Weed, California, is an old lumber town about halfway between San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, remarkable around the world for a painfully obvious reason.
Named after Abner Weed, an auspiciously named 19th-century timber baron who located his sawmill in the flatlands between the coastal range and Mount Shasta—a Cascade range summit that, at 14,000 feet, is the highest peak in California—this town of just under 3,000 souls once boasted the largest sawmill in the world.
Now, Weed, California is the world’s chief exporter of exhausted marijuana puns and cheap sight gags. Visitors and locals alike are subjected to a barrage of obvious jokes and hack allusions that nonetheless sustains the local souvenir trade.
It isn’t all funny: Weed’s name makes local newspapers, street signs and anything else daring to carry the “Weed” name a theft target. Things became so bad that a sign outside of town, directing motorists which way to turn for the local community college and which way to go for town—“College” this way, “Weed” that way, the sign read—was at some point removed.
Wait—that’s very funny! Let’s all chuckle at Weed, California being the butt of the world’s middle-school-caliber jokes. Because, following the recent legalization of medical cannabis sales within Weed city limits, the output of fire puns and dorm room wall-worthy humor is poised to increase exponentially.
On May 11, the Weed City Council joined the rest of California and voted to allow medical marijuana dispensaries within Weed city limits, as the Mt. Shasta News reported. Until now, weed sales had been illegal in Weed, California. Somewhere in China, a factory is turning out coffee mugs and bumper stickers.
Before you log onto Cafe Press and start designing “I bought weed in Weed” T-shirts, keep in mind Weed’s cannabis market must, by law, avoid the blindingly obvious.
When and if a cannabis store does open its doors in Weed, California, it will not be allowed to put the name “Weed” on its signage. Marijuana stores in Weed also won’t be able to hang a green cross or emblazon their signage with a marijuana leaf, the newspaper reported.
Because Weed is a serious and sober place. The city’s official slogan is “Weed like to welcome you,” according to a 2011 Atlantic article.
As it is, marijuana stores will be confined to a single stretch of town along State Highway 97—or, as it’s called within city limits, Weed Boulevard.
Ahem. If only there were a branding opportunity here.
There’s no word as to when Weed, California will start processing applications from eager entrepreneurs willing to be the first merchant to sell weed in Weed. But we know it will be the greatest day in Weed history.