Savoring Craft Cannabis in Portland
Story and photos by Becky Garrison



As one of the USA's most liberal (and fun) cities follows artisanal food, coffee, and beer with a legalization of pot, a curious writer dives into its various forms and venues.


Editor's update: Due to the passage of local clean air act legislation, both the World Famous Cannabis Cafe and the Other Spot have closed. Another cannabis club is open though the long-term future of Portland based cannabis smoking lounges remains in flux.

Portland travel

Effective October 1, 2015, any adult with a valid government issued ID can now purchase recreational cannabis in the State of Oregon.

In a mad dash similar to the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1890s, pot prospectors journey to the Pacific Northwest hoping to cash in on the cannabis craze. In Portland, dispensaries multiplied Starbucks style, One stretch of NE Sandy Boulevard is already deemed "Marijuana Mile." A plethora of Oregon based licensed growers and processors vie for shelf space to sell their wares.

I commemorated this historic event by frequenting four cannabis dispensaries and lending my voice to a video from Leafly, a popular website that has its own app and ranks marijuana strains by popularity, Then I booked Pedal Bike's Portland Pot Tour for a full immersive experience of Portland's growing cannabis culture.

On a slightly breezy and unusually sunny mid-October afternoon, I joined a middle-aged couple from Toronto on an eleven mile ride through the history, culture and brand-new retail industry of pot. As I gathered my bike and helmet. I learned those who embark on this 3-hour expedition tend to be older professionals like myself. We're part of a growing community of adults who wish to extend our palates beyond craft beer, wine, and distillery tastings now that we can consume cannabis legally.


Cannabliss

To Cannabliss by Bike

First we cycled from downtown Portland along the waterfront. At various points, Evan paused to give us a brief synopsis of cannabis' influence in Oregon starting with Willamette Valley's long history of harvesting and processing hemp. When we stopped at a statue of Vera Katz, Portland's mayor from 1993 to 2005, Evan described with childlike glee her role as an advocate for marijuana reform, adding that in 1973 Oregon became the first state to decriminalize marijuana.

Then we cycled over to Southeast Portland for a visit to Cannabliss, a fire house converted into one of the oldest medical marijuana dispensaries in Portland. The clean brick and hardwood floor exterior give this dispensary the aura associated with those boutique shops catering to the upscale market crowd. An almost too cheery but highly knowledgeable budtender walked us through their latest offerings noting those strains best suited to help spark creativity, relax, manage pain or help us sleep. After smelling their wares, I purchased a gram of Memory Loss (15.80 THC, 3.55 CBC), a strain designed to give me a body high and help manage the pain associated with a few lingering sports injuries.

Even though we cannot consume cannabis during our trip, the tour pays homage to the marijuana munchies. So paid a visit to Salt 'n Straw, the Portland based ice cream stores made famous after receiving Oprah's blessing. After sampling their creepy crawling Halloween specials, I opted for a more traditional scoop of Stumptown Coffee and Burnside Bourbon ice cream served in a waffle cone.

Cannabliss

We took our treats and strolled over to Rip City Remedies, another old school dispensary in Portland with a vibe reminiscent of '70s era Cheech & Chong flicks. After perusing their limited recreational offerings, I settled on a pre-rolled joint of Cine-X (17.8 THC, .06 CBD), a strain the budtender assured me would generate a creative buzz.

We continued our tour into Portland's history with a visit to Third Eye Shop, the infamous head shop owned by the late Jack Herer, a seemingly legendary figure in cannabis circles known for his decades of marijuana activism. While most of SE Hawthorne Avenue has been taken over by stores catering to the too-trendy tourist crowd, this landmark remains standing as a fading testament to the neighborhood's rebel past. Our tour concluded with a visit to Mellow Mood, a high end glass shop showcasing smoking paraphernalia ranging from a whimsical Hello Kitty pipe to a multi-pipe dragon contraption on sale for $34,000 that someone just purchased.

Third Eye




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Copyright (C) Perceptive Travel 2015. All rights reserved.


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