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Museum Adds Weed Exhibit

A museum will soon become the first in California to dedicate an entire exhibit to marijuana and the local issues that surround it.

Oakland Museum of CaliforniaThe Oakland Museum of California, an Oakland-based facility that focuses on California heritage, will open Altered State: Marijuana in California in April 2016, museum officials said. The exhibit will include items illuminating the drug, its use, and the changing ways in which the public sees it.

The museum said Altered State is designed to spark conversation and reflection about weed. It will explore the history of pot, the social issues surrounding it, the politics that play into its increasing legalization, the science behind its medical use, and the wide variety of ways in which Americans view it. The interactive exhibit will also let visitors add their stories.

“California is on the verge of making important decisions around marijuana that will impact people living in this state,” said Kelly McKinley, director of the Oakland Museum of California Lab. “OMCA is a place where people can come together to learn, question, and add their voice to the different points of view around this topic at a very critical time in public decision making.”

California was first state to legalize medicinal marijuana

Cannabis has been legal for medical use since 1996, when Californians adopted the Compassionate Use Act at the ballot box. A vote to legalize the drug completely is likely to appear on next year’s ballot, and support for the idea is strong.

Even without a vote to legalize, California remains at the dead center of America’s marijuana industry. A large percentage of the nation’s cannabis is grown in three sparsely populated counties along the Northern California coast – the famed Emerald Triangle.

Museum officials said the exhibition is a chance to talk about the different ways people consume marijuana, regulate it, and punish its users. These conflicting views are currently playing out on the political field, and the discussion surrounding pot is only getting louder.

Altered State will explore cannabis’ history and use

Legalizing MarijuanaAltered State will present 10 alternative perspectives on weed in California, using historical, social, and scientific stories. The topics include Medical Marijuana, Cannabis Science, Profitable Pot, Criminal Dope, Sacred Ganja, Creative Grass, Politically Loaded, Evil Weed, Recreational Reefer, and Youth and Marijuana.

“The roles of museums in today‚Äôs world are shifting,” said museum Director Lori Fogarty. “At OMCA, we aim to inspire Californians to create a more vibrant future for themselves and their communities. As part of this, we are dedicated to being a place where people can come learn about complex topics and, more importantly, add their voices and stories to the dialogue. This exhibition is proof of that in action.”

Altered State will appear in the museum’s Great Hall from April 16 through Sept. 25, 2016. The Oakland Museum of California offers exhibits on art, natural science, and history related to California. The museum often uses a diverse range of first-person stories to explain complex issues.

Interactive exhibitions teach visitors about the ways nature, art, and culture shape the state, and allow them to place themselves within its context. The Oakland Museum of California has nearly 2 million objects and is one of the most respected cultural institutions in the San Francisco Bay Area.

About Matt Brooks

Based in San Francisco, Matt is a journalist who has specialized in marijuana policy for more than five years. He provides regular news coverage on and

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