Online marijuana shop directory Weedmaps plans to open a “Museum of Weed” in Los Angeles in early 2019.
The museum will use interactive installations, art exhibits, archival footage and historical artifacts to take visitors through the evolution of cannabis policy.
“The hope is that visitors can understand the history of cannabis and learn a bit more about the exciting future that lies ahead,” Weedmaps CEO Doug Francis said Wednesday.
Six of the museums seven planned exhibits will be themed around specific eras in marijuana policy and history. Theyll highlight milestones, pop-culture influences and social injustices from the time before prohibition, to the eras of “Reefer Madness” and “Just Say No,” to todays booming legalization movement.
The seventh exhibit will focus on the plant itself, including medical research around its potential uses.
Irvine-based Weedmaps is partnering with Virtue, the creative agency born from VICE, to bring the museum to life.
“Weed has always been bigger than stoner culture,” said Trent Rohner, group creative director at Virtue. “One of the most misunderstood plants in history, the Weedmaps Museum of Weed is our way of sifting through its history and stripping away the misconceptions caused by racism, fear and ignorance.”
A 20-second teaser trailer for the museum, posted Wednesday to YouTube, flashes cannabis-related clips through the eras. It ends with the sound of a circling helicopter, calling to mind the police raids that still take place at underground marijuana businesses.
The exact location, size and opening date of the museum are expected to be released in January, according to project spokeswoman Hannah Benabdallah.
No details on admission price were announced, though Benabdallah said theyre planning special programs for students, military and senior citizens along with ticket giveaways for the public.
Weedmaps was founded in 2007 by Tustin native Justin Hartfield and Francis. The Yelp-like service bills itself as the oldest and largest cannabis technology company, with offices from Denver to Berlin. The company has become a significant player in lobbying for marijuana reform and backing political candidates.
The company also has some critics in the regulated cannabis industry, who note that Weedmaps lists unlicensed marijuana shops on its website despite receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the state this spring. During a February interview, company president Christopher Beals defended that choice by saying Weedmaps is an “information platform” thats showing the same information people can find through other websites.
That stance is in line with a goal of the coming Museum of Weed, which the company says aims to push back against what it describes as long-term “persecution” of the cannabis industry.
The Weedmaps Museum of Weed will not be the first of its kind. The Cannabition Cannabis Museum opened this year on Fremont Street in Las Vegas. Highlights include an elevator ride to the top of a 24-foot bong.