Many like to associate hippies with marijuana use. The 60s is sometimes known as “the golden days of cannabis history.” Even with all the Reefer Madness propaganda still being pushed, a lot of people began questioning how dangerous marijuana actually was. How much have the times changed since the days of hippies to now, the days of hipsters?
Hippies appeared during a time of rebellion, experimentation and love. With the Vietnam War and the constant threat of nuclear war hanging over Americans’ heads, hippies brought with them a radically new worldview – one with love, peace and the therapeutic use of psychedelics and marijuana. It was during this time that professionals like psychiatrist Dr. Lester Grinspoon began advocating for the medical use of marijuana. High Times published their first issue in 1974. The modern day marijuana movement began.
The War on Drugs attempted to halt the production and distribution of cannabis, but the plant continued to rise in use and popularity among recreational and medicinal users. Only 4% of American adults admitted to trying marijuana in 1969. But the scare tactics used by the War on Drugs, claiming marijuana effects included blindness and sterility, fizzled out as more people began trying marijuana and didn’t start going blind. Up to 22% of people admitted to trying marijuana in 1977, and that number of marijuana users grew to 34% in the 1990s. Marijuana use was on the rise.
As the views on marijuana evolved, so did the plant itself. With advancements in hydroponic growing techniques, a rising cannabis horticulture community continued growing marijuana underground and reaping high-quality plants in so doing. As quality improved, so did the amount of marijuana users. Today, more than 140 million Americans have tried marijuana. So when did marijuana use shift from hippies to a significant portion of the American public?
With the rise of the internet came increasingly easy access to information. The Reefer Madness days are over now that everyone knows the medical benefits and limited serious marijuana side-effects. It’s common knowledge that zero people have overdosed on marijuana. Easy access to legitimate information has changed the way people view an herb that has yet to kill anyone.
Now comes the modern day hipster: someone who follows the latest trends but won’t admit to being mainstream. Marijuana fits this cup of tea, coming from the days of Reefer Madness and grunge hipsters. The cannabis plant represents the evolution of hippies into hipsters. Hippies once smoked in back alleys and parks; hipsters now smoke in front of clubs with their vape pens. Once thought of as a bad drug that can cause sterility, the use of marijuana is now supported by the majority of Americans. Once we thought of marijuana for the hippies and losers, now people who smoke marijuana are normal, hipster and even medical patients.
Rebellious hippies are now practically mainstream hipsters. With an entrepreneurial spirit in a new tech market and a passion for living green, these youngsters are changing the way people view marijuana. Instead of Woodstock, we have Silicon Valley, and you can bet they are smoking plenty of marijuana while creating million-dollar marijuana related businesses.
Cannabis has officially moved mainstream. All sorts of people from many different walks of life are using cannabis. Where hippies once sat, the posh hipsters and Hollywood elite now sit smoking the herb. Along with medical marijuana patients and classic stoners, millions of Americans are now giving marijuana a chance.
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