Legendary Artifacts You’ll Find Only at the Weedmaps Museum of Weed

The Weedmaps Museum of Weed tells the story of cannabis through a bevy of iconic artifacts and unforgettable Instagrammable moments. The immersive exhibitions send visitors through the highs and lows of this ubiquitous plant. 

Although it’s difficult to replicate the experience without seeing it in person, you may want to know what to expect before you show up. Here’s a small dose of the kind of artifacts you’ll see while wandering wide-eyed through the Weedmaps Museum of Weed.

The Ebers Papyrus, c. 1550 BC – Ancient Egypt

Cannabis was recommended as medicine dating as far back as 1550 BC. An enhanced portion of the Ebers Papyrus, which contained cannabis as a remedy, from ancient Egypt is on display at the Weedmaps Museum of Weed in Hollywood, California. (Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

Long before cannabis legalization efforts took root in the United States and in other parts of the world, the plant was being used by our earliest human ancestors in a variety of inventive ways, including for medical use. At the Weedmaps Museum of Weed, you’ll find an enhanced portion of the Ebers Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian medicinal text that discusses the use of cannabis as a treatment for gonorrhea, inflammation, and other ailments. This recreated text contains the glyph sequence “šmšmt,” which many Egyptologists have equated to the word hemp.

Where Can You Find This Artifact? Exhibit 1

Samurai Armor, 1600s–1880s – Japan

Hemp was lightweight and durable, making it a hardy fiber for samurai armor in the Edo period of Japan. The armor is one of the global artifacts showing cannabis’s versatility at the Weedmaps Museum of Weed in Hollywood, California. (Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

As you enter the exhibit where you’ll find the Ebers Papyrus and other historical artifacts, you might be taken aback by a looming figure decked out in samurai armor. No need to fear, there’s no warrior inside of that ancient husk of Japanese armor. There are, however, several parts of the mid-Edo period armor that is made using hemp, including the helmet linings, belts, tassels, and other accoutrements. This cannabis-derived material was commonly utilized in samurai armor for its toughness and resilience, withstanding constant use and providing a surprising amount of comfort. 

Where Can You Find This Artifact? Exhibit 1

Betsy Ross Flag – 1792 USA

The Weedmaps Museum of Weed displays a reproduction of the Betsy Ross flag for the Revolutionary War-era United States. The flag was thought to be made of hemp. (Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

Not only was hemp a versatile tool that benefited ancient human civilization, it also played a pivotal role in the founding of the United States of America. In fact, when Betsy Ross designed an early iteration of the American flag, it was said to be made entirely of hemp. The Weedmaps Museum of Weed hanging in the exhibit is a massive handmade reproduction of the hemp flag.  

Where Can You Find This Artifact? Exhibit 1

1971 – Brotherhood of Eternal Love, Laguna

Surf’s up! This surfboard contains a hollow opening, which Orange County surfers smuggled hashish into California in the early 1970s. See this “Hippie Mafia” surfboard at the Weedmaps Museum of Weed in Hollywood, California. (Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

In order to evade the rough waves of cannabis prohibition under President Richard Nixon’s administration, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love took a unique approach to smuggling cannabis and psychedelic drugs into the United States. In the early 1970s, this small group of surfers from Orange County would hollow out surfboards to smuggle hundreds of pounds of hashish from Afghanistan into California, as well as psychedelic drugs. 

The lives of the so-called “Hippie Mafia” members were chronicled in the 2016 documentary “Orange Sunshine,” directed by William Kirkley. You can find a vibrant Brotherhood of Eternal Love surfboard with a hollow smuggling chamber, which was provided by Kirkley, propped up in the counterculture exhibit, surrounded by photographs that help bring their remarkable mischief to life.   

Where Can You Find This Artifact? Exhibit 3

Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 Document

In the wake of the drug overdose deaths of athletes Len Bias and Don Rogers within a week of each other in June 1986, Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. The most severe aspect of the law was mandatory minimum prison sentences for drugs, including cannabis. (Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

A despairing product of the war on drugs, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 helped ramp up prosecution of cannabis users and increased spending for the operation by $1.7 billion. Ignited by the high-profile deaths of basketball star Len Bias and football player Don Rogers, both from drug overdoses, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act was signed by Congress and President Ronald Reagan almost immediately after it was introduced on the House floor.   

The document allocated funds to build more prisons, promote anti-drug education, and set up treatment centers. The worst aspect of the act was the introduction of mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, which included cannabis-related offenses. While the results of this measure will certainly make your stomach turn, it remains a key symbol of the detrimental War on Drugs. You can find a recreation of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, along with gut-wrenching statistics that demonstrate its impact on communities of color, on full display at the Weedmaps Museum of Weed. 

Where Can You Find This Artifact? Exhibit 5

The History of NORML

Since its founding in 1970, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has been the leading pro-cannabis advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., and numerous local chapters.(Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

No organization has single-handedly strengthened cannabis legalization on a global scale than the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Founded in 1970 by Keith Stroup, NORML was initially funded by a $5,000 donation from the Playboy Foundation. There’s no overstating the important role that NORML played in bringing together cannabis activists, supporting independent research, and swaying the public by vocalizing the plant’s immense medical benefits. 

NORML is continuing to expand its reach as the legalization movement spreads, currently boasting a massive network including 135 chapters and 550 lawyers. At the Weedmaps Museum of Weed, you can explore the roots of this organization by browsing our collection of NORML memorabilia, which includes a classic collection of pins, signs, and other memorabilia that showcase the organization’s role in accelerating legalization efforts across the globe. 

Where Can You Find These Artifacts? Exhibit 6 

New Drug Program – Marijuana Tin

While the U.S. government waged a high-profile war on drugs, a much lower-profile program by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) distributed tins of marijuana prerolls to patients. One of the tins, which holds about 300 prerolls, is on display at the Weedmaps Museum of Weed in Hollywood, California. (Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

Despite the relentless crackdown on cannabis that took place as part of the war on drugs, in 1976, the federal government actually started sending cannabis to a select group of patients. Created by the Food and Drug Administration, the Investigational New Drug Program (Compassionate Access IND) provided free cannabis to patients, sending a tin can full of pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes. As you walk through the somber setting of a hospital room at the Weedmaps Museum of Weed, you’ll notice an original iteration of this tin can, which is still filled with the very plant that helped so many even during.

Where Can You Find This Artifact? Exhibit 6 

1992 – San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club

The Weedmaps Museum of Weed replicates the U.S.’s first medical marijuana collective, the San Francisco Buyers Club. Founded by the late gay-rights and cannabis legalization activist Dennis Peron, the Buyers Club in San Francisco’s Castro District distributed weed to HIV/AIDS patients amid the health crisis in the 1990s. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

While traversing through the emotional twists and turns of the Weedmaps Museum of Weed, visitors will find themselves entering the re-creation of the very place where the medical cannabis legalization movement was started. Step inside of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, an underground medical cannabis collective started in 1992 by legendary marijuana and gay-rights activist Dennis Peron.

Despite being arrested for dealing cannabis on several occasions, Peron continued providing weed to patients suffering from HIV/AIDS and other health conditions, operating out of a small cafe in the historic Castro District. Peron and other cannabis advocates were responsible for Proposition 215, the unprecedented initiative that passed in 1996, making California the first state to legalize medical cannabis use for patients in need. 

Among the many artifacts decorating our rendition of the Cannabis Buyers Club, you’ll find touching photos of Peron and others iconic activists who helped spark the legalization movement of today, along with an authentic Cannabis Buyers Club door sign, whiteboard menu with the club’s daily cannabis offerings, Proposition 215 memorabilia, and other priceless tokens of weed history. 

Where Can You Find This Artifact? Exhibit 6 

General Admission and VIP Tickets for the Weedmaps Museum of Weed are available at themuseumofweed.com

Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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The 10 Most Instagram-Worthy Moments from the Weedmaps Museum of Weed

The Weedmaps Museum of Weed is turning out to be an experience you must inhale to believe. 

The jaw-dropping and educational exhibits send attendees through a maze of weed’s fascinating, complicated history. And it just so happens to contain a massive amount of Instagram-worthy moments. 

The Weedmaps Museum of Weed is more than a roller coaster of highs and lows full of installations, artifacts, recreations, and interactive displays that show weed history to be filled with both beautiful and brutal moments in awe-inspiring displays that are irresistible to social media. 

Celebrities such as Vanessa Hudgens, Ashlee Simpson, Irene Baldwin, Tyler Henry, Rachel McCord, Laganga Estranja, and Tommy Chong visited the Weedmaps Museum of Weed and snapped photos throughout the exhibit’s opening night

Here are 10 of the most Instagram-worthy moments from the Weedmaps Museum of Weed.

‘Flowers Are Not A Crime’ Mural

A colorful mural with the word “Flowers Are Not a Crime” is featured prominently just outside of the museum’s exhibits. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

The largest art installation, that dissects the 30,000-square-foot Weedmaps Museum of Weed in half, comes in the form of a colorful art-deco wall. The “Flowers Are Not a Crime” mural pull you towards it with its sheer magnitude and message.

The Entrance

A rainbow of bright lights contrasts with the dark passageway leading to the entry to the Weedmaps Museum of Weed in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

The anticipation as you wait to enter the space is also a great photo op. The colorful entrance to the first exhibit is intended to feel like a tunnel that takes you back in time to pre-prohibition with the colored lights representing the subsequent eras. The multicolored light is fitting for the varied, emotional trip you’re about to take. 

‘Reefer Madness’ Funhouse

The mirrors distort and strobes flash to confuse the eye as you enter the “Age of Madness” exhibit. “Reefer Madness” propaganda is blasted on every wall; equally as campy and kitschy as it was dangerous and damaging. 

Time your selfies wisely: The light is moody and constantly shifting, much like the public’s perception of cannabis during this period.

Slime Time with ‘Counterculture Revolution’

Take a trip through the far-out “Counterculture Revolution” portion of the Weedmaps Museum of Weed, decked in vibrant colors, psychedelic patterns, and protest slogans. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

Walk through the door of a real Volkswagen bus (in Weedmaps Teal, of course) into a purple, green, and pink psychedelic womb. The“Counterculture Revolution” exhibit is made for the social media moment. 

The whirl of colors, chaos, and warmth all pull the eye into a weed leaf center, framed by protest signs repeating actual messages and slogans from the 1960s and 1970s activist movements. 

‘Just Say No’

Just as the post-counterculture backlash against marijuana was framed as a black-and-white issue, the “Just Say No” blasts guests of the Weedmaps Museum of Weed with anti-drug catchphrases of the 1970s and 1980s. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

The jarring, black-and-white visuals inside of the “Just Say No” exhibit are as dizzying and disorienting as the campaign itself. The walls yell “No Hope With Dope,” “Marijuana Kills” in a text that overwhelms and leads your eye to the center. 

Its size and repetitive impact are felt when you continue, turning around to a series of floating TVs playing an endless loop of “Just Say No” and “This Is Your Brain on Drugs” propaganda. 

’90s Throwback

The 1990s marked a renaissance for cannabis, and the Weedmaps Museum of Weed re-creates a 90s bedroom with plenty of pop culture references to cannabis. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

Enter the beaded door into a ’90s dorm room come to life in this exhibit, the first room within “Dose of Compassion.” The bedroom is equipped with “Half Baked,” “Up In Smoke,” and “Dazed and Confused” movie posters, a bright blue translucent iMac computer, a wall of colorful bongs, and even a towel shoved under the door. Ah, the good ol’ days. It’s a beautiful representation of all the ways cannabis moved from counterculture to popular culture during this decade.

‘Dose of Compassion’ and the San Francisco Buyers Club

The Weedmaps Museum of Weed shows a replica of the San Francisco Buyers Club, the first medical cannabis marketplace in the U.S. In this Castro District site, activism for cannabis, LGBTQ rights, and HIV/AIDS care converged.(Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

This real-life replica of the first dispensary in the United States, the San Francisco Buyers Club, is nothing short of surreal. Rainbow flags, signs that read “Yes on 215” (for Proposition 215, the California medical marijuana initiative when passed in 1996 became the first of its kind in the U.S.) and “Dennis Peron for Governor” line the walls. 

The recreated space is dripping with strings of delicate origami swans, a golden coffee table, chess game, ashtrays filled with half-smoked joints, ornate wall art, and all of the small details transport you to its exact moment in time. Even the actual prices of the dispensary’s menu from its first year are on the wall. The joints are glued down. Don’t ask us how we know, but…

‘Behind Closed Doors’ and ‘Entrapment’

The Weedmaps Museum of Weed encourages guests to get involved and decriminalize cannabis. One way is to support the release and rehabilitation of pot prisoners. Guests can write to their elected representatives or support pro-marijuana advocacy organizations. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

Powerful quotes hit like a punch to the gut on the black walls of the “Behind Closed Doors” exhibit. Understanding the magnitude of Nixon’s harmful discourse on marijuana, the creepy moment leads to what is sure to be the most triggering for attendees at the museum, and rightfully so. The “Entrapment” exhibit might scare your Instagram followers, so give them a trigger warning if you’re feeling generous.

Visually Pleasing Knowledge

Guests of the Weedmaps Museum of Weed can get a sense of the entourage effect by manipulating cannabinoids and terpenes on a worktable in front of them, then seeing the combinations simulated on a display in front of them. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

Cannabis information that you can reach out and grab, the virtual reality experiences found in the final exhibit, “The Plant Lab”, give attendees the opportunity to touch history itself. You can control the visualizations of the entourage effect, hover your hand over the years of legalization progression, and even smell the aroma of terpenes on the terp wall. Boomerang gold

Staircase to Weed Heaven

The grassy seat is a gentle reprieve from the cathartic intensity of the museum journey. The veritable high and lows of the history of cannabis is an emotional roller coaster that attendees walk through the entire visit, and its message is blasted on the staircase. Make sure you see the view that awaits you on the top.


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General Admission and VIP Tickets for the Weedmaps Museum of Weed are available at themuseumofweed.com

Feature image: Take selfies in a shock of psychedelic colors and patterns in the “Counterculture Revolution” exhibit in the Weedmaps Museum of Weed in Hollywood, California. (Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

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Have the Heart of an Activist? You Must See the Weedmaps Museum of Weed

By Lindsey Bartlett

Those who have a heart for cannabis legalization know it’s not at the finish line quite yet. The communities that include patients, cultivators, forward-thinking doctors, stoners, and workers still face legal barriers, social stigma, and are far from the social justice, equity, clemency, and ubiquitous freedom we want for cannabis and its many, many users.

And much like the marijuana legalization movement depended on the power of activism throughout the decades, The Weedmaps Museum of Weed can’t tell the story of weed without speaking truth to power. Weedmaps understands that we benefit from the ground laid by activists who helped legalize adult use marijuana in 11 states come January 2020, and medical use in 33 states and more on the horizon. 

The Weedmaps Museum of Weed pays tribute to those influential activists in marijuana history and modern-day activists who continue to fight for cannabis access across the world today. 

Here is a brief history of cannabis activism, the organizations that continue to further the conversation, and how the Weedmaps Museum of Weed lets you join the movement. 

History of Cannabis Activism

When it comes to a state’s path to legalization, more often than not the spark began with grass-roots activism. Without activists willing to put in countless hours to organizing, strategizing, and mobilizing their communities and holding governments accountable, cannabis access would be non-existent. 

The marijuana legalization movement has a rich history of activism. During the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s, activists fought and sacrificed greatly, often dealing with criminal prosecution, facing incarceration, and even risking their lives to advocate for the legalization of medical marijuana in California. That spirit still exists today, where passionate advocates continue to speak out in the face of discrimination, stigma, and legal repercussions in states such as Oklahoma, Utah, and New York.

With the influence they had on marijuana legalization and culture, some of the most celebrated cannabis activists include: 

  • Dennis Peron, “the father of medical cannabis,” opened the first dispensary in the U.S., the San Francisco Buyers Club, in the Castro District in 1992. Peron advocated for cannabis access after he lost his partner during the AIDS epidemic. His bravery and leadership during the battle for marijuana legalization have made him a cannabis activism legend. Peron was instrumental in the passing of Proposition 215, the California ballot initiative that legalized medical marijuana, the first of its kind in the U.S.
  • Mary Jane Rathburn, known as “Brownie Mary,” is forever intertwined with the cannabis legalization movement for her underground operation in which she provided marijuana-infused brownies to AIDS patients in the LGBTQ community in the 1970s. At age 68, Rathburn was arrested and charged with a felony for making brownies in what was known as the “bust heard ’round the world,” resulting in a media frenzy surrounding marijuana legalization.
  • Jack Herer, the “Emperor of Hemp,” was an activist who pushed for the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana and hemp cultivation for medical, recreational, and notably for industrial use as fibers, clothing, plastics. The author of “The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” Herer earned his induction into the Counterculture Hall of Fame through decades of cultivation.
  • Keith Stroup founded the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) in 1970 and has dedicated nearly 40 years to weed users’ rights. He helped to transform the organization’s weed activism mission and was a powerful spokesperson who helped propel Proposition 215 in California, with dozens of states to follow.  

To learn more about the LGBTQ community’s fight for marijuana legalization in the 1980s and 1990s, read “We Wouldn’t Have Legal Weed Without These LGBTQ Activists.” 

Why Cannabis Activism Is Still Needed Today

In the places where weed is legal, it is because people took to the streets to drive this movement forward. Modern activists led State Question 788 that legalized medical marijuana in Oklahoma, work from the Utah Patients Coalition allowed medical access in Utah, and bold activists have fought tirelessly to legalize cannabis in Illinois.

The legalization of marijuana isn’t one gigantic fight, it’s thousands of battles that take place across the United States every day. These battles cannot be fought by one group or generation alone, but must be fought by thousands of activists of all stripes and colors. These highly respected organizations can attest to it. 

  • NORML, founded in 1970 by attorney Keith Stroup, is the first nonprofit in the U.S. advocating for the end of prohibition. Based in Washington D.C., its goal of responsible cannabis use helped to reframe the ideology behind legalization activism today. NORML has grown its advocacy efforts into Australia, France, Canada, England, New Zealand, and Ireland. Get involved in NORML’s Action Center or become a NORML member.
  • Marijuana Policy Project‘s motto is “We Change Laws.” Founded in 1995, it is a political lobby and nonprofit currently fighting for cannabis reform through public policy changes. MPP has a great list of resources for activists who want to put their energy into writing U.S. Senators and representatives. Become a member of MPP and spread the word via the nonprofit’s current Take Action resources
  • Drug Policy Alliance, based in New York City and founded in summer 2000, has seen substantial wins for drug reform in the U.S. It hosts the International Drug Policy Reform Conference, which aims to end the war on drugs through research, science, and compassion. DPA has played a role in each piece of state cannabis legislation in the U.S., spearheaded the national legalization in Uruguay, the first adult-use country in the world. Participate with the DPA and be alerted on ways you can take action.
  • Students Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is a grass-roots, student-run organization founded in 1998 based on campuses around the world. It spans the globe with young-adult groups in Bolivia, China, Sierra Leone, Costa Rica, Zambia, and more.
  • CAN-DO Clemency fights for the freedom of all non-violent drug offenders. Since its founding in 2000 by Amy Ralston Povah, CAN-DO Clemency has offered education, working with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation to free incarcerated people. Become a Guardian Angel to directly help free prisoners in its network.

How the Weedmaps Museum of Weed Helps the Cause

When you enter the Weedmaps Museum of Weed, you will be transported to some of the most crucial moments in the history of cannabis activism in the following exhibits: 

  • The Counterculture Revolution: The 1960s counterculture revolution is so important to weed legalization, it has its own transporting exhibit in the museum. You will walk through the door of a Volkswagen Bus into a massive swirl of real posters, protest signs, and pivotal activist moments, all against the psychedelic backdrop of the 1960s. You will see two sides of the story, where politics and activism collided in America.
  • Just Say No: You will be taken into the disorienting whirlpool of “Just Say No” ad campaigns that seemed to encompass much of the Reagan era. With a unique social justice orientation, you will be able to listen to the stories of four people who are currently behind bars in the United States for low-level marijuana crimes that have devastated their lives. 
  • Dose of Compassion: You will see a life-size replica of the first medical marijuana dispensary in the United States, the San Francisco Buyers Club. This exhibit will transport you to that moment in time when the first medical marijuana clinic open in the U.S. during the AIDS epidemic.

And while you will get a full history of cannabis activism, you’ll also be encouraged to be an active part of it, too. 

At the end of the 26,000-square-foot museum exhibit spaces, you will find a series of digital kiosks where you can help influence the next generation of cannabis laws by sending an email to your federal and state policymakers.

The cannabis community’s voice will be heard. And now yours can, too. 

This content is sponsored by Weedmaps. General Admission and VIP Tickets for the Weedmaps Museum of Weed are available at themuseumofweed.com

Feature image: The Minnesota chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) participates in the 2013 Twin Cities Pride parade in downtown Minneapolis. NORML is one of the most-established marijuana reform groups in the U.S. (Photo by Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons; used with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license)

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