The slow but steady march toward legal marijuana has perpetuated a cannabis culture that spans the nation and touches nearly every demographic. The legal progress cannabis is making in American society is fairly recent. However, there’s nothing new about the plant’s existence in societies around the globe.
60 Years of Prohibition
Cannabis culture can’t be discussed without first recognizing its 60 years of prohibition in the United States. Initiated by the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, the criminalization of marijuana was enforced by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Moreover, it spurred the incarceration of thousands of people over the next six decades. According to Decriminalizing Marijuana, nearly half a million people were arrested on marijuana charges in 1973 alone. However, in spite of the harsh laws, there are 10 million people in the US regularly using cannabis.
Those 10 million people are part of a cultural shift away from blind compliance. In addition, they represent a push toward freedom to explore the medicinal and recreational opportunities of the cannabis plant. By using the ballot box, states are beginning to legalize marijuana. Through that effort society’s perception of cannabis is changing.
Cannabis Goes Mainstream
The more scientists understand the cannabis plant the easier it is to market it as a medicine and package it accordingly. As it becomes mainstream, the cannabis culture moves away from the reefer madness mentality and the stoner vibe to a more generic product that meets the needs of all types of people. Therefore cannabis culture of today is made up of a completely different demographic than that of past generations.
In today’s society cannabis might be used by a child with autism or a senior with rheumatoid arthritis. It’s still smoked, eaten, vaped, and enjoyed for no other reason than to feel freaky and relaxed. The culture has evolved into a more inclusive opportunity free from stigma.
While science is making it possible for people to understand the benefits the plant can offer them, legal dispensaries bring cannabis out of the shadows. This legitimizes cannabis, making it possible for more people to experience it than ever before.