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Cannabis Culture Is Complex And Ever-Changing But It’s Ours

Matt Weeks
cannabis culture girls smoking weed

Cannabis culture tends to be formed around how the herb makes us think, feel, and heal.

In 2016, critically acclaimed musician and longtime cannabis activist B-Real (pictured below) shocked the nation when he came out against California’s Proposition 64, an effort to legalize the drug for recreational use. Although the former Cypress Hill rapper had a long and outspoken career of supporting cannabis rights, he thought the ballot measure was bad for cannabis culture.

At first blush, it doesn’t make sense. How could a ballot initiative, reflecting the will of the very people who create cannabis culture, be bad for it?

B-Real was speaking to a deep felt, if somewhat nebulous, concept. Cannabis culture isn’t an easily defined idea. It’s a collection of beliefs and customs that have long been dominant among cannabis users. It’s what binds cannabis patients together and keeps them fighting the status quo.

For B-Real, the California law went against the culture because the high taxes it sought to levy on shops would crowd out mom-and-pop establishments in favor of big chains.

rapper and Cypress Hill Gang Member B-Real

Cannabis Culture at Large

The most tempting way to understand the concept of this culture is to look at the substance itself. Some cannabis aficionados feel the herb itself is what gives rise to the culture around it.

So the traits of the plant itself and its effects on us coalesce into the basis for the cannabis lifestyle. What does that mean? For example, cannabis is natural. So the society that sprung up around it places a premium on naturalness. Cannabis erases anxiety, so the culture frowns on unease and disquietude. Instead, the culture longs for a more accepting lifestyle, one that prizes the simple, natural pleasures.

The thrust of the idea is that weed culture did not arise accidentally out of a coincidental movement. It was built out the symbiosis between the herb and the people who enjoyed it.

This is not to say it’s all the same, however.

 

Many Forked Branches

Cannabis culture is not monolithic; smaller derivations of the larger whole exist throughout the world. And for as long as its existed, those on the outside have sought to define it negatively.

For centuries, cannabis was part of the mainstream culture. It was a healing herb, mentioned in ancient texts, and probably used regularly for its beneficial properties.

But somewhere along the way, the tables turned. Cannabis was outlawed and its culture derided. Instead of a curative substance, it got a different reputation. It became associated with “the other” and used to scare the masses.

The first anti-cannabis laws in the United States were put in place really to put immigrants in jail. In the 50s, “Reefer Madness” cemented the idea of cannabis as a mind corrupter, and its culture as deranged. A short time later, President Nixon took it further, and tied cannabis to what he thought was a bad element in society — communists, minorities, hippies, the unemployed. In the twilight decades of the twentieth century, cannabis culture became more associated with slackers, comedians, college students, and musicians.

But, just as none of these stereotypes accurately reflected this particular culture, neither did small groups of pro-cannabis people either. But they were closer.

One of the wonders of cannabis is its ability to bring all sorts of people together. From medical professionals and corporate workers to music aficionados and introverts, cannabis has a way of uniting people together under a common banner. What ties all of them together is a desire to be better through cannabis, to allow people to find relief from all kinds of unpleasant sensations through a natural remedy.

cannabis culture at rxleaf represented by active older adults hiking in mountains

The Cannabis Culture at RxLeaf

The corner of cannabis culture that resides at RxLeaf is a patient-first approach. We believe that all cannabis is medicine. And that, in a just world, it would be accessible to all.

Cannabis is truly a wonder drug. It enriches the human spirit as it heals the body. It’s also naturally hardy, able to grow almost anywhere, and is the rare form of medicine that is nearly free of harmful side effects. In short, it brings good into the world — and we celebrate that.

That attitude informs our cannabis culture. We believe in the equality of cannabis – how it can treat everyone. It is affordable medicine for the masses. That leads us to advocate for less restrictions around cannabis.

We believe that cannabis is helpful and healing, and we champion the science behind our knowledge of cannabis while also honoring the years of anecdotal history that have informed the healing practice.

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Matt Weeks

A writer living and working in Athens, GA, Matt's work has appeared in various newspapers, books, magazines and online publications over the last 15 years. When he's not writing, he hosts bar trivia, plays in local bands, and makes a mean guacamole. He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's degree in organizational theory. His favorite movie is "Fletch."

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