There’s no denying that marijuana, or rather the lifestyle surrounding the use of weed, has been a popular (albeit taboo) mainstay in pop culture and social acceptance for the better part of the last 40-some odd years. With a rampant acceptance, as not only a medical alternative for some, providing other possibilities of pain relief for those with AIDS, HIV, Terminal Cancer and PTSD, there’s also been a growing appreciation for the flowery buds as a recreational drug like alcoholic beverages. States like Colorado and Washington have already jumped on the opportunity to sell cannabis in a myriad of shops around the region, and medical marijuana dispensaries are starting to become as common as pharmacies throughout the West coast.

Considering the possibilities of legalization of pot in America, what does that spell for the commonly misrepresented conservative South?

Mason-Dixon Green

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks of the states of the former Confederacy? The American South, at least by today’s pop culture references, is usually synonymous with racial tension, inbred cohabitation, high caloric fried food, and a blind acceptance of Christian Faith over substantial scientific study. Awkward stereotypes aside, there’s more to abhor to in regard to culture under the Mason-Dixon line than what most 20-somethings care to admit. With mounting pressure from a majority of the west to mid-west of America switching gears on Marijuana acceptance, there is a burgeoning “Weed Culture” in many cities like Asheville, NC, Austin, TX and Nashville, TN, which wants to bring open dialogue about the possibility of matching, if not exceeding, the firmly-established weed culture of their West Coast peers.

Smoking green in public and having it on your person is still a punishable offense in the Southeast and Marijuana Dispensaries continue to be a hot topic in discussion with state legislature throughout the region, but continued acceptance of its use remains a growing and thriving trend. In North Carolina, after recent legislation of the US Justice Department allowed western North Carolina American Indian Tribes authority to legalize marijuana in reservations and the decriminalization of Marijuana in simple possession cases or medical use, The Smokey Mountain city of Asheville has always been a widely accepting community in support of Marijuana culture.

Below the Belt, The Bible Belt

Nashville, TN, the “Country Capital of the World” has recently decriminalized Marijuana Possession when Nashville Metro council voted 35-3 to give final approval of legislation that allows Nashville police the option of reducing the penalty for people who are found in knowing possession of a half-ounce of marijuana or less to a $50 fine or 10 hours of community service.

on a September 2016 article on The Tennessean. This was thought to be menial in comparison to Denver, CO’s acceptance of green, considering how the town was notorious for tacking on absurd charges with equally ridiculous sentences, its more so a step forward in the right direction than a resurgence of “Reefer Madness” claims.

In a recent review of Marijuana Policy, Texas Legislature has been working diligently to introduce the Texas Compassionate Use Act, a bill that “allows for the use of cannabidiol (CBD) only by intractable epileptics who've had the drug prescribed by their own doctors,” as stated in a recent article on The Austin Chronicle. What that’ll mean for the state and the future of marijuana use is still subjective at best, as there’s an undeniable sense of accomplishment for the growing Austin weed culture to flourish in the years to come, albeit with constant threat of drug raids like those reported in 2015 at four People’s Pharmacy locations.

The Weed Southern Trendkill

The point is, that while slow to grow on many state governments, the awareness and cultural acceptance is still very much prevalent in the face of much conservative repudiation. To say that the South is slow to change may be a bit of an understatement; its not to say that change isn’t eminent in the growing awareness of bud becoming recognized as an alternative to a late-night bender at any growing metropolis.