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! 

 

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.

Portland Nightlife: Franco’s Fun Bus is Fantastic!

It was obvious that legalizing weed in July would bring huge changes for Oregon, but who knew it would actually be happening so quickly? If you had asked me just one year ago if my next tour of Portland would be on a bus while taking high-quality dabs from high-quality pieces, I would not have believed you. Even now, the second-ever Franco’s Fun Bus feels like it was too good to be true. But no, it happened, and boy, was it amazing.

When you go out to a bar with friends, your average beer costs $4 and mixed drink about $8, and that’s me being generous. For marijuana extraordinaire Franco, of Portland-based concentrate company Franco’s Finest, a night of drinking seems like a night to forget. Drinking out is expensive and unrewarding in the long-term. Franco decided to create something for smoking that embraces Portland nightlife without being a part of the bar scene. Thus, Franco’s Fun Bus was born!

Francos Fun Bus Portland, Oregon

Tickets for Franco’s Fun Bus are $125 regularly, with discount codes and “early bird” options readily available. It is an expensive activity, but when I say it’s worth it, trust me, it’s worth it. Franco teamed up with amazing vendors like Oregon’s Finest, Ideal Farms, Natural Wonders (site coming soon), Uplift Botanicals, Primo Extracts, Trillium Extracts, Canna Refinery, Sour Bhotz, Hide PDX, Earl’s Edibles, Jolly Greens, and more. Not only does Franco donate endless dabs throughout the night (lovely hosts and hostesses will take size requests – ranging from itty bitty to big ol’ slabs), but we each came home with a dab swag bag full of goodies from the fine vendors. When you figure you need a budget for marijuana products anyways, the dab bus makes perfect sense. So, exactly how fun was it?

As my friends and I commuted to Pioneer Square, the butterflies in my stomach were a result of not knowing exactly what to expect. There we were to board Franco’s Fun Bus and drive around Portland for a scheduled 4 hours of dabbing and executive party-bussing. I had no idea what lied ahead. I was picturing hosts and hostesses balancing glass and torches and dabbers in an aisle on a school bus type thing. We arrived early and were watching them set up “The Lego Movie” for a bit when Franco’s business partner Rosie greeted us with a friendly wave. “Dab Bus?!” she said, and we rang back in a chorus: “dab bus!” This was going to be awesome. Eventually (almost) the whole party trickled in, and we were waiting on the bus and one other member of our fun bus family. Our last member arrived just before the bus rolled around the corner and up to the curb. “Executive” didn’t even begin to cover it. With its black tinted windows and handsome party-bus host descending to greet us, it finally set in. This was real. Fifteen stoners were about to get the ride of a lifetime.

Francos Dab Bus Portland, Oregon

With this being such a new event, it’s been far from sold out. Between the small number of us and things like the couch/TV in the bathroom, the executive aspect of this bus couldn’t feel any more real. Everyone was able to take turns dabbing, and I feel confidently speaking for all of us when I say no one was left out. If you wanted to dab, you would just sit down on one of the cozy leather seats near Franco and enjoy.

There’s no precedent for an event like this, so rule of thumb was to treat this outing like any other party bus with people drinking on board. For one thing, that meant no open flame. The beautiful solution? An e-nail! If you’re unfamiliar with e-nails, they attach to titanium nails and keep the metal at a constant temperature. That means your rig will never cool down too quickly, and your dab will be as hot as you like it. Not to mention, so long as there is oil on the nail, it will continue to burn. With e-nails, one person can take a dab, not finish it, and pass on the rig to the next no problem. In short? No dab left behind, and that was certainly the theme throughout.

Some of the strains we tried on the bus were Franco’s concentrate of the month, New York Pineapple Diesel, and some other favorites, like Hot Mess and Buddha’s Grape Dream. Early on I knew this would be a night for heavy hitters, I myself had twelve dabs total (a number that I’ll probably never reach again in one sitting, until I go to the next Fun Bus, that is…). The two rigs we used were both strong in different ways. The glass came from Mary Jane’s House of Glass, a high-quality American-made headshop. The first piece we used was an MIO (Made In Oregon) brand typical inline percolator dab rig – heavy with a nice function. I have an MIO bong in my personal collection: they’re affordable and really nice quality. The second was a Honey Supply double u-percolator that had a chuggy yet smooth feel to it. I think in the end I preferred the Honey Supply, but I loved trying both. Between the high quality concentrates and the nicely functioning rigs, coughing was controlled. In my world, that really means something. The option to go hard in terms of consumption was definitely there, but so was the option to sit back, relax, and enjoy the atmosphere.

Francos-Fun-Bus-Portland-lookout

Our first “attraction” after downtown Portland was the St. John’s Bridge. Franco’s Fun Bus had a whole itinerary for the evening: drive down St. John’s Bridge, go to Rocky Butte, the Division Food Carts, the Waterfront, and finally back to ‘Pio Square.’ Like stoners, we more or less followed the schedule, but we rolled up to Rocky Butte at the perfect time. Rocky Butte is a destination in Portland due to its gorgeous views. As the sun was setting, the group of us got off the dab bus (a scene as funny as it sounds) and ascended the stone stairs just as the blue moon was rising. People were gathered playing music, picnicking, enjoying themselves, as we all watched the sky get dark around the magnificent moon. It was incredible, and added depth to this seemingly shallow recreation. We all felt a sublime appreciation.

Francos-Fun-Bus-Portland-munchies

Walking back to the bus, more dabs were inevitable, and so were munchies. In addition to the amazing snacks supplied on the bus (hello m&ms, gummy bears, and caramel popcorn), the goal was to stop at the food carts. We got off the dab bus and unleashed a certain kind of hell upon these SE Division food carts. A very stoney, giggly, docile kind of hell. Innocent bystanders gawking as we got off this bus like some kind of pothead Partridge family, ready to gnaw on some grub. Lots of us got waffles at Smaaken Waffles, due to the fact that it was still open and “prepared” for our business. It was delicious, and my leftovers turned to rightnows real quick. Filing back onto the bus, our last stop was the waterfront.

This stop was a bit of a decompressant – we pulled up and there was no rush. We still had dabs going down on the bus, while the waterfront patiently waited outside. The Fun Bus had brought to a particular spot where there was a picturesque weeping willow tree against the city and river backdrop. Though it felt like I never wanted the party to end, this was a nice spot to collect oneself and prepare for the real world again. We got back on the bus and drove to Pio Square. Franco and Rosie were so kind, and so appreciative, that the whole experience felt like it had been a field trip led by the two best “chaperones” ever. I would give the Fun Bus experience 5 stars, and recommend it as a new must-do for Portland recreational nightlife.

Francos Dab Bus Portland

On our way off the bus, we grabbed the final exciting piece to the puzzle – the swag bags! Oregon’s Finest supplied us with cloth drawstring bags to hold everything, and when my friends and I got home, it was like dumping out candy on Halloween night. Some things that stand out? Concentrates from Franco, Uplift Botanicals, Primo Extracts, and Trillium Extracts. There’s a “Cannabis Cure-All” from Luminous Botanicals that’s for “edible, topical, or sensual use.” Kind Heart Collective donated some flower from the girl scout cookies strain, Sativica Wellness threw in a balm and some capsules, and I’m stoked to try my Sour Bhotz edible. There are some wrinkles to work out, of course – like maybe some more labeling and instructions from the vendors  – but that’s to be expected when you’re only two tries in to the next big recreational thing.

A gigantic thank you to Franco and his Fun Bus crew. To say that this is an experience of a lifetime would be to sell it short. Did you ever think you would see the day? Activities like this will bring so much awareness and new interest to the recreational marijuana world, and this is just the very beginning. Now you can dab bus, too! Reasonably priced, totally legal, and seriously FUN – will you be on the next one?