As promised, we’re back, diving deeper into the history of cannabis alongside The Museum Of Weed in the heart of Los Angeles, CA. As we resume rounding out your “Higher Education,” you may recall our previous article. Pre Prohibition, a time where early cultures and civilizations, including here in the United States, lived in harmony alongside cannabis as a medication and useful material.
Now cue the faint noise of manic music as you move into the next exhibit. We have arrived at the precipice of an “Era Of Madness.” We are about to plunge into the demonization and propaganda machine of the early 1900’s America. The deception is written on the walls, literally.
Funhouse mirrors, rotating lights, and depictions of devil lettuce line the floors and walls. In this exhibit, you experience distorted imagery of yourself, alongside cartoon renderings of violent sex-crazed individuals, all of which have entirely lost their minds and morals to the evil consumption of Marijuana!
Violent, murderous stoners?! This some seriously twisted slander, and seemingly sprouted out of nowhere in the early 1900s, but this was also the boom of industrialization began. Powerhouses such as steel, tobacco and pharmaceutical , joined forces with politicians, all of which helped push this propaganda. The core of issue had a far more sinister agenda…
Demonizing this plant and its cultural uses became the trojan horse of controlling public opinion on sensitive items such as immigration of Mexicans, African American culture, and additional fiscal control. Explore this era of fear and false claims in the next room where we peer into the past through newspaper clippings and other media relics.
Just one of many articles hung on the wall we see “Mary Jane Laugh Addicts” of the Seattle Daily Times (1936) demonizes Mexican and Americans stuck in hypnotic hilarity. While just below in the SCIENCE section, Virginia’s Daily Press, published an article in 1937 titled “Murder Drug That Gives Gunmen Courage to Kill” describing deadly dope that produces ”pep” and banishes fear.
Of course, one of the center pieces of this room is a looping reel of the infamous 1936 “Reefer Madness”. Continually playing on the wall it is no coincidence this heavily circulated film was released just one year before the first federal ban titled “The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.”
For decades, this masquerade continued. Numerous films like Assassin of Youth (1937), Devils Harvest (1942), and countless newspaper clippings solidify the narrative of murder and menace caused by Marijuana. These campaigns brought forth doubt and dark shadows, yet the plant continued to circulate. They had successfully inspired fear into the population, and simultaneously created a sense of distrust in the up and coming youth.
You can experience first hand how the American government overplayed this propaganda, but it wasn’t only in regards to cannabis during this time. This force of opinions spanned an array of important issues, including Civil Rights, The Vietnam War, and Feminism. Decades later, the very tools used to coerce culture into a particular perception gave birth to The Counter Culture Revolution. From heathen to hailed savior, join us next time as cannabis takes center stage, symbolizing peace, love, and radical change. Plus some pretty psychedelic exhibition you’ll be sure to love…
But don’t forget there is still time to explore the Museum Of Weed yourself. Head over to https://themuseumofweed.com or stay tuned to continue your ”Higher Education” with The High Note!