Recently I had the pleasure of visiting two beautiful states—Oregon and California. I had never been to the Pacific Northwest before and I was very excited to take in their beauty. And, of course, I wanted to try the marijuana!
I arrived in downtown Portland on a misty afternoon, weary from travel. I was dying to get high. As I had suspected, I did not run into any pot shops during my short time in downtown Portland. I hadn’t done the proper research beforehand (and I don’t have a smartphone like everyone else—crazy I know!) so I really had no clue where to get recreational weed in Portland.
As many of you probably know, on October 1, 2015, it became legal for medical dispensaries in Oregon to sell recreational marijuana. Understandably, there are fewer recreational dispensaries in the Portland area than in the Denver area, although this will probably change soon. I was anticipating that Oregon pot would be more expensive or about the same price as Denver’s. The tax is the same in both states—a whopping 25%.
My traveling partner was getting antsy and wanted to check into our hotel a few miles away, so we decided to put our weed search on hold. After we got checked in, we decided to roam the streets in search of a dispensary. There couldn’t be one that far away, right? After walking for about ten minutes, we looked up and saw a huge billboard for a dispensary. Turn right at Burnside and 99th, it said. Well, we could not find it anywhere. Perhaps it was obscured with no sign? I was becoming very agitated. I needed to get one of those fancy phones stat.
All of a sudden, out of nowhere, we stumbled upon a dispensary, Oregon’s Best Meds. Jackpot! After a pleasant shopping experience, I walked out with a eighth of Pineapple Express and an eighth of Oregon Diesel along with a small glass pipe for $53! Granted, the quality of the weed was average (I preferred the Pineapple Express) but for the price, it was great!
Down Highway 101 we travelled the next day to our destination: Trinidad, California, a small oceanfront town in famous Humboldt County. For those of you who don’t already know, Humboldt County is known for some of the most potent marijuana ever grown in the country. It is part of the Emerald Triangle, a 3-county region that boasts the best growing conditions for marijuana and just about anything else.
California was the first state in the US to establish a medical marijuana program in 1996, but recreational pot is not legal and probably never will be in the state. Why? Well, there are so many growers that have been in business for years and they simply do not want the government interaction. It’s been working for them for decades now, so why change now? They’ve got a good thing going, and people have the opportunity to get high with amazing products without paying taxes on them.
Smoking my Oregon weed on California beaches was great, and even though it’s not legal, I didn’t feel the pressure of getting caught. Everyone pretty much left you alone! I even sampled some homegrown weed from a small group of beach-goers one evening, and it was amazing. I could get used to this! Another thing I noticed in Oregon and Cali was that nobody vaped like everyone in Denver seems to do. Everyone was smoking good ol’ potent-smelling flowers out of a pipe. And you didn’t see anyone blowing a cloud of vape smoke out of their vehicle at a red light, either.
Going down I-5 on the way back to Portland, I saw several billboards for dispensaries. (“NEED WEED?” said one of them. Why yes, yes I do!) Oregon seems like a state that would shy away from government interaction when it comes to marijuana. I’ve often wondered why Measure 91 was approved in 2014, and the reason has to be financial. (Isn’t it always?) From what I saw of downtown Portland, it seemed like it could use some freshening up. Some people say that Portland is the next Denver, and this may very well be true. Portland’s population is currently expanding, which is evident by the amount of traffic in the city.
Could Portland be the next Denver? Will low-income housing be replaced by expensive sardine can studio apartments? Will the cost of a one-bedroom rental rise to over $1000 a month? Will people flock to Portland just for the weed? I guess only time will tell.