There’s no denying the fact that weed culture in America is changing with the advent of legalization. It would be impossible for it to remain static, given the shifting realities at play in the cannabis world: the big money investors swooping in, the illicit market veterans stifling under new constraints and the new consumers brought to the table for the first time. To quote David Bowie, “ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.”
But reminders of the space cannabis used to occupy in our cultural consciousness still pop up all the time — both through anti-cannabis stigma rearing its ugly head and the occasional flashes of nostalgia.
This week’s pot culture news is chock full of these kinds of throwbacks: the good, the bad and the goofy. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
The Good: Blazing AriZona
The brand conjures up memories of aimless teenage wandering, summer days and covertly smoked bowls between babysitting jobs. What drink pairs better with a midsy suburban buzz than the AriZona’s saccharine thrift?
And now, the Arizona Beverage Company has made official overtures to its stoney fanbase with the announcement that they will be “selling marijuana-infused gummies and drinks” in partnership with a Colorado-based cannabis brand.
Unfortunately, there’s the devastating caveat that this whole thing could be a doomed attempt to bolster falling iced tea sales, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The company has yet to release specifics, but keep an eye out for this addition to the cannabis beverage market, if only for sentimental value.
The Bad: Ohio Politician Blames Marijuana for Gun Violence
On Aug. 4, Ohio state representative Candice Keller caught heat on Facebook for a post she made in the wake of the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.
In it, the Republican representative blames America’s gun violence epidemic on a variety of factors, including video games, drag queens, Obama and “the acceptance of recreational marijuana.”
In the wake of her… colorful commentary, Keller has faced pressure to resign, although it seems unlikely she’ll be forced to do so. According to the Dayton Daily News, Keller has a history of inflammatory opinions: she mocked the teenage school shooting survivors from Parkland, Florida in front of a crowd of guns rights activists in 2018, and decried the removal of Confederate monuments in 2017 in another Facebook post.
The good news: It looks like very few people are taking her ideas seriously, the data doesn’t support her claims — and she has since deleted the post.
The Goofy: Billy Ray Cyrus’s ‘Old Town Road’ Reveal
If you’re even remotely in tune with The Culture, you’ve definitely heard viral mastermind Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.” You’ve also probably heard at least one of the “Old Town Road” remixes, even if it’s just because they were playing it in Rite Aid.
But whether you have every twangy, tongue-in-cheek bar memorized or you’re the person begging your friends to surrender the aux and drop the novelty rap, you probably didn’t expect to learn that a cheeky weed reference was scrubbed from Billy Ray Cyrus’s verse on “Old Town Road (Remix).”
In an interview with music outlet Taste of Country, Cyrus revealed his harrowing censorship experience as follows: “For some reason, I immediately thought it was funny to say, ‘Baby’s got a habit: diamond rings and marijuana.’ See, it is funny. They said, ‘Everything but the marijuana.’ [His co-writer] said, ‘How about Fendi sports bra?’ I thought, ‘It’s probably good because I don’t know what that is.’ Boom, that kinda happened, we rolled with it in minutes.”
First of all: “Baby’s got a habit: diamond rings and marijuana” is a line that would have changed Instagram bios around the world. Second of all, it’s striking how antiquated this edit feels. Is it not 2019? Artists can’t say “marijuana” on the radio?
For his part, Cyrus doesn’t seem particularly upset. Why would he be: the song is his highest-charting single ever, sitting at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for 17 weeks. Yeehaw.
TELL US, would you drink cannabis-infused