While many of the hallmarks of cannabis culture – such as the green leaf insignia, the psychedelic music, and mind-melting artwork – can sometimes seem static, its evolution is mostly defined by a few cultural flashpoints.
Before becoming a term to describe sensitive millennials with beards and skinny jeans, the world “hipster” was originally coined to describe people who would define their dress sense, music taste, and use of slang through 1940s jazz culture. This flashpoint in cannabis culture made the commonly derided substance part of a new definition of anti-establishment cool.
This flashpoint in cannabis culture morphed slightly by the next decade when writers like Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg would give rise to the term “the beat generation”, spawning a new generation of so-called “beatniks”, who smoked weed as part of the same inclination that would have them reciting poetry in coffee shops.
Then came the 1960s and the rise of the hippy, when the prospect of being drafted into the war in Vietnam put the entire nation on edge. Marijuana remained the drug of choice, only now psychedelic drugs were featured quite heavily as well.
With the 1970s came disco and cannabis was to come extent taking a back-seat to cocaine. This continued right through the 80s; people were still smoking up, it just wasn’t quite as readily permeating the culture.
Don’t call it a comeback – cannabis culture made something of resurgence in the 1990s as the rise of hip hop celebrated marijuana as blatantly as any scene had before, with some of the most influential acts presenting weed as part of their identity. The resulting sound followed suit – with lush and laid back production that practically begged the listener to spark up.
This new century presents the latest and quite possibly the most substantial evolution of cannabis culture. The increased legalization and resulting innovation is at this very moment establishing what smoking up means in the digital age…