Here’s a first for California: Marijuana, not in a grow house, but in a museum. The Oakland Museum of California says “Altered State: Marijuana in California” is the first-ever museum exhibit dedicated to the much debated drug.
Usually, exhibits take about three years from idea to opening, but associate curator Sarah Seiter says the marijuana exhibit was fast tracked to about two years in hopes people could come see it before voting this November.
“We really want this to be a place where people can have a dialogue and have a really honest conversation about what their hopes and fears are around legalizing marijuana,” Seiter said, explaining the museum is not taking a side.
She says more than 100 community members have served as consultants on the exhibit in order to make sure “Altered State” is welcoming to all, regardless of their stance on weed.
“Families were actually using the space to talk to their kids about marijuana,” Seiter said of an area titled “Youth and Weed.”
Other displays include “Cannabis Science,” featuring live marijuana plants; “Criminal Dope,” highlighting the history of drug laws and arrests, and “Cannabis Confessional,” featuring a space where people can write their opinions anonymously.
“It’s easy to make decisions based on myth, so hopefully we can do it in a more educated way. So I think it’s great,” Cheryl Ziperstein, of Albany, said of the exhibit.
Current polls show about more than half of California’s likely November voters support legalizing pot. William Gomez, of Rodeo, is not one of these.
“An exhibit like this of marijuana is telling our kids it’s okay to do it, which I think it’s not okay,” Gomez said.
Though he says he opposes marijuana, he would not be opposed to taking his kids to learn about the issues, as long as he tours it first.
The exhibit opens to the public on Saturday.