Jul 5, 2016 9:15 AM

First-Ever Cannabis Exhibition in California Is Worth Visiting

The first-ever exhibition called “Altered State: Marijuana in California” is being held at the Oakland Museum now. Shortly before the November ballot on legalizing recreational use of cannabis, the exhibitors decided to let people know more about marijuana and come up with their own opinions on this plant.

Opened since April, the marijuana exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California has grabbed the attention of the public. The museum team managed to present the topic from all possible perspectives by collecting numerous interviews, records, studies, and photos over the course of nearly two years of preparations.

The organizers of the exhibition are sure that people in the U.S. hold very polarized attitudes to marijuana; thus to the goal of the exhibition is to show the full story of this plant. At the same time, the exhibition does not promote the legalization of marijuana. Instead, it demonstrates the science, politics, history, and economics surrounding cannabis.

Here, you will see that marijuana is not just a pop culture phenomenon, as the exhibition shows all the complexities of this issue—from marijuana prosecution in the 1980s to medical claims, to conflicting laws, public concerns, and recreational use, and even to films about stoners like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

Visitors will be surprised just after entering the Great Hall gallery when they see four live plants displayed behind the glass in the middle of the room. These plants are not typical content for a museum exhibition; they seem out of place as well as a munchies vending machine that is placed to satisfy any cravings. This extraordinary exhibition is divided into ten perspectives that cover the topic from different sides.

Taking into account that Californians have different feelings about the recreational use of cannabis, the exhibitors present “Recreational Reefer” area, where visitors can explore how the weed popular culture has changed over time, and even anonymously share their feelings about cannabis or answer thought-provoking questions like “What if marijuana were advertised on TV?”.

“Criminal Dope” section will show you how laws on marijuana have developed over time, as well as how they are influenced by race, local culture, geography, and economics.

There is a wall of history called “Bad to Baddas” that displays the politics around cannabis, starting from facts about California as the first state criminalized weed in 1913, and mentioning the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, the anti-drug campaign in the 1980s, as well as the new medical cannabis laws and the current legislation regulating the plant.

In the interactive art installation titled “Creative Grass,” you can enjoy an altered perception of time and space created by Cybele Lyle, an artist from Oakland.

Visiting “Sacred Ganja” area, you can also explore the spiritual history of marijuana that includes its use in the traditions of Rastafari and Hinduism.

“Medical Marijuana” is probably the most revealing section of the exhibition, as it displays different studies on cannabis' beneficial effects. The exhibition is based on the findings of different scientific papers. People have an opportunity to learn the facts and form their own opinions on the subject.

There is an interesting display that shows marijuana's place in the pop culture with cannabis edibles and various weed accessories, like bongs and vaporizers.

Other sections allow visitors to learn more about cannabis in the context of youth education, environment protection, or American cultural history, take part in a dialog about these complex issues with weed experts, and consider the possible effects of legalizing recreational marijuana.

If you have not visited this spectacular exhibition yet, note that it is open for visitors at the Oakland Museum of California until Sept. 25. To attend it, you should pay an admission fee, which is $15.95 for adults, $6.95 for youth, and $10.95 for students and seniors.

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