1910-1920s – The Mexicans got the party started when they brought weed to California in 1910. Also, the Mormons traveled to Mexico in the same year to bring marijuana back into Salt Lake City. To this day, marijuana; cannabis; the kind; herb; ganja; reefer; weed; dro; spleef; skunk; pot; wacky tobacky; Kush; smoke; bud; grass; hemp; MaryJane; loco weed; 420; devil’s weed and rope are used to describe the merry goods.
The first state to have the marijuana prohibition law passed was California in 1913.
1930-1940s – Lammont DuPont and William Randolph Hearst tried to kill the party by portraying weed as a “gateway” to other drugs. Together they initiated a smear campaign by making the film, “Reefer Madness.” The film portrays the middle to upper class 20 year-olds as the “cool crowd gone bad on MaryJane!” Harry J. Anslinger was Assistant Prohibition Commissioner in the Bureau of Prohibition, before being appointed as the first Commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department‘s Federal of Narcotics in 1930. He conspired with DuPont and Hearst in the “reefer madness” propaganda.
Marijuana was the Jazz musicians’ biggest prop. Drugs were easy to get and readily available in most hip music venues. Musicians around the Bay Area to the more popular singers Billie Holiday, Lois Armstrong, Johnny Coltrane – they all smoked pot.
This was the new marijuana culture. Gather, smoke and enjoy all with friends. Weed has always been an icebreaker in society. Many great relationships have started with a simple “High?”
Woodstock Music Festival/1969 (Photo credit: dbking)
1950-1960s – Bob Dylan’s “Times They are a-Changin’” represented the cultural movement. The “Summer of Love” in San Francisco in 1967 was a cultural turning point.
The new cultural folk named themselves “hippies.” Hippies were categorized as lazy, no motivation, etc. (same as the Mexicans). Anyone who smoked was eventually stereotyped with the Hippy culture. Bay Area talents included the iconic Grateful Dead shows.
1970-1980s – Under the Controlled Substances Act, cannabis was classified as a “Schedule 1 Drug.” LSD also falls under this Act. “These are dangerous drugs and with no recognized medical use,” righhht – just sayin’…
Meanwhile “dangerous” drug users were at the concerts, enjoying i.e., Day on the Green shows (Bill Graham) at the Oakland Coliseum; and the Cow Palace were some of the best local venues. The 1980s had fabulous cultural gatherings. Most everyone used drugs at these shows, but nonetheless the concert was a safe haven.
1990-present – The “420” culture grows. The 420 reference actually originated in the 1970s back in Santa Rosa, California. 420 is recognized throughout California and beyond. The term is used as reference to the time as 4:20, or the date is 4/20, both mean smoke “let’s smoke pot!”
The marijuana genie is out of the bottle now….anybody’s guess as to what comes next.