This contribution is by Mike Johns, President of Digital Mind State
This love affair between our creativity and psychic elevation continues to play out before our eyes in popular culture. As a nation we’ve come a long way since Reefer Madness – not to mention Bob Dylan’s Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35 (and its “Everybody must get stoned” chorus), which was banned by numerous US radio stations in 1966.
Since then, depictions of marijuana in entertainment, from Cheech & Chong to the Harold & Kumar movies and even Pineapple Express, have gone increasingly mainstream. Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson and-self proclaimed ‘First Lady’ of the plant Rosanne Barr have all become national iconic figures for legalising the leaf.
A recent TIME Healthland article posits that ‘for the first time ever, a solid majority (56%) of Americans supports legalising marijuana for recreational use. This article confirms the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s April 2011 findings that ‘Marijuana use is now ahead of normal smoking. In 2010, 21.4% of high school seniors used marijuana in the past 30 days while 19.2% smoked cigarettes’.
This data is blatantly clear about one thing. Mainstream American values are finally lining up with what the commoners have always known: marijuana sales make sense. Consider these words from America’s founding father Thomas Jefferson: ”Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.”
Our founding fathers, including our first President George Washington, were all hemp growers and smokers. Even their clothing was made from it. Indeed, hemp is as American as apple pie and the Tea Party.
Holding true to our national spirit of expansion, enterprise and innovation, marijuana and technology now go hand-in-hand. Any search within the mobile world yields hundreds of images of the iconic hemp leaf, ringtone sound effects, mobile apps, and even games.
Take 420 Day for example. While it may yet be an unofficial holiday, thanks to the power of tweets, text messaging and blogs, marijuana users worldwide are officially connected. In recent years, every April 20th has seen a spike in the number of text messages featuring ‘Happy 420 Day’. This phenomenon, which was started by a niche subculture, has spread across America and even over the pond into the UK.
One of the most innovative and popular mobile apps is the free WeedMaps.com, a that lets users know where the closest dispensaries in their area. This app even provides directions to the location. Other popular apps include Nevergetbusted.com and Marijuana Strains by 216APPS, which features hundreds of marijuana strains, including ‘the greatest marijuana strains of all time’.
Moreover, in California, among other cannabis-supporting states, text messaging is being used to promote the latest batch of weed, discount offers, and or other incentives to drive sales from cannabis clubs. Text alerts such as: “Buy two for the price of one!” are commonplace.
Celebrities who have their own brands (or strands) of weed include Snoop Dogg, Charlie Sheen, O.G Kush, and Wiz Khalifa. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of celebrity strands is Willie Nelson’s Willie’s Wonder, which was produced by marijuana scientists who specialize in the DNA cross-breeding of various cannabis plants.
Marijuana has also made its way onto various social media including Facebook groups and Twitter. Twitter’s most popular hemp hashtags include #Marijuana, #Cannabis, #Hemp, #Pot, #Weed, #MMOT (Marijuana Movement on Twitter), #MariMonday and #HighTweets (tweets done while under the influence of marijuana).
The Grow Brothers have created and published several apps for mobile devices. The brothers created a company that provides entertainment to millions of marijuana smokers around the world. Seeing the success of mobile games such as Roll-A-Joint, and Garden of Weeden (very funny, ed), The Grow Brothers designed Weed Farmer, which amassed 100,000 downloads in its first four weeks alone.
The game features special growing skills, trade with other players, and real-time communication. The game’s objective is simple. See who can grow the best weed, attain the highest skills, and make the most money. The game even has a leader board allowing players to see how their skills rank against other growers.
Now that marijuana has successfully infiltrated mainstream culture in form and in fashion, what’s next for the digital herb consumer? Consider this… One popular website, MedicalMarijuana.com, provides research-based information for patients, for caregivers, and for marijuana legalisation advocates. It also provides directories of doctors, attorneys, dispensaries, delivery services, and ‘cannabusinesses’.
Alhough Apple’s ‘Apple Morality’ clause essentially allows it complete control over the kind of information we can get on your phone, it exercises that right somewhat capriciously. Android and Google’s philosophy is that the market should decide and the platform places the power in the hands of the people.
What’s next? Maybe a mobile app scale that allows users to weigh out their stash. Maybe apps will allow you to select and purchase cannabis directly from your smartphone. Delivery service, apps, whatever, is on its way.
Now (and if all of this is your thing), take out your mobile, light up the darkness, and smoke something.