California

Weedmaps bringing a pop-up Museum of Weed to Hollywood

la-1561429122-l9nkfm2by4-snap-image
A rendering shows an exhibit at Weedmaps’ Museum of Weed, which will open Aug. 3 at 720 N. Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood.
(Weedmaps)

For years, Weedmaps has shown you where to buy cannabis. Now the company wants to walk you through marijuana history.

The pop-up Museum of Weed will open Aug. 3 at 720 N. Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood and run through Sept. 29. The 30,000-square-foot space will feature seven exhibits that trace humankind’s view of cannabis, from its pre-prohibition use to “reefer madness” and criminalization, to its counterculture embrace in the 1960s and subsequent crackdowns by presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

Even today, with marijuana legal in California for medicinal and recreational use, Weedmaps Chief Executive Chris Beals says the biggest challenge to the state’s cannabis industry is mistrust from local governments, who are still hesitant to let marijuana into their cities or towns.

“Something like this,” he said of the Weedmaps museum, “can play some role, we think, in educating constituents.”

Beals said he hoped marijuana connoisseurs and newbies alike would leave the museum understanding that, for decades, prohibition was wielded by government officials to discriminate against and punish certain racial and socioeconomic groups.

“Telling the story of how cannabis regulation came to be,” he said, “all of the themes in it — federalism, how national and state governments form their laws and regulations, the very distinct social and racial motivations that went into these laws — are concepts that tie into the country’s historical fabric.”

People learn about marijuana and how it came to be criminalized piecemeal, through a social media post here and a news headline there, Beals said.

ALSO: Oregon has too much cannabis. Two laws may help the state manage its surplus »

“There are so many sources of information and misinformation,” he said. What he saw lacking was an institution, or even a school curriculum, that told the whole story of pot, supported by research and historical documents.

Whether a company that helps sell marijuana is the one to tell it remains to be seen, but Beals says interest in the museum is “through the roof.” Several days’ worth of tickets have already sold out, he said, and Weedmaps is considering keeping the museum open past the Sept. 29 closing date.

The museum will feature a gift shop selling clothing and “a variety of cannabis trinkets,” according to a news release.

You must be at least 18 years old to visit the museum. Tickets are only available online, with general admission priced at $35 and VIP tickets available to those 21 and over at $200 apiece. VIP admission includes, among other things, hors d’oeuvres and a “specially curated gift bag.” But don’t expect any weed. The museum says no cannabis or CBD products will be on offer.