Despite global efforts at legalization, marijuana remains a tricky topic: In some places, smoking pot can land folks in jail, with Black folks making up a disproportionate amount of those arrests, while in others it’s part of everyday life. As more states and countries open up to legalizing cannabis for both medicinal and recreational purposes, a parallel wave of aesthetic innovations has risen to cater to a particular subset of cannabis consumers: well-heeled, design-savvy users who seek and appreciate the wellness benefits of cannabis.
Thanks to legalization efforts and the rise of “Big Bud,” the worldwide market for cannabis was $10.60 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow to $97.35 billion by 2026. Meanwhile, global demand for marijuana has surged during the COVID-19 crisis, particularly for edibles.
Against this backdrop arrives High on Design (published by Gestalten), a new coffee-table book that highlights many of the top brands and key players now defining the high-end marijuana products industry. These players are launching products that appear more like design pieces than hippie accoutrements. High on Design takes readers through the history and science behind this controversial plant, while showcasing projects that every design-and-cannabis aficionado will appreciate.
The book is more than an exploration of the cannabis lifestyle, it’s a source of inspiration for artisans or impresarios exploring this rapidly growing business. And activists will enjoy it too: Each chapter echoes a cry to review drug prohibition policies and normalize marijuana in an age where demands for social justice are percolating at every level.
Touching upon the essential elements of cannabis culture, the book is filled with images from visually striking cannabis companies. There are the retro-style branding references used by Old Pal—a California-based cannabis purveyor—along with upscale handblown glass pipes like the those produced by Laundryday and the ceramic bongs created by Summerland, which can double as decor objects (i.e. flower vases) or the elegantly tasty goodies from Défoncé infused edibles.
High on Design also features herb dispensaries like West Coast leaders MedMen and Serra—which look and feel stylish like boutiques selling perfumes or the latest tech gadgets—along with media publications such as Broccoli and Gossamer, two platforms that are redefining the way we write about ganja.
This book was born out of a need to place cannabis in a new light—from both a political and a legal perspective, but also in a cultural sense. Whereas cannabis consumers were once stereotyped as lazy stoners and criminals, today people from all walks of life—from the creative to the entrepreneurial—have rediscovered the plant and its purported medicinal and psychological benefits.
Consumers are also beginning to discover the physio-social aspects of marijuana—from the all-important endocannabinoid system, which can regulate sleep and appetite, to aroma-impacting terpene profiles, to the religions that consume weed as a sacred ritual to connect with the gods. They’re all chronicled in High on Design next to products and pieces that we may one day soon begin seeing at the next Salone del Mobile or Maison Objet. Long gone are the days of flower-power paraphernalia: The future of weed is here.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest