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What's up with the Bakken Museum 'throwing shade' at MN weed laws?

A photo of the museum's empty cannabis planter went viral thanks to a reddit post.

If you browse reddit or Twitter, there's a good chance you've heard about some vague feud (spoiler: there isn't one) between the Bakken Museum and the state of Minnesota over its marijuana laws.

And, apparently, there is — or isn't — a weed plant involved, or something?

It may seem like a strange thing to go viral, but thanks to a post on reddit's "r/Minnesota" forum this past week, that's precisely what happened.

Here's what all the fuss is about.

The reddit post

On Monday, a reddit user named Russ-B-Fancy submitted a post to r/Minnesota with the title, "Bakken Museum throwing shade at Minnesota's ridiculous marijuana prohibition laws."

It included a picture that shows a botanical exhibit consisting of an empty planter and a sign for cannabis — complete with a description of the plant.

Luckily, the sign calls out the elephant in the room with a section titled "Why is this plant missing?"

It explains that "current laws prohibit the Bakken Museum from growing cannabis," and provides this bit of historical context:

Beginning in the early 1900s, changing political agendas and societal, religious, and social perceptions about its mood-altering effects led to state and federal restrictions on the cannabis plant.

The post has sparked over a thousand "upvotes," 112 comments, and a lively discussion about Minnesota's marijuana policy. (Only medicinal marijuana is legal here, and it's tightly regulated; a bill to legalize the recreational kind failed in the Minnesota Legislature this year.) 

Interestingly, the display indicates it was sponsored by LeafLine Labs, which is one of only two of the state's authorized medical marijuana growers

It's part of a larger exhibit showcasing a variety of medicinal plants. 

The museum responds

So was the museum really "throwing shade" at Minnesota over its weed laws?

In short, nope.

As City Pages reports, throwing shade "wasn't the point."

Because the museum is "really about conversations," Bakken communications director Laura Whittet tells the magazine, they're pleased people are talking about the planter — but she made it clear that Bakken “is not taking a stance” on marijuana laws.

The Bakken Museum, which is located near Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis, focuses on "the history and nature of electricity and magnetism, Minnesota’s medical technology industry" and scientific innovations, according to its website. 

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