Cannabition is as Instagrammable as SF’s Museum of Ice Cream, except visitors may learn a bit about cannabis in between selfies with Hunter S. Thompson’s Caddy.
With its sprinkle bath and the swing installed in a nook filled with pink aerosol whipped cream, San Francisco’s Ice Museum is the house Instagram built – fun for 8 year olds and inner 8 year olds alike. And now that it has regular digs, the cheerful, pink-clad teachers will probably be with us for a long time too. Like the Color Factory and candytopia, it is part of a new crop of immersive installations that build on Jeff Koons and Claes Oldenburg, asking customers to have wholesome fun for an hour and posting all the selfies to prove it.
Newly opened near Las Vegas’ Fremont Street Experience is the next logical extension of this trend: cannabit, the immersive cannabis museum. It’s full of sculptures of oversized buds in giant plastic bags – plus a plump Buddha to sit on and the world’s largest blown glass bong. “Bongzilla”, made in collaboration with Jerome Baker Designs, is 24 feet tall, and the bubbling chamber is the size of the Weird Sisters’ cauldron from Act I, Scene I of Macbeth. While you can’t smoke out of it, you can pose as if you are – and timed tickets mean there won’t be an abundance of impatient people queuing behind you.
Under the UV lighting, those giant furry buds look a bit like Sweetums the Muppet (or maybe viruses magnified 1,000,000 times). But the area designed to look like a grow room is noticeably brighter. It probably goes without saying that while Nevada allows recreational cannabis, you can’t buy one on site (although a shuttle to a pharmacy is in the works). Furthermore, Las Vegas is currently considering the possibility of cannabis lounges, and Cannabition will be ready to hop on that train once it leaves Terrapin Station.
When SF Evergreen took a tour, just hours before Cannabition opened to the public, the air was still heavy with the smell of paint. But while it wasn’t fully open yet, the museum had one advantage over its peers: actually educating people about stuff. While the Museum of Ice Cream tries hard to come out as a museum through pointless wall trivia about things like which state produces the most ice cream – surprise: it’s California! — Cannabition has an entire wall devoted to explaining the different types of marijuana. If you’re a little fuzzy on the differences between Northern Lights and White Widow, or if you want to know which ones have analgesic properties and which ones are anti-inflammatory, you can learn more about them.
And without disrespect for the Sprinkle Pool, which is really fun, Cannabition has Hunter S. Thompson’s beautifully restored Cadillac convertible. He is the paradigmatic Boomer icon and perhaps few millennials have ever read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but the creamy white interior is just cool. There are a few other visual jokes for the savvy, like the white rhinoceros mounted on a wall above two Space Age egg chairs (spoiler alert: that’s the name of a different species). And Thomas Jefferson, who wears sunglasses, presides over a copy of the 2014 Cannabis Declaration of Independence. It is, of course, on hemp paper. Did you know that the US could soon legalize hemp as a crop, thanks in no small part to the efforts of all-square Senator Mitch McConnell, whose home state of Kentucky has historically been a major hemp producer? The future is now.
Cannabition – Immersive Cannabis Museum, inside Neonopolis, 450 Fremont St. #140, Las Vegas. $24.20-$42, cannabition.com