil weed” hit the same hysterical level as the persecution of homosexuals and communists.
As the 60s liberation movements returned to groovier music and freer thought cannabis also made a public return, but this time the conservative media and government were ready. What had worked during the Jazz Age could work again. Across different media, politicians associated “dope” with negative stereotypes such as the “dirty drop-out hippie” and “cut-throat black or Spanish pimp.” With no proof, mainstream media repeated anti-marijuana claims such as that it caused mental instability, loss of ethical reasoning, and was the first step on the “slippery slope” to heroin addiction.
While the media worked hard to associate marijuana with street gangs and a burnt-out lifestyle, Bob Marley rose to international stardom by reframing 60s rebellion and love of the leaf with Rastafarian spirituality and infectious pop reggae songs. Marley’s laid back style and commonsense approach to cannabis presented an alternative image to the media’s hysterical drug raid dramas. Bob’s music and message reached a point where just wearing the colors of the Jamaican flag was enough to signify support of the herb. Depending on his treatment at international borders, Marley’s tours provided a test case for which countries were tolerant of cannabis use and this helped to highlight the extent to which the US operated closer to a police state model.
Growing out of the street culture of the 1970s and continuing to this day, rap music has been the longest running public patron of pot. While it has produced some tremendous talents who are also advocates for medical marijuana, the music as a whole has done little to improve the public image of marijuana.
Instead, it has updated the old stereotype of the “violent pimp criminal” from revolvers to automatic weapons. Yet even without offering a more positive image of cannabis, just including it in popular rap songs has helped as rap music itself became more mainstream.
In the same way, the War on Drugs slowly went through a public relations reversal from busting the evil druggies to busting state budgets as prisons overflowed with folks incarcerated for minor cannabis violations.
Insert: Dr. Doug
I grew up in this world where dope was publicly demonized and criminalized. Of course people continued to smoke it, but you had to be in a safe environment in order to use it with the War on Drugs raging around us. In the midst of this I struggled with a rare autoimmune syndrome that left me somewhat crippled and in a lot of pain when it flared. I never once thought that a medicine that could improve my quality of life was sitting right in front of me. Even when it became known that people managing AIDS were using cannabis medically to improve appetite, I failed to consider it as a medicine.
I was that blinded by the old negative public image of cannabis.
Then I had a particularly bad autoimmune flair, so bad that the hospital did a spinal tap to see if I had meningitis. High fevers with crushing pain were followed by tense waves of chills. Exhausted, I turned to cannabis to try to relax through the bone-gripping icy spells and a crazy thing happened. Suddenly I could move with less pain. It helped me stay asleep longer and my appetite returned. Miraculously, it shaved 2 – 3 months off my recovery time. For me, the blinders came off and my whole perception of marijuana changed, opening up a new world of medicinal applications and products.
Fast forward to the new millennium
Chatting about the benefits of fair trade organic coffees and teas have led to deeper conversations about MS, fibromyalgia, addictions, sleeping disorders, anxiety, chronic pain, autism, PTSD, loss of appetite, failures within the pharma-based system and the subsequent turn towards treatment with cannabis.
These people were not criminals or drop-out dope-fiends, they were the new marijuana underground mainstream. When my coffeehouse closed for a variety of reasons, I turned to former design skills and sought out how to give this underground mainstream a voice, how to challenge the stoner/pimp stereotypes that the media had associated with cannabis and how to show its critical value as a medicine.
This site is the answer to that question.
All the best,