Arts and Culture

Support the arts: get your medical marijuana card today

One classic argument made by supporters of the legalization of marijuana is that smoking weed never hurt anyone, and that alcohol consumption is the cause of "this many" deaths per year, not to mention domestic violence and other types of abuse. Now, some newbie growers in California have put pot to work in another way: funding the arts. The tack is obviously a win-win situation for everyone involved: good PR for growers and money for underfunded arts programs, and it's something pot proponents in Colorado should definitely consider adopting.

According to a New York Times article published on Monday, a group of forward thinking art -- and medicinal marijuana -- enthusiasts out of Sonoma County has come up with a brilliant idea: sell the highly profitable herbal remedy as a non-profit and use the cash to fund art projects and artist residencies in California. Colorado, with its similarly progressive policy on marijuana production and sales could benefit greatly from following suit.

The non-profit group Life Is Art just recently sold their first harvest to medical marijuana suppliers and were able to host 20 artists on their farm to do installations and sculptural works. They told the NYT their goal is to generate $1 million from next year's harvest to use toward supporting artists.

With states from New York to California cutting government funding for the arts, (according to The Art Newspaper, state funding for the arts has been dropping by 10 percent every year for the past few years) it seems foolish not to consider other avenues of bolstering the art community -- a community that truly enriches our lives.

I know, I can hear some of you saying, "well whoopty-do," but even if you're more economically minded, art also creates jobs and investment interest in the state, because people want to live in states that have a lot of art, for some odd reason -- wink.

To keep that art coming, the art community desperately needs financial support, and it is not getting it from the traditional sources: private philanthropists have had to reign in charitable contributions during the recession, and there's been much less support as well from governments, who, let's be honest, have "more important" things to worry about. Why not let Coloradans' undying love of getting wicked baked help bring art and artists to our great state?

Honestly, Colorado ranks as one of the lowest in state funding for the arts. What if we in Colorado took Life Is Art's example and used weed to support our arts? Coloradans, being the forward-thinking people that most of us are, should consider the implications presented by our friends in California. With the incredible demand for ganja in this state (and everywhere, frankly), we could have a blazing-hot art scene in no time (anyone who says we have one now is a liar), which would in turn create more business opportunities for everyone, not to mention more money coming to the state in tourist revenue. And we would all have more beautiful things to look at and consider in our lives. I say we go for it Colorado: plant the seeds... of change. Who's with me?

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Ben Dayton
Contact: Ben Dayton