Hidden in Plain View: Cannabis Clubs, Visibility, and Power in the Urban Landscapes of the Bay Area and Amsterdam

Joen Madonna : Geography

Mentor: Professor Paul Groth, Geography

Understanding landscapes as a representation of our culture is a part of the human experience. Although often unaware consciously of the way our buildings and streets shape our attitudes and opinions, the things seen and “unseen” have a profound effect on our perspective of the world around us. We think of public space as normalized and “legal”, yet the storefront medicinal cannabis clubs challenge our ideas of what is visible or invisible. These spaces, hidden in plain view, represent our political and social conflicts over power and permission in urban landscapes. Joen will investigate what this developing landscape represents to our collective culture, proposing that the ambiguous legality of marijuana use and distribution in the Bay Area is represented in the physical environment and location of cannabis clubs, and will compare this landscape to Amsterdam’s established and legal cannabis coffeehouses.