1950: The Beat Generation experiments with marijuana

1950: The Beat Generation experiments with marijuana

The Beat Generation was a group of American post-World War II writers who came to prominence in the 1950s, as well as the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired.

Central elements of “Beat” culture included rejection of received standards, innovations in style, experimentation with drugs, alternative sexualities, an interest in Eastern religion, a rejection of materialism, and explicit portrayals of the human condition.

The original members used many different drugs, including alcohol, marijuana, benzedrine, morphine, and later psychedelic drugs, including peyote, yage, and LSD.

Much of this usage was “experimental” in that they were often initially unfamiliar with the effects of these drugs. They were inspired by intellectual interest, as well as simple hedonism.

Photo: Jack Kerouac reading one of his short stories in New York City, 1958. Photo by Phillip Harrington (Alamy).
Research and text © Hempshopper Amsterdam.