The History of Cannabis Museum staff celebrates the opening with a ribbon cutting on April 20 in Northwest. (Photo by Steve Garrett)
The History of Cannabis Museum staff celebrates the opening with a ribbon cutting on April 20 in Northwest. (Photo by Steve Garrett)

The first cannabis museum on the East Coast opened in D.C. on the official weed holiday of 4/20.

The History of Cannabis Museum kicked off its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting officially opening its doors to educate the public on the plant.

The time to squash decades of bad rumors is now, according to Jason Forte, museum founder and owner of Grow Club DC, a membership-based service club providing legal, in-home marijuana plant maintenance and installation.

“This is Jason’s baby,” said Marché Reneé, events coordinator for the newly minted museum and its parent company, Grow Club DC. “He felt that the museum would reflect D.C.’s museum culture really nicely, and it’s the perfect time for people to educate themselves.”

Inside the History of Cannabis Museum at 1426 Park Road in northwest D.C. (Steve Garrett)

With the District’s recent marijuana legalization ordinance and similar laws approaching the rest of the country, D.C.’s newest museum offers the chance to learn how deep cannabis’ roots run throughout human history and dispel harmful stereotypes surrounding pot use.

Stepping down into the purple exhibit, a wall of ancient portraits greets you, setting you back 9,000 years before the first camera’s invention.

The first of three rooms explores marijuana’s early beginnings, documenting the 8000 B.C. era and civilizations in China, Southeast Asia that used, cultivated and traded cannabis.

“We really want to educate people more than anything,” Reneé said. “So many people have false perceptions of marijuana, though it’s one of the most useful plants on the planet.”

The museum curator plans to rotate the room themes every three months, and up next is the investigation of millennials, a generation with a unique relationship to cannabis.

“We have to keep it moving,” Reneé said. “The story of cannabis cannot be told in these three rooms, there’s so much to say.”

In the final two exhibits, celebrity culture and the science of cannabis comes into focus. Next to a chemical structure of THC, a placard notes marijuana’s presence in hundreds of pharmaceuticals in some shape or form today.

“Marijuana is known to treat over 15,000 illnesses and diseases,” Reneé said. “And it’s still viewed as something that makes people sluggish, criminal, violent or depressed. We want people to come read and learn how cannabis can be used to help people.”

Visit The History of Cannabis Museum, just a block away from the Columbia Heights Metro station at 1426 Park Road NW, on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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