For Marijuana Smokers, A Weed Manicure Is High Fashion
Behold, the weedicure.
Nowadays, women who love marijuana are taking dope nails literally.
They’re having real pot added to their manicures.
Kat, a dancer, coined the name “weedicure” when she posted a pic of her latest nail job (pictured) and the term.
Yes, that’s real weed — and some sparkle — embedded in her acrylic fingernails.
After her “awesome nail lady” posted a photo of a weedicure online, Kat decided she had to have one, too.
“I told her I wanted to do that, and she told me, ‘Bring your own green,'” Kat explains. “We just took a bud, and broke it up small enough that it wouldn’t be too lumpy, and then mixed it with acrylic powder and green, gold, and orange glitter. It’s the same process as getting an acrylic set with glitter tips, except with pot. I wanted to add orange and gold glitter, and I love how it looks like kief.”
As for price, she reports of her BYOW weedicure: “It’s $45 for a full set, no extra charge!”
She’s not the only one getting Mary Jane nails. Instagram may have banned the hashtag #weed, but a search of #weednails and its variations produced weed nails spotted at the High Times Cannabis Cup pot festival, impressive weed nail art, #actualweedinmynails, an homage to 4/20 week, and a money-and-weed assemblage featuring tiny weed leaves — among others.
Weed nails appear to be popular among women who love weed, women who like complicated manicures, and women who enjoy combining the two. It’s a statement manicure. The statement being: I love weed.
Sophy Robson, the self-described “flyest nail artist” in London, whose nail work has appeared on the hands of Kate Moss, Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift, Miranda Kerr, and Rachel Weisz, as well as in ads for Tom Ford, Jimmy Choo, and Céline, is not a fan of the weedicure.
It’s “ratchet,” she says.
“Apparently having actual marijuana embedded in to your (fake obviously) nails is a latest thing in America,” she asserted in an email through her rep. “I’d say stay clear unless you want to get arrested or (did I miss this becoming legal?) and never want to be taken seriously as a nail professional. I can’t take this seriously to be honest. If it appeals to rebellious teenagers then good luck to them. It’s like walking around with a sign on you saying I take drugs and the nail equivalent of those t-shirts which say ADIHASH!”
In Robson’s view, the weed manicure is tantamount to Miley Cyrus twerking at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. “The nail industry will continue to be seen as some kind of ratchet embarrassing joke with stunts like this,” she added. “It’s like singers twerking and expecting to be taken seriously. Next!” (No matter, one imagines, that a popular Tumblr run by Robson is called NailPorn.)
Pot’s not the only drug that’s showing up on nails. During my nail art research, I found nods to cocaine, Prozac nails, polishes with names like Black Beauties that come in capsule-shaped bottles labeled DOSE, and tiny nail bed piles of micro-pharmaceuticals. In Mexico, a woman showed off nails that celebrated a “narco patron saint.”
Nails painted with pot themes are nothing new, but the popularity of nail art is what spawned the over-the-top weedicure.
Nail art takes the manicure to a whole new level, adding rhinestones, artwork, and miniature accessories. During the Ming Dynasty, long nails indicated one wasn’t required to perform hard labor. Today’s blinged-out nail art has its roots in African-American culture. Extremist fashionistas like Nicki Minaj (who collaborated with OPI on a nail polish line) and Lady Gaga (reportedly, a fan paid $12,000 for a package of Lady Gaga memorabilia that included what was purported to be one of the star’s acrylics) have taken nail art mainstream. There’s even a Nailympics.
According to a 2012 report on nail art in the LA Times, as of mid-last year, “consumer spending on nail products and accessories at the mass-market level had increased 23% over the previous year to more than $1 billion, according to Symphony IRI Group, a Chicago-based market research firm. And the number of nail salons nationwide doubled between 1997 and 2007.” Meanwhile, the Cut ventures nail art has jumped the shark, pointing to slowed growth in the now-saturated nail polish market.
A high-end, non-weed nail art job can run you in the neighborhood of $100 — or more, for extras. NPD Group’s 2013 Nail Care and Polish Consumer Report found over half of women over 18 purchased nail products or services in the preceding year and spent an average of $204 for salon services. Big names like Revlon have gotten into the nail art business, as well. In an exhibition this year at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, artist Dzine, whose Nailed traces the history of nail art, recreated the bootleg nail salon his mother ran out of his childhood living room as an art installation in which manicurists gave manicures to museum visitors. A 2012 incarnation of the piece at Art Basel Miami Beach starred Tilda Swinton getting her nails done.
But will your weedicure get you busted?
“It really depends on where you are,” says Morgan Fox, communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, DC-based non-profit that lobbies for marijuana policy reform. “In Colorado and Washington, I’m sure that would be perfectly legal. In other places, not so much.” With marijuana laws in flux, it may be best to rock your weedicure in states where pot is legal.
Fox seemed confused when I described the pot manicure to him. “I’ve never heard of anything like that, and I’m not sure what the point is,” he said. He believes it’s unlikely your weedicure would result in your arrest: “I would guess it would fall well underneath the misdemeanor level in some states.” He suggested a wait-and-see approach. No arrest? You’re good. Someone gets charged? “Then maybe we’d have something to worry about.”
Fellow Forbes contributor, Reason editor, and Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use author Jacob Sullum wondered if the weed in the manicures I spotted was real.
“If that really is cannabis, it is just as illegal as any other kind of marijuana possession: prohibited by federal law everywhere and by state law pretty much everywhere except Colorado and Washington,” he advised. “But the feds generally do not get involved in petty marijuana cases, and in some states (e.g., California and Maine) possessing that amount of pot is not an arrestable offense, although it can be punished by fines. Note that in New York, embedding marijuana in your fingernails probably would count as ‘public display,’ a misdemeanor, as opposed to mere possession, a citable offense (for 25 grams or less).” He pointed out a possible problem to flaunting a weedicure even in Denver, Colorado: a proposed local ordinance that would make it “unlawful for any person to openly and publicly display or consume one (1) ounce or less of marijuana” — although a recent revised version constrains the area to specific downtown areas.
“Hopefully,” Kat says, “TSA won’t notice when I fly.”
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The weedicure unites getting high and getting your nails done.