Cannabis Is Now Officially Modern Art

Cannabis is now official a medium for modern art.

Anybody who has a passion for cannabis cultivation will tell you that growing the beloved plant is just as much an art as it is a science. But now cannabis is getting recognized as an art form in an entirely different way. Last Sunday, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York displayed a selection of flower arrangements featuring hemp plants.

The arrangements were crafted by the Brooklyn-based artist Amy Merrick, who said her arrangements are based on Ikebanthe "super macho" ancient Japanese art of flower arranging. Each of the six arrangements were displayed on white pedestals and the exhibittitled Hothousewas intended more as a means to explore the beauty of the cannabis plant than to debate its complex legal status.

The plants for Merrick's arrangements were provided by Hudson Hemp, an upstate New York farm whose managers were thrilled to see cannabis displayed in a non-stigmatized way. 

"Seeing it intermingle with other flowers we all know—like birds of paradise, and fruits and vegetables—shows that it's natural, like all these other plants," Hudson Hemp Co-Founder and Vice President John Gilstrap told Leafly. "[An event like this] brings people out of the shadows."

The Hothouse exhibit comes at a time when broader cannabis legalization has become a key point of interest for New York lawmakers, with Gov. Cuomo promising to legalize the substance by April of next year. And it will likely get a much warmer reception in the state thanks to the efforts of Merrick and MoMA, whose work supports efforts to erode prejudices against cannabis.

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Few other entrepreneurs in the cannabis space have their hands in quite as many ventures as Lorne Gertner. Currently dubbed the "godfather of the Canadian cannabis industry," Gertner told Civilized, "If we could live through normalization, we could change the world." Hailing from the fashion industry, this Toronto native says he's on a mission to "make the world a better place through cannabis and design excellence." The only catch is, well, normalizing cannabis — and that's where Gertner's keen eye for style comes in. "In the old days, you were going to be different or you were going to be normal," said Thom Antonio, Gertner's friend, creative director, and collaborator of 35 years.

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