Located at Carrer Ample 35 in Barcelona is the 482 sqm Hash Marihuana and Hemp museum.
Open from 11am to 8pm most days, you can explore it on your own, or take a guided tour. Cost is about 9 euro for a entertaining and informative visit.
As an Australian, I do understand that there is more to Hemp than getting high. Why? Australia was colonised by the British in the late 1700s. A British sailing ship required about 80 tonne of hemp (320 acres produced this amount). Britain required a colony for growing hemp. Sir Joseph Banks ordered the First Fleet to Australia to carry hemp. (The word Cannabis was also used by Dutch for the word Canvas, as in sails).
Among its many uses hemp can be used for sails, rope, paper, food, clothing, oil, beer, bedding, medicine, even car parts. I have been using hemp seeds in my salads and smoothies for years. They are a great source of protein and Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
So, it was with great curiosity that I visited this museum that covers hemp from cultivation to consumption. The actual building competes with the museum for splendour. The building was originally build in the sixteenth century as a palace. Each room is beautiful and displayed in different styles of floors, walls and windows. The stained glass windows are spectacular.
Opened in Barcelona in 2012 by Ben Drokers, who established a similar museum in Amsterdam in 1985, the displays show the historical, current and future uses of Hemp. There is a great emphasis of Hemp’s uses in the medicinal applications.
There are over 12,000 cannabis related objects in the museum and as I wandered from beautiful room to beautiful room my education was expanded on the uses of this amazing product. I also enjoyed the short films that were shown. Historical paintings and drawings show cannabis smokers, as well as more modern photos. There are several hundred interesting and intriguing pipes and smoking implements in the collection, from all over the world. The oldest are estimated to be over 3000 years old!
To give fairness to the anti-marihuana community there is a display of film posters, ads and articles promoting the madness of indulging in this “devil’s herb”.
Christopher Columbus would never have discovered the things he did without hemp. Even the base of the Christopher Columbus statue in Barcelona is decorated with hemp branches and leaves.
Medicinal marihuana is a main focus of the museum, both historical and future. This miracle plant has been used for centuries as a medicine. There is a wonderful collection of historical medicine bottles and displays of various marihuana corn plaster labels. Cannabis was a staple in doctor’s medical kits from the seventeenth century. It is only in the twentieth century that legal issues began to arise as to its use.
Whether you love it or leave it, this museum was extremely good value and absorbingly interesting. I highly recommend visiting.