2014 was a big year for cannabis. It saw the birth of Washington’s recreational market, new legislation that legalized cannabis in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C., and even the first national consumer cannabis advertisement, run in The New York Times. The industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, with innovative new products and businesses sprouting up daily. New technologies are giving us a greater understanding of cannabis’ therapeutic power, and we keep encountering new ways of consuming and interacting with the plant we love.
These advances are both exciting and ground-breaking, and while we aren’t quite ready to 3D print cannabis just yet, there has been a thrilling wave of cultural trends throughout the cannabis community. Here’s a rundown of some notable culture trends from the past year.
Cannabis Influencing Language
In November, Oxford Dictionaries named vape their Word of the Year for 2014. While the cannabis community accepted this term long ago, the advent of e-cigarettes and the influx of the legalization movement has led to a greater acceptance of the word in the public vocabulary. Additionally, budtender was listed as a runner-up in the Word of the Year selection process, further illustrating cannabis’ influence on popular culture and the English language.
The cannabis industry is moving out of the basement and into the upper echelon of society. Besides the high tech facilities being developed for cannabis cultivation and product production, 2014 saw the birth of mainstream events that include a connection to cannabis. The most notable would have to be Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series, a partnership between the Colorado Symphony and the state’s cannabis industry. The event series brought accepted and responsible cannabis consumption to an evening with the symphony. No longer are you limited to private, at-home entertainment while you enjoy cannabis; instead, you can don a black tie and roll some Black Domina for an engaging, sophisticated night on the town.
Industrial Hemp Farming
2014 saw many states, like Washington, Arizona, Indiana, and Kentucky, fighting for states’ rights to legalize commercial hemp production. While medical patients and connoisseurs will celebrate the increased access to cannabis that legalization brings, many other industries will benefit from the rise in industrial hemp farming. Hemp holds great power as an affordable alternative in many industries, from paper to clothing to building materials. The strength and vigor of the fibrous cannabis plant have led to an influx in the development of exciting materials and products like hempcrete. Hemp also offers an alternative base for extracting CBD, the powerful cannabinoid used to fight epileptic seizures and other debilitating ailments. Legal hemp farming is helping to open up the conversation about legal cannabis in states that have regularly opposed the movement but are looking for financial and agricultural stimulation.
Cannabis in the Bedroom
Formerly, you either smoked cannabis or you didn’t, but now there are new ways to connect with the powerful plant. From the growing world of topical cannabis applications comes products like Foria that deliver the stimulating effects of cannabis and are targeted towards a woman’s needs in the bedroom. The topical aphrodisiac spray claims to be non-intoxicating while heightening the arousing experience between the sheets. This is just one of the many new uses that cannabis aficionados are finding to include cannabis in all areas of their healthy, active lifestyle.
Celebrity Cannabis Endorsements
With celebrities selling everything from insurance to pistachio nuts, it was only a matter of time before they officially endorsed cannabis products to the masses. 2014 brought with it multiple announcements of celebrities endorsing proprietary strains and other cannabis-related merchandise. Comedian Tommy Chong and rapper Wiz Khalifa have both teamed up with different medical dispensaries to market strains using their name and likeness. But this appears to be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to celebrities endorsing cannabis, as the family of Bob Marley recently announced the first global cannabis brand, Marley Natural, that will launch in 2015. Considering the public’s connection to and infatuation with celebrities, I expect this trend to continue as brands keep progressing into the mainstream.
Cannabis Food Trucks
Food trucks are all the rage these days, especially in the cannabis-friendly confines of hipster Meccas like Portland, Oregon. So, why not combine the accessibility of a food truck with the potent effects of cannabis-infused edibles? There has been huge debate over the structure and regulation of cannabis edibles this year, but as a better understanding of the rules form cannabis food trucks are sure to take off. Magical Butter has led the charge with their SAMICH Truck that debuted on 4/20 in Colorado. SAMICH, short for Savory Accessible Marijuana Infused Culinary Happiness, serves high-end meals infused with cannabis and has been working to prove that the concept can work. I anticipate more cannabis-themed food trucks to pop up as the industry works to reposition the public acceptance towards cannabis.
With so many new cannabis companies opening their doors, there is a noticeable influence of female business owners. While the industry is still dominated by males, women are being applauded for the safe, approachable nature of their businesses. Many cannabis businesses take root in the medical marijuana industry, an industry known for its compassion and approachability. Women have been able to soften the shady image of the pot shop and transform dispensaries, edible companies, topicals manufacturing, and even testing labs into a more nurturing environment that allows for kindness, grace, and community outreach.
Amsterdam has long been the pilgrimage for cannabis tourism, but the recent changes in regulation have given way to a shift towards more accessible locations within the US. Denver and Seattle have both been inundated with the addition of travel centered on cannabis. Tasting tours and cannabis-friendly accommodations are molding cannabis tourism into a model that closely resembles high-end wine tourism, taking it from taboo to elite and normalizing the access and understanding of cannabis.
Image credit: vitafluida