OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — The Oakland Museum of California was closed Tuesday, but workers were busy creating a new exhibit called Altered State: Marijuana in California.
The exhibit will trace the history of weed, from scary predictions of Reefer Madness, to the stoner comedy of Cheech and Chong, to the point when America began discussing pot in a more serious way.
The exhibit’s curator, Sarah Seiter, said visitors will literally have to face the issue the moment they arrive.
“That’ll be the first thing people will see when they walk in-is these plants in a glass case,” Seiter said.
By the way, that’s technically legal because the plants are staying in the possession of a certified grower.
“So, we’re basically just holding it for a friend,” Seiter said.
But, Seiter wants this to be a place for serious conversation, with one room discussing medical benefits, while the next shows the money to be made. And, then there’s the confessional, where visitors can write their thoughts about marijuana to be posted anonymously for all the world to see.
She says the museum is not taking a position on a ballot measure legalizing pot.
“But, we are interested in giving Californian’s a place to have good conversations about the issue as we lead up to the vote in November,” Seiter said.
The museum wants to use history to advance issues that are being talked about – even argued about in modern times.
“It’s by looking at these stories of the past that we can glean the lessons that we can bring forward…into the decisions we’re making today,” Kelly McKinley, Director of Curatorial at the museum said.
The exhibit opens on Saturday, and is reportedly the first to examine the issue of marijuana in a mainstream historical museum.