Thank you for pot smoking.

These have long been the encouraging words of the American Cannabis Society, a pro-reefer action group founded in Madison in 1978. The organization continues to promote the virtues of the hemp plant, and participated in an enthusiastic Madison movement supporting marijuana that emerged decades ago.

Today, the legal climate seems more geared than ever toward long-awaited legalization. Some Madison residents continue the advocacy tradition, notably through the annual Harvest Festival.

But Madison and Mary Jane go way back:

1978 – American Cannabis Society members hand out marijuana merchandise to passersby.
Photo courtesy of UW Digital Collections

Speakers gather outside of the Capitol in support of that dank, dank greenery.
Photo courtesy of UW Digital Collections

The movement united students and citizens, a joint effort to promote the benefits of marijuana and push for its legalization. Though the notion turned out masses, it would be an uphill battle for years to come.

A cross-wielding protestor spreads the good word of herb.
Photo courtesy of UW Digital Collections

1972 – Students gather for a “J-Day” protest at this smoke-in demonstration.
Photo courtesy of UW Digital Collections

While Madison’s dedication to legal weed has not yet reached full success, it seems likely the plant will earn its place in the state in coming years.

Happy 4/20!