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Boston Deserves a Cannabis Culture of Its Own

October 25, 2018
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Boston’s cannabis culture has operated underground for more than half a century. In coming weeks, with the opening of the first legal state-licensed retail stores, it will finally emerge into the open light.


Massachusetts Cannabis Product Guide

Ultimately, Boston needs a cannabis culture of its own that’s unique to the people here and reflects who we are. We don’t need to be East Coast Colorado or California-on-the-Charles. Those are fun things to say, and it makes for a tight soundbite, but as a roadmap to regional identity, I’m against it. We’re not Colorado. We’re not California. We’re Boston. And I dare you to try to find someone who doesn’t hear that and beam with pride.

The potential here is vast.

In Boston proper, as well as in Dorchester, Roxbury, and the surrounding townships, you have creative, artsy groups meshing the gothic and alternative stoner cultures together in fun and colorful ways. I love these folks.

You also have upscale, on-demand, custom-service operations that host private parties in residential homes, creating infused dinners and personalized events for adults of every stripe, career, sexual persuasion, political ranking, and celebrity status. You’d be surprised.

And yes, the parties are as fun as you’d imagine.

Until now, most of Boston’s public cannabis events have been focused on education and advocacy—the important stuff that moves agendas. The Boston Freedom Rally, a multiday extravaganza of cannabis education, outreach, activism, and celebration, is nearing its third decade.


The Best Medical Cannabis Products in Massachusetts

Even giving those events their proper due, it’s clear that Boston lacks the visible, open cannabis scene that exist in other 420-friendly municipalities, like LA, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, and Portland. But it doesn’t have to.

The potential here is vast. In the coming weeks and months, Boston can carve out its own robust cannabis identity. We have a culture of excellence here in Massachusetts. We value science, medicine, and education. We’re a technology hub that cultivates talent at the highest levels. We also value hard work, grit, and determination. Our sports culture is founded on a tradition of resilience and excellence. Our heroes are tough, show-up-to-work types: Dustin Pedroia, Big Papi, Joan Benoit, Robert Parish, Bobby Orr.

Marcus Johnson-Smith's Bio Image

Marcus Johnson-Smith

Marcus Johnson-Smith is co-founder of Kush Groove (, a Boston-based lifestyle and apparel boutique. An entrepreneur, writer, and marketing professional, Marcus is also a member of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission’s Citizens Review Committee. Follow him on Instagram at @mjohnsonsmith.

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