Legal weed is the art world’s fabulous new patron

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Americans spend $60 billion a year on weed—so what do the people growing the 6th biggest cash crop in the country spend their money on? Functional and decorative art, of course.

The art world’s major annual Art Basel Miami Beach turned 20 this year. Galleries from five continents and countless US collectives flocked to medically legal Florida for three days, transforming the city into a place where ATMs rank you by wealth and bananas taped to walls sell for $120,000.

Cannabis makes fine art even finer, of course, and weed money has long-helped pay artists’ bills. Legalization and normalization just supercharges it. Gawk at these pics from cannabis-themed events at the 20th annual Art Basel.

(Terp Basel’s poster. Big brands like Alien Labs and the Runtz crew Joke’s Up sponsored it.)

Terp Basel year #1 morphed a skate park into a smoker’s paradise for three days celebrating art and cannabis culture—sponsored by west coast brands like Alien Labs, Terphogz, Jelly Wizard, Humboldt Terp Council, and Preferred Gardens. A blunt rolling competition, paint walls, and performances by Smoke DZA and Curren$y lit up the park. More and cannabis markets across the country have begun networking, and Terp Basel allowed California brands to show love for artistic creativity.

(”Superbloom” statue by Feral Studios, Inc. Photo courtesy of Scoochlifestyle.)
(”Superbloom” statue by Feral Studios, Inc. Photo courtesy of Scoochlifestyle.)
West Coast cannabis brands like Zkittlez strain crew, Terphogz, and hype flower grower Jelly Wizard help Miami celebrate Art Basel. (Photo courtesy of @scooch_lifestyle)
West Coast cannabis brands like Zkittlez strain crew, Terphogz, and hype flower grower Jelly Wizard help Miami celebrate Art Basel. (Photo courtesy of @scooch_lifestyle)

Dab Day—Art Basel Edition

(The Dab Day 2022 poster.)

On Saturday, the landscape of a whole city block became Dab Day, a festival “curating Florida medical cannabis culture.” This is where the crowd can take a minute to revive those creative juices with live painting, brand booths, music performances, a free arcade, and on-site glassblowing.

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(Toro Glass at Dab Day. Photo courtesy of Borovision.)
Dab Day included from glassblowing juggernauts like Toro (above), Banjo, Mothership (below), and Avant-Garde (The last two you can read about in Leafly’s Glasstravaganja). Photo courtesy of Borovision.)

Well-known sponsors like Puffco, LPP, Goldleaf, and Glob Mops ponied up the dough for artistic, memorable moments throughout the night.

(The Mins Marbles of Miami. Photo courtesy of @borophotographer)
(The Mins Marbles of Miami. Photo courtesy of @borophotographer)

Art Basel hosted the second year of the Mins pipe show, which included highly worked borosilicate glass marbles that fetch thousands of dollars. It helps to be extra-baked when you’re collecting rare, designer marbles.

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(Haap Glass and Mins Basel. Photo courtesy of Borophoto)

The free, three-day Mins Basel showcased more than twenty artists like Haaps (above), Bubbasface (below), Mike Gong, and JFell Glass.

Twice-daily drops went on a first-come, first-served basis alongside hypnotic visuals from Trevy Metal and GZ1, whose work was both part of the 2022 Puffcon celebration.

(Fume Glass. Photo courtesy of Borophoto)
(Found prison material mosaics from Brother Bob. Photo courtesy of Last Prisoner Project.)
Found prison material mosaics from Brother Bob. (Photo courtesy of Last Prisoner Project.)

Artist Brother Bob did 14 years in federal prison for weed. His vibrant prison works fuse slices of collected images into rich pop-art mosaics using nail clippers and prison toothpaste. Artwork by Brother Bob took center stage at a Last Prisoner Project pop-up at Art Basel.

(From right: Brother Bob, Richard DeLisi, Billy Dekle, & Randy Lanier. All former cannabis prisoners. Photo courtesy of Last Prisoner Project)
From right: Brother Bob, Richard DeLisi, Billy Dekle, & Randy Lanier. All former cannabis prisoners. (Photo courtesy of Last Prisoner Project)

Visitors also had the chance to meet the artists and experience book signings by Billy Dekle, and former race car driver Randy Lanier, both authors who each served over twenty-five years on cannabis charges.


Art Basel Miami is still very much the art world’s party, but cannabis is the hottie on the guest list. Who knows, next year we might see a $10,000 nug of Sour Diesel taped to the wall, or an interactive exhibit where you walk through a fake pot field with piped-in sights and sounds.

Here’s some more heady artists who showed at Art Basel; via Instagram.

Matt Jackson's Bio Image

Matt Jackson

Writer and designer Matt Jackson started in the California cannabis industry in 2004. Jackson holds a BA in Creative Writing from Humboldt State University. His work has appeared in Leaf Magazine, SF Station, Skunk Magazine, and the North Coast Journal.

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