here aren’t many opportunities to present medical cannabis in video games—but for the first time, gamers can choose to medicate in-game as a reflection of the growing cannabis industry. Five years since Rockstar Games’ last full-fledged Grand Theft Auto (GTA) title, GTA V released last month earning 800 million dollars in the first 24 hours of release—with 13 million copies sold, which is more than 2012’s blockbuster, Call of Duty: Black Ops II—topping a whopping 1 billion two days later. The game follows the stories of three criminals in the city of Los Santos, a 49-square mile town modeled closely after Los Angeles. The cannabis industry makes its appearance in this model LA where the familiar green neon leaf hangs above Los Santos’ very own medical cannabis dispensaries. Aside from Los Santos’ affordable healthcare the city states that “There are many dispensaries for those that grow truly sick of running out of [cannabis]” meaning that players can choose to self-medicate and even own dispensaries. GTA V’s main gameplay of course attests to its M rating for mature audiences, sending players on a variety of gun-blazing missions in both single-player and online modes. Players can frolic through this sandbox world with a stolen car or plane of choice while taking selfies with an “iFruit” mobile phone and posting their ventures on “Lifeinvader. com.” The quick rise to fame for GTA V is impressive to say the least, and is evidence of just how comfortable popular culture is getting with cannabis—no doubt that this will be a common occurrence in the world of gaming from here on out.
70 CULTURE • OCTOBER 2013
V I S I T U S AT i R e a d C u l t u r e . c o m