Contemporary cannabis magazines do more than sell bongs

Editors hope to elevate the conversation around marijuana

Today’s cannabis magazines do more than sell bongs. They celebrate cannabis culture.

Today’s cannabis magazines do more than sell bongs. They celebrate cannabis culture.

Photo by ken magri

Produced by N&R Publications, a division of News & Review.

Have you seen them at a dispensary? Those glossy, full-color magazines? There is a boom of cannabis publications these days, and they do more than simply educate users about flower strains and commercial brands. They normalize the public discourse on cannabis, helping to make it an accepted part of our social fabric. But it’s been a long journey.

In 1991, when Phil Kilv started Weed World in England, he said “the idea was a little more than taboo.” In 1997 he fought in court just to keep publishing. “I have seen global government attitudes ebb and flow towards cannabis,” said Kilv. After 26 years, he feels “the tide has well and truly changed.”

Culture magazine celebrated its 100th issue with a look back eight years at their beginning, when only 14 states had medical marijuana laws, and 60 percent of Americans were against legalization. Now, with features on cutting-edge celebrities like CNN’s Anthony Bourdain and the electro-dance duo Krewella, Culture is influencing how cannabis fits into our definitions of contemporary style.

Each magazine has its emphasis. Weed World focuses on cannabis strains and seeds, while Emerald offers ideas for cannabis infused meals, home brews, and do-it-yourself projects. Edibles List features recipes, and Dope magazine concentrates on activities like skateboarding and street art, with an emphasis on inclusivity. Elevate Nevada centers around the issues unique to the Silver State. “We came into the endeavor with a mission to shift the paradigm on weed magazines, as well as take away the stigma,” said Editor-in-Chief Beth Schwartz.

What all cannabis magazines have in common is advocacy. Determined to “normalize the plant,” Dope editor David Bailey says, “Our aim is to continue to illuminate issues that deserve our attention and must be addressed if we wish to both promote and create change.” Articles on research, medicine and responsible use point to the eventual goal of legalization. Together these magazines nudge cannabis culture closer toward the mainstream.

“We’ve watched as the cannabis industry has evolved greatly over the years,” said Jamie Solis, Culture Editor-in-Chief. “We are dedicated to achieving cannabis reform at the federal level.”