5 Facts About How Cannabis Was Used in the 1960s

The 1960s was the decade of the counterculture, which encouraged a revolution of social norms in clothing, music, drugs, dress, sexuality, formalities, and education. Some also describe the decade as one of irresponsible excess, flamboyance, and decay of social order, due to the abundance of drugs. Cannabis was among one of these drugs that became a symbol of the counterculture and “hippies”, who contributed to this widespread of socially accepted drug use.

In 1964, poets Allen Ginsberg and Ed Sanders founded LeMar (Legalize Marijuana), a group of pro-marijuana activists based in New York City. The organization staged a number of tiny protests with dozens of people marching with signs, including the famous sign “Pot Is Fun.” The marijuana-rights movement wasn’t significant enough to create much change, though it did create a large culture of cannabis consumers. In the summer of 1967, which became known as “The Summer of Love”, thousands of “hippies” descended into the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco to embrace a higher consciousness and obey the “Turn on, tune in, drop out” message from Timothy Leary, psychologist known for advocating the exploration of the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs. Marijuana also made its way into ‘60s music when songs with lyrics about marijuana played constantly on popular radio stations. Many legendary rock bands of the ’60s were inspired by marijuana and psychedelics, and many legendary bands and musicians are still inspired by marijuana and psychedelics today.

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It’s no secret that my husband and I are longtime cannabis and hemp advocates. We’ve cheered as the majority of Americans have come around to supporting legalization, and applauded as cannabis law reform spreads from state to state. Still, decades of prohibitionist propaganda have left many in the dark about the powerful wellness potential of these long-demonized plants.

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