The United States’ first marijuana cafe opened on Friday, posing an early test of the Obama administration’s move to relax policing of medical use of the drug.
The Cannabis Cafe in Portland, Oregon, is the first to give certified medical marijuana users a place to get hold of the drug and smoke it — as long as they are out of public view — despite a federal ban.
“This club represents personal freedom, finally, for our members,” said Madeline Martinez, Oregon’s executive director of NORML, a group pushing for marijuana legalization.
“Our plans go beyond serving food and marijuana,” said Martinez. “We hope to have classes, seminars, even a Cannabis Community College, based here to help people learn about growing and other uses for cannabis.”
The cafe — in a two-story building which formerly housed a speak-easy and adult erotic club Rumpspankers — is technically a private club, but is open to any Oregon residents who are NORML members and hold an official medical marijuana card.
Members pay $25 per month to use the 100-person capacity cafe. They don’t buy marijuana, but get it free over the counter from “budtenders”. Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., it serves food but has no liquor license.
There are about 21,000 patients registered to use marijuana for medical purposes in Oregon. Doctors have prescribed marijuana for a host of illnesses, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and Tourette’s syndrome.
On opening day, reporters invited to the cafe could smell, but were not allowed to see, people smoking marijuana.
Oh god, I totally could not stop laughing about this. It sounds like something a stoned person would decide. “Oh, you reporters. You can smell them, but you aren’t allowed to see them. Oh yeah, good plan. Just sniff them. Heh heh.” After a while the reporters start to agree. “Oh. Yeah. Let’s smell those marijuana smokers some more. This is for our report you know. We have to smell them real good. Can we get a little closer? Heh. Heh.”
My personal exposure to pot is pretty much limited to Cheech and Chong movies a long time ago and 2nd hand smoke at rock concerts, by the way. But I think stoned people are really funny.