Marijuana is not just for getting baked anymore. As it becomes legal in more states, the wacky tobacky also is leaving its leafy green mark on American marketing.
From backpacks and bed sheets to toilet seats and thong underwear, cannabis culture is inspiring pot-themed products faster than Wiz Khalifa can burn through a dime bag.
And in advance of 420 — a kind of Stoner’s New Year celebrated on April 20 — plenty of people have been shopping for legal ganja goods, even where the drug is still vilified and against the law.
On a recent day, Kerry Baker (yes, that’s her real name) browsed the marijuana-themed products at Spencer’s Gifts in Oak Park Mall.
Never miss a local story.
“420’s (here) and I have to represent,” said the 25-year-old Leawood woman, who sports a small marijuana-leaf tattoo on her neck. “For so long, weed was just underground. Now it’s starting to come into the light. And even though it’s not legal here yet, just look at all these weed products you can buy at the mall. There’s a growing market for this stuff. And that probably means more changes are on the way.”
Of course, critics are holding their noses at this trend. Some decry the products’ influence on children. Others worry about the message they send about a drug that’s still federally illegal.
“I think this is just awful,” said Janice Rogers, a mother of three from Olathe who tries to keep her children away from such things. “This drug is against the law. And I don’t think they should be allowed to sell all these products with pictures of that leaf on them. What message is that sending?”
While you could buy marijuana T-shirts and posters from head shops in the ’60s, you likely couldn’t buy a marijuana leaf dog toy, “Chronic Candy” lollipops made with hemp oil, or gold-tone, crystal-embellished marijuana-leaf dangle earrings — especially not from one of the country’s largest retailers.
Now Amazon.com has an entire section called “Weed Gifts.”
Jason Spatafora, managing partner of marijuanastocks.com — known as the Wolf of Weed Street — said the trend makes sense.
“As the industry becomes more accepted to a wider populace, these products and novelty items are going to sprout up everywhere because it’s not as taboo,” he said.
Currently 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana in some form. Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon have legalized small amounts of pot for recreational use. And for the first time, a majority of Americans believe marijuana should be legal, according to the Pew Research Center.
So as marijuana legally makes its way into more homes, marijuana-themed home decor and clothing follow suit.
Want to doze off in a bed fitted with Mary Jane sheets, pot-leaf pillow cases and a cannabis comforter? Sleep well, stoners. Not only can you buy these products online, for 10 measly bucks you can add one-piece Rasta-Stripe Weedman Pajamas. Yup, the very same ones worn by weed fan Miley Cyrus.
In the morning you can use the “Pot Pot,” a rainbow neon-swirl toilet seat decorated with real marijuana leaves (minus the THC). That is, if you can find one. It’s currently sold out.
Then you can wash your hair behind a hand-painted marijuana-leaf shower curtain before donning pot-themed boxers, briefs or — yes — thong underwear.
Oh, but you’re just getting started. Pull on a pair of pot-leaf socks, “Wake and Bake” lounge pants, a “420-Friendly” T-shirt and marijuana-leaf unisex shoes. Add a rubber belt, dog tags, sunglasses, wallet, watch, iPhone case and shoelaces — all with a sticky-icky theme — and you’re ready to take on your day.
But not before you play a few video games on your PlayStation, complete with pot-leaf sticker wraps for the console and controllers.
Wait. Aren’t you running late?
Ha! How would you know? You replaced all your conventional clocks with 420 weed wall clocks (where the time is always 4:20).
Just then your dog comes in looking cold. Good thing you bought that light pink “Free the Weed” hooded sweatshirt made especially for pooches.
Hold still, Smoky.
The $3 billion national marijuana market could top $10 billion by 2020 amid rising demand and expected new state markets, says San Francisco-based angel investor network ArcView Group.
“In the midst of this social experiment to abolish cannabis prohibition, entrepreneurs are jumping into a Wild West-like landscape of marijuana market opportunities,” wrote one pundit “This new gold rush sometimes is referred to as a ‘green rush,’ led by ‘ganjapreneurs.’ Beyond actual pot production and sales, more ancillary businesses are emerging, including … e-commerce companies.”
As in potgifts.com, purveyors of “Aunt Sandy’s Medical Marijuana Cookbook” or “Sex Pot: The Marijuana Lover’s Guide to Gettin’ It On.”
But even in states that have legalized the drug, there is pushback.
In January, authorities at the Denver Airport banned the sale of marijuana-themed products, fearing they could tarnish the state’s image.
“We don’t want (that) to be the first thing our visitors experience when they arrive,” airport spokesman Heath Montgomery said. “There’s a lot more to our state than marijuana.”
Airport brass already had forbidden pot possession and marijuana-related advertising. They extended the ban after a retailer sought a free-standing kiosk to sell souvenirs that played off Colorado’s place as the first state to allow recreational marijuana sales.
A mere bump in the road for reefer fans, said Spatafora.
Whether you like marijuana or hate it, he said, “this isn’t going away any time soon.”
420 FOR DUMMIES
The term 420 — also known as “Stoner’s New Year” and “Miller Time for hippies” — began in 1971 with five friends known as the Waldos at San Rafael High School, just north of San Francisco. They heard a rumor that a member of the Coast Guard could no longer tend his marijuana plot in the Point Reyes forest, so they decided to look for it. For weeks the group met at 4:20 p.m. — after various athletic practices ended — to smoke weed and search for the orphaned patch. A few of them later hung out with Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, who lived in the area. While the Waldos never found the patch, their meeting time — spread by Deadheads and written about in High Times Magazine — became an international code word for getting high.