High art: how the creative world is helping legal weed rebrand itself

By Guardian Staff

Artists, including Richard Prince and Kenny Scharf, are working with ‘creative cannabis agencies' on campaigns to modernize marijuana's stoner image

It's July 2016. At Los Angeles art gallery Blum and Poe – the same venue that hosted Kanye West's Famous sculpture – the air tingles with the sweet smoke of cognac-brined hotdogs and marijuana. Reggae plays on the patio, and the sprinkling of guests seems outnumbered by the security guards hulking against the dusk.

In a small back gallery hangs a lineup of 16 framed issues of High Times – the world's foremost weed-focused publication – pulled from the archive by the artist Richard Prince. Across the room, two employees from high-end medical marijuana growers, Nameless Genetics pack souvenir joints of their latest product, a boutique strain of weed called John Dogg, bred in the Prince's honor and named after his alter ego. Go big on terps – AKA terpenes, the aromatic hydrocarbons that give marijuana its flavor – and John Dogg is the result. It's an interesting mix: Blum and Poe; counterculture stalwart High Times; nu-age grower Nameless Genetics, and Prince. And it's a meeting of the minds concocted by self-described “creative cannabis agency” Green Street.

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