What’s so special about “Gateway”? Not much, at first appraisal. The word appears in more than 600 trademarks, including that of a pioneering U.S. computer company founded in 1985 in Sioux City, Iowa. (That company, whose original name was Gateway 2000, used a Holstein cow as its mascot; it was bought in 2007 by Taiwan-based Acer, which also acquired Gateway.com and which now produces computers under the Gateway brand.)
“Gateway” names abound in the San Francisco Bay Area thanks to the region’s association with the Golden Gate and the bridge that spans it. There are Gateway apartments, a Gateway Bank, a Golden Gateway hotel, and a long-planned Gateway Park at the foot of (confusingly) the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge.
But the Gateway I want to praise here is Oakland-based Gateway Incubator, which is named for a different sort of gateway.
That photo, via TechCrunch, is a giveaway: Gateway is California’s first incubator for cannabis startups (also known as ganja-preneurs). According to an East Bay Express article published last November, “Gateway LLC is backed by a leading weed industry holding company, MJIC, Inc., in partnership with ‘entrepreneur evangelist’ Ben Larson and Carter Laren, a director and mentor for the Founder Institute, ‘the world's largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program’.” Its online address is gtwy.co. And the gateway in the name is a sly allusion to gateway drug, defined by the OED as “a drug (such as cannabis or alcohol) perhaps regarded as relatively harmless or non-addictive in itself but perceived as leading to the use of hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine.” The term originated in the U.S.; the OED’s earliest citation is from a 1982 article in the Journal of Drug Education: “The course was attitudes toward the use of the ‘soft’ or ‘gateway’ drugs (i.e., tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana).”
I spotted another twist on gateway drug at Altered State, a new exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California that examines marijuana’s role in California’s history, economy, and culture.
“Marijuana is a gateway drug for cops. They can use it to stop people who they want to search.” – Peter Hecht
Of course, Gateway Incubator is also promising a different sort of gateway: a portal to success and wealth.
Gateway’s offices are in the hard-to-miss Leviathan Building near Oakland’s Jack London Square. Photo via East Bay Express.
Can marijuana logos shake the leaf? (Emblemetric)
Taking a trip, literally, on Colorado’s pot trail (New York Times)
420: the brand (Fritinancy)