A new joint is coming to Los Angeles in 2019.
Envisioned and created by Weedmaps—a cannabis directory platform notably known for gaining viral fame for its “Weed Facts” campaign on billboards across five states—and creative agency Virtue, The Museum of Weed will educate visitors about cannabis history through art exhibits, historical footage and artifacts. Seven exhibitions will exist in total, with themes including the role cannabis played in 1960s culture, former President Reagan’s War on Drugs and the path towards legalization and medical research.
“What we want to make is something authentic and informative,” said Trent Rohner, group creative director at Virtue. “It’s about coming to a better understanding of marijuana and our relationship to it than taking a cool picture with a five leaf background.”
What Rohner means is this is no Museum of Ice Cream or Color Factory. Instead, the Museum of Weed is going for a vibe more similar to the Natural History Museum.
“If we do our jobs right, people will take pictures and stuff like that, but only because it’s informative,” Rohner said.
The museum will initially open for 60 days, though Rohner is hopeful that the museum can live on in some form for longer. The exhibits, he said, will cover the “overwhelming effect” that the “incessant policing and over-incarceration of cannabis users” has had on people of color. Doug Francis, CEO and co-founder of Weedmaps, said the displays will illustrate how these policies have affected families and culture.
“We hope shedding light on the tie between cannabis prohibition and racially disparate policies will drive more to join in on advocacy and reform efforts,” Francis said.
Virtue, Vice Media’s in-house agency, worked with Weedmaps to create the complete branding of the museum and exhibits from look to feel. The creative agency had wanted to enter the cannabis space for about two years before it came to Virtue to figure out how to put the museum together. Rohner said Virtue will create content about the experience, but it’s unclear whether it will create separate social accounts to disseminate the information around the Museum of Weed.
“We’re good at telling stories, and [Weedmaps] is really knowledgable about it as arbiters of progressing cannabis culture in America,” Rohner said.
He added that the team chose the Los Angeles location since Weedmaps is based in California—and also because of the state’s recent path towards cannabis legalization.
“While, of course, we hope current supporters and members of the cannabis community come and check out the museum, we want to reach beyond that crowd to educate and inform those who may not know the storied history of cannabis, or may have a skewed perception of the plant itself, and we hope to do just that,” Francis said.
Attendees will need to buy tickets, but Francis declined to offer the price, only saying that “special programs” will be offered for students, military and senior citizens. The museum will also feature contests and giveaways.
Francis said no actual consumption of cannabis is allowed inside the museum due to state regulations. Rohner added it’s unclear whether or not a gift shop will exist for any weed-loving attendees.
More than anything, Francis said the museum will focus heavily on legalization advocacy. “Our aim is to create better understanding of the effects of cannabis prohibition and legalization, reverse misperceptions and drive people to contribute and participate in this growing and important movement,” Francis said.