One of the historic events in American pop culture was the Woodstock Festival which happened in August 1969. Three days of live music where people could camp out became a massive success that a movie about the entire event was produced. And three things made it so popular: sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.
Since the Woodstock Festival had a free entrance, there were an estimated 500,000 people who made it. And 50,000 of them made it two days early. The popularity of the festival was phenomenal and that is thanks to the freedom they had. People were running around nude and even though the organizers of the event hired security, people were openly smoking marijuana aside from the others who were taking acid or LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs. All of this took place as they listened, watched, and sang along to their favorite musicians like Santana, The Who, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and many more iconic bands.
Cannabis was the most common substance in the Woodstock Festival. The security people did not sanction or arrest anyone for smoking pot because with that many people smoking, it would be impossible to get them to fit in the county prison. At that time, it was common knowledge that people were smoking pot. In a music video of “Coming to Los Angeles” by Arlo Guthrie, footage of people lighting up joints and pipes was shown. However, there was no actual footage of the substance. The video also showed the cops in the festival and one of them was happily eating his popsicle stick amidst the crowd. Marijuana legalization had not been passed in New York during the time of Woodstock but it was highly prevalent among the hippies.
Interestingly enough, even though the crowd reached over 500,000 people and there were drugs literally going around and being sold, it was relatively peaceful. Perhaps it was the combination of live music and the youth having the freedom to do as they pleased. Marijuana was a counter culture at that time but it was not tolerated in society and it was illegal. But during those three days at Woodstock, they could smoke all they wanted as much as they wanted. Even the artists were smoking joints before going on stage.
The Woodstock Festival of 1969 is a great example of how marijuana’s effects are not detrimental to society as compared to other drugs. It is a psychoactive drug with a few hallucinogenic effects but really it causes no harm. And now that medical marijuana has been approved in some states, it is clear that the effects of the drug are not detrimental to health either.