If you’ve been to Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return or one of the Museums of Ice Cream on either coast, then you know that these “immersive art attractions” are ridiculously fun. If, say, you just woke up from a coma you entered before 2016, these non-traditional exhibition spaces feature interactive installations that you experience instead of just looking at them.
Would it blow your mind if I told you that one of these so-called museums is devoted to cannabis? (There are actually two! The Weedmaps Museum of Weed opened in August 2019 in Los Angeles, but we’re going to focus on the one that’s ever-so-slightly closer to home.)
The Cannabition Cannabis Museum in Las Vegas takes the basic concept of those other places and uses them to talk about the culture, celebration, and history of cannabis, said founder JJ Walker — who previously ran a dispensary and produced cannabis events in Colorado.
“The whole idea is to have this elevated experience around cannabis seen through a new kind of lens,” he said.
The larger-than-life installations can be touched and interacted with, and have been designed with Instagram-ability in mind. (Is it a bit dorky? Yes. But we both know that you’re going to post a photo of yourself holding up an 8-foot-tall bag of nugs to your feed before you even exit the building.)
When it first opened, the museum was designed in such a way that visitors would experience the life cycle of a cannabis plant, from seed to harvest to inhalation and exhalation. It also featured exhibits on the chemistry and social history of weed. In addition to a bunch of visual references to specific strains (for example, the first room featured a “white rhino”), the museum had a bunch of notable items, including Bongzilla, a 24-foot functional bong — allegedly the largest in the world — and “The Red Shark,” Hunter S. Thompson’s 1973 Chevrolet Caprice that was featured in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”
Cannabition is currently closed, what with the COVID-19 pandemic and all, but it is using this time to relocate to Planet 13, a huge mega-dispensary. When it reopens, the museum “will be a 10,000 square foot journey featuring more than 20 unique, cannabis-inspired art installations celebrating the arts, culture, history, and celebration of the medical and recreational cannabis experience,” according to its website.
Walker said that all of the museum’s previous exhibits will still be on display at the new location.
Meanwhile, Planet 13, which is a few blocks west of Vegas’ Strip, also added a coffee house and a restaurant to its complex, from which visitors can watch cannabis-infused food and drinks being made. It also has the infrastructure ready for if and when Nevada gives its blessing to smoking lounges, the dispensary’s co-CEO Bob Groesbeck told the Los Angeles Times.
The legal status of cannabis consumption lounges is a little bit complicated. When the state legalized recreational cannabis, the language of the law more or less allowed lounges anywhere. So, in May of 2019, Vegas’ city council approved an ordinance allowing lounges in the city. Then, the very next month, the State signed a bill into law creating a Cannabis Compliance Board and prohibiting local governments from licensing lounges on their own. The board, in theory, is currently conducting a study on consumption lounges and will submit its recommendations about whether they should be legal or not to Nevada lawmakers during the first half of next year.
So hey, by the time you actually take your next Vegas vacation, they might even exist. At the very least, you’ll be able to ‘Gram yourself pretending to smoke an enormous spliff.