CHICAGO — Cannabis has been used medicinally, recreationally, and industrially for years. At Mission South Chicago, they are all about infusing art with the science of cultivating cannabis to make the right blend of education and entertainment.
Pat Zielinski, manager of Mission South Cannabis, invited A.J. Tarzian to create an artistic exhibit on the origins of cannabis called “Mission Trail to 420.”
The origins of cannabis date to Southeast Asia.
“We first see it off the coast of Thailand,” Zielinski said. “It moves very quickly into southeast Asia and then into China. Then cannabis just spreads all throughout the world.”
Traded like other commodities it travels the globe, many historians believe it arrived with regularity in the U.S. in the early 20th century in the southern states that border Mexico.
“We saw an increase in consumption when Mexican immigration of the early 20s from there it went from cannabis to Marijuana,” Zielinski said. “The evil marijuana from Tijuana.”
From there it became a mainstay in the jazz community of New Orleans.
But then conservative segments of society very much disapproved and the marketing campaign to stigmatize marijuana came into full bloom in 1936 with the release of the movie “Reefer Madness.” The plant was outlawed one year later.
But by the 1960s, hippies eager to make a break from the WWII generation of their parents, fully embraced it and it gained more traction in the music scene.
And in time it made appearances in movies from “Easy Rider” to “Cheech and Chong” to the cult classic “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”
By the 1900s, the medical community starts promoting and endorsing the benefits of cannabis physically and psychologically.
Even more artists like Snoop Dogg capitalize on the movement. So too do country stars like Willie Nelson and Toby Keith.
Eighteen states now allow for recreational cannabis. In Illinois, it’s been on the books since January 2020.
That year according to state records, $669 million was sold. That figure rose to $1.4 billion in 2021. However, many Americans still and always will oppose its use.
A Gallup poll from November of 2021 more Americans than ever before are OK with it.
About 68% of people in the U.S. support marijuana consumption but along party lines far more Democrats at 83% are in favor than just 50% of Republicans.
Back at Mission South Chicago, 420 and all it has come to represent is a day of celebration in the ongoing mission to teach the benefits of the plant.