Recreational weed in Portland: finally landed

With October 1st behind us, you’re probably just starting to emerge from the fully recreational haze. How does it feel? Like we’re living in the future, man? It’s kind of insane to think about! Recreational weed is here, and Portland is knee-deep in it.

I myself partaked in a couple of celebrations. First, I went to The Third Eye Shoppe’s celebration on Hawthorne. It was freaking awesome. With at least 9 torches and glassblowers at work, the rest were mingling and chatting with the crowd. As a glass enthusiast, I was elated. I enjoyed seeing John Dillinger, Lea Luna Littleleaf, Renee Patula, and Goliath Glass glassblowing up close and personal, and ended up getting a chance to fangirl all over Renee Patula and Jamie Burress. It was a fantastic event – made better by vendors like EO vapes and Sconed, bakers of edibles in the Portland area. EO Vapes hooked it up with a glass vape pen bubbler attachment (seriously awesome), and Sconed was gifting out free samples of recreational toffee and other sweet treats. The milligram measurement wasn’t anything crazy, my own sample ranged in at only 10mg, but it tasted so good. The taste of weed was barely noticeable, but it was super yummy.

Glassblowers

With all the glassblowing excitement, I had almost forgotten what the day was really about. Natural Wonders, the nearest dispensary, was across the street and down a block. My friend and I walked the few minutes to the dispensary and were surprised to find only one other person in the waiting room. The process was smooth. The receptionist took our licenses and made photocopies for their files. There were beautiful marijuana photographs lining the walls of the waiting room, as well as nice house plants and bright lighting to spruce up the room. It was really pleasant! Once someone left, we were allowed into the actual shop. Two budtenders were there to assist us in showing us the array of flower options. One budtender was there to assist with concentrates and other menu items for medical patients.

Headband

The options were tiered in three rows: $8, $10, and $12 grams. I myself bought a gram of the strain Headband. They gave me a pre-weighed vial and a flyer for not letting it near your children. All in all, the experience was extremely professional, and the weed itself was not top shelf but I’d say better than expected! We returned to the Third Eye and enjoyed some more glassblowing before I moved on to Mary Jane’s House of Glass at NE 33rd and Killingsworth.

Headband-recreational-marijuana-2

NE 33rd and Killingsworth boasts both Mary Jane’s and Uplift Botanicals, a high-class dispensary in the area. When I first arrived, I saw a booth set up outside the dispensary with a Mary Jane’s clerk. He was advertising for the scavenger hunt that Mary Jane’s was throwing, but also was equipped with ice cream sandwiches, Uplift’s menu, and a great attitude. He pointed myself and others in the direction of the headshop, which I checked out briefly before returning to Uplift. While I wasn’t in the market for glass, it’s always fun to see what new things they’ve got in stock over there.  

It was a good thing I returned to Uplift when I did, however, because unlike Natural Wonders, this place was packed. When I first walked in, the receptionist took my name and birthdate from my license on a legal pad. The order in which we were let in depended on when you showed up, but because of the shear volume of people, they moved on quickly if you weren’t there to hear your name called. I wasn’t there for long when the amount of people seemed to double. By the time I got in the actual shop, the line was a cluster of people outside the door. I felt bad for the receptionist, who was being overwhelmed by so many people. Inside was far calmer and more casual, however. I looked at the updated menu, as they had sold out of some of their strains, and they had only $10 grams listed. When my gram of the strain J1 rang up as $8, however, they called it at that and I tipped them the remaining $2. Think of it this way, if budtenders are like bartenders, you should always tip if they go above and beyond in service.

Mary-Janes-House-of-Glass-map

In terms of the bud itself, I preferred the Headband to the J1, but both were quality middle tier flowers, I would say. It’s hard to believe it already happened, that I was able to buy weed, take it home, and legally smoke it, but it’s real. We’re here now, and yes, the weed is untaxed! So go out, take out some cash, and find your favorite neighborhood pot shop! 

 

October Sales: What really lies ahead

Obviously rushing to sales in October meant some speed bumps ahead, but it always seemed like the benefits far outweighed the costs. However, now I’m realizing that one of these costs is clarity. In trying to update and confirm the status on October sales, I’ve come across some confusing legislature.

Senate Bill 460, the bill allowing October sales, mentions nothing about taxation during this time period. There are stipulations – for example, recreational users 21 and over, may only buy up to a quarter ounce per day (per dispensary). That’s not a bad guideline, but it turns out that there will be quite a bit of tax on this weed. Maybe?

According to oregon.gov’s FAQ page on recreational marijuana, there will be a 25% tax to pay in dispensaries. The answer to the question of taxation continues: “Recreational sales in medical dispensaries are slated to start on October 1, 2015, and end on December 31, 2016.The tax will be imposed on sales after January 4, 2016.” I had already known of this possibility of tax-free weed and believed it, but here it’s mentioned so briefly. Does this 25% tax really start as late as January, even though it says that the “tax will be 25% for the limited time that recreational marijuana will be sold in dispensaries?”

That seems so straightforward – 25% tax for recreational sold in dispensaries. This starts in October and lasts until a predicted December 31st, 2016. This is already a limited amount of time, but the “after January 4, 2016” undercuts 3 months of that. However, despite that brief mention at the end, that sentiment suggests yes, tax-free weed.

That said, dispensaries are getting ready to take advantage of this opportunity for profit. I’ve already been made aware of the fact that some dispensaries will only be showing their buyers the “bottom shelf shwag,” as we say. Thousands of people who have never seen something like a dispensary will have this skewed perception of bud, and be paying extra for it. Not to mention, there will be a limit to only “4 units” of non-flower marijuana product. You can only buy seeds, flower, and clones (a marijuana plant that is not flowering). No concentrates, no edibles or drinkables, just cold, dry, flower.

Just kidding – it’s really not that bad, but once January hits, that 25% will be rough. When there’s no overlap of recreational retail stores, still predicted for open in July, 2016, it’ll be especially bad. When those retail stores open, the taxes will be around 17-20%, much less than the dispensary prices. But I’m predicting that right around May, all the dispensaries will start showing off, to keep the recreational crew coming. December 31st, 2016 marks the end of recreational sale in dispensaries, so they’ll have to use these upcoming months wisely. Keep an eye out for that bottom shelf, and growing your own is still the best way!

Hempstalk in Portland: Finally Happening in 2015!

Hempstalk in Portland, long before legalization, has always been a way for like-minded cannabis enthusiasts to gather in a large and safe setting. The first year I attended, it was hosted at Kelly Point Park. It was a fantastic celebration – vendors of all varieties, stages with all sorts of presenters and music, and hordes of happy people. Then, last year in 2014, Hempstalk in Portland was moved to Tom McCall Park, on the waterfront.

Saying it paled in comparison is an understatement. Being so out in the open yes, got rid of the public smoking, but also got rid of that sense of safety. All of a sudden, us hemp fans were feeling vulnerable, despite being at an event totally for us. Where my friends and I had spent all day at Kelly Point Park, we spent barely two and a half hours at the Tom McCall Park. We walked through all the vendors (it felt like a fraction of the amount at Kelly Point Park) in single lap, and felt like there was no other reason to be there.

Hempstalk Portland

Photo Credit: Hempstalk

 

After such a different Hempstalk last year, and legalization of weed this year, you’d think that Portland would jump on the opportunity to host a much better Hempstalk and bring in some revenue. Waterfront or not, it’s still Hempstalk, and if you build it people will still come. The city of Portland, however, had other plans. City officials were most certainly affected by the passing of Measure 91, and went ahead and denied the permit for the waterfront when Hempstalk applied for it in November. It wasn’t happening at the waterfront, or anywhere else for that matter, and that was the last bit of Hempstalk news for the majority of this past year.

That is, until the 28th of this month, when Hempstalk’s permit denial appeal took place! Paul Stanford, Hempstalk’s organizer, has been fighting tooth and nail for a permit. This whole summer I’ve been operating under the assumption that no, despite the waves Portland is making in the marijuana world, we would not have our annual Hempstalk festival. Pretty heartbreaking, even moreso anti-climactic! But have no fear! The mayor of our fine city of Portland has established that Hempstalk in 2015 will be on! Much to stoner chagrin, it will still be hosted at the waterfront, but hey, at least it’s on. For Portland to not host a Hempstalk after its year of legalization would be both a slap in the face to the cannabis industry but also  pretty embarrassing for the city.

Hempstalk Portland

The city commissioners agreed this time around, voting 3 to 1. With one commissioner absent, the only opposition was from commissioner Amanda Fritz, who also coincidentally oversees the Portland Police Bureau. Cough. With statements from Hempstalk organizers that they will be devoted to working with city officials, the city council appealed. Stanford assures that “this is not a smoke-out. Our event is about the use of hemp for fuel, fiber, food, the use of adults for social situations, and as medicine.” This year’s Hempstalk will be an invaluable experience, for now not only is it rising from the ashes like a Phoenix, but it will have months of legalization behind it. Smoking will still obviously be a big no-no, but the 21+ possibilities are endless. Every new person you meet will be a new person to trade with or gift to, not to mention all the private smoking that can legally happen after the event. So, yeah, even though it’s still at the waterfront, you bet I’m going! And I’ll see you hemp fans there.

Recreational Marijuana in Portland: Store wish list

It’s hard to believe September is almost here; that back-to-school dread is in the air again, and the kids are feeling it! But not us 21+ year olds…  While supermarkets and shopping centers gear up for Halloween and Thanksgiving, thousands of hopefuls are preparing for recreational marijuana in Portland.  We still aren’t exactly sure which dispensaries are opening up for recreational sale, but Portland has plenty to choose from, and everyone has a favorite! Based on years of experience (sorry, mom), I can tell you which of mine I’m hoping to walk into in October.

Nectar is kind of like your “every man’s” dispensary. It’s well-known in Portland due to the fact that there are 4 locations spread across the quadrants. There’s often a large menu selection, and good bud at a nice varying price range. I have never heard any complaints of budtenders or customer service in general; with Nectar you know what you’re getting. They’re especially good at updating their Leafly (links to NE 122nd location). This dispensary would be perfect for those first-timers or people getting back into the game after years of prohibition.

Natural RxEmedies, located in SW Portland, has impeccable customer service. For first time customers, they always offer some sort of discount or treat. For the flower fans out there, they have a large selection specializing in nice quality to top-shelf bud. In terms of concentrates, what they lack in variety, they make up for in affordability and quality. Another good place for curious first-timers, but also seasoned veterans. Their Leafly can be found here, and is as helpful as they are!

In NE Portland, Uplift Botanicals is a premier little spot at 33rd and Killingsworth. Here is their Leafly, and as a fan of all things concentrate, I can say that their selection is one of the best out there. You can find grams of oil at all sorts of prices, ranging from fairly priced to top-shelf stuff. First-timers are more than welcome at Uplift (they have a great staff with awesome customer service) but the stock is catered to those top-shelf fans. For that reason, their deals on flower sometimes aren’t the best, but you know you’re getting high-quality bud.

AmeriCanna Rx is a 24/7 dispensary. It’s on NE Sandy Blvd, and has plenty of flower to choose from. There you can find bottom jar grams sometimes as low as $3. Crazy, right? Not to mention their hours being 24/7 and their Leafly menu being regularly updated – they’re the perfect late night stop. This is a popular pot destination in Portland, however, and sometimes you may have to wait a bit for budtending.

Marijuana Paradise right off Barbur Blvd in SW is an up-and-coming dispensary. With a nice selection of oil at reasonable prices, this place is a little oasis. What’s really worth writing home about, however? Their selection of edibles. For those of us who don’t have medical cards, we’ve been missing out on insane medibles all these years. It’s all about the milligrams, baby! Whether you’re a fan of drinkables or edibles, this place has it all at ranging prices and milligram measurements.

October, man. It’s so close we can almost taste it. It’s like waiting to feel like a kid in a candy shop, and the anticipation is driving us wild! Those dispensaries above are just some of the “many” (hundreds) in Portland to choose from, and while I may sit here hoping that they open for recreational sale, they may continue to just sell to medical patients. And that’s okay, because what we do know? Is that recreational pot is happening in Portland, and it’s happening in mere weeks.