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Want to know where weed culture is going? Here’s a hint: L.A. L.A. L.A.

An illustration depicting cannabis.
(Lydia Ortiz / For The Times)

Marijuana, weed, pot, herb, reefer, dope, bud, ganja, doobie and grass are a few of the many (by some estimates close to 1,200) slang terms by which we’ve come to know the dried, flowering tops of the leafy, green cannabis plant. Whatever your name for it, you probably have an opinion about it too, one that falls somewhere between “assassin of youth” and “all-healing herbal sacrament.”

We get it. Plants can be divisive, particularly if the plant in question happens to be legal for recreational use in a handful of U.S. states (16 as of this writing) for those 21 and older but remains illegal at the federal level. But no matter what you think about it (or call it), you can’t deny that cannabis and cannabis culture are big business in these United States.

That’s especially true in California, which in 1996 became the first state to legalize medical cannabis and in 2020 — just three years after the start of recreational sales — saw the legal market notch $4.4 billion in sales, according to Marijuana Business Daily. (By comparison, Colorado, the state reporting the second-highest sales, did approximately half that in the same period.)

Because the Golden State is a similar standout on the cannabis innovation front, in the run-up to the stoner holiday 4/20 (which, lest you forget, was born here before being adopted around the world), we’re taking a closer look at a some of the things bubbling up on the cannabis landscape here and now — from pot-infused pizza and the boom in minor cannabinoids to bettering your buzz through DNA analysis — that may have a hand in shaping what the future of weed looks like across the country and around the world. And, just for fun, we’ve also tried to find the perfect pot pairing for some of our favorite neighborhoods in and around Los Angeles.

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