f one afternoon is the sole indicator, then the Reefer Madness-watching, ultra-conservative politicians are right: legalizing marijuana is pure chaos.
Fortunately, this was more likely one great idea for an event with poor execution, miserable attendees, and temperatures in the upper 90s.
This past Friday, the Portland Mercury hosted an end of prohibition party… convention… really long line. “Weed the People” had a coveted number of tickets for this event and sold out well in advance with 1300 people wanting to be part of a historic occasion.
The organizers attempted to weather the storm by telling attendees there was no need to come before 2PM and assured there would be plenty of samples to go around when the event ended at 9. They learned the hard way that if there is one thing stoners will be on time to, it’s a weed party which promises the first looks and tastes of the highest quality, legal marijuana strains in the state of Oregon.
By 1:30, the lined stretched passed the first block. At around 3, it had reached around the first corner, and around another and continued to grow on an endless street in North Portland’s industrial district. From this point it would take over an hour to get in the doors and grab your wristband, but once you reached the entrance, there was another giant line inside the warehouse not situated to host a crowd of this size.
“Is this the line?”
“Is that the line?”
“Do you know what this line is for? Is it for edibles?”
These were the questions echoing throughout inside and eventually to the outside garden next to food trucks and a vape tent, where the line backed into. It looked like one giant domino rig as the line zig zagged and whirled its way through every corner of the warehouse.
What was this giant line for? Because of Oregon law, companies are not allowed to sell marijuana products until October 1st. However, there are no rules about sharing (as long as all parties are over the age of 21). The event functioned similar to a brewer’s festival in that each attendee is given a limited number of tokens with an entry fee and could cash them in with the growers for one gram samples of several high quality strains ranging from Golden Pineapple to Dog Walker OG.
Instead of spreading the booths throughout the facility, there was one concentrated area called the “Grower’s Garden”. It was monitored by a security guard and for most was the final destination in a line that took as long as three hours to finally get the chance to meet with growers and pick out samples.
Along the way, there were upwards to a dozen more booths set up by companies involved in the weed business, not necessarily the growing side. Oregon Leaf had July’s issue of the new magazine on display while Portland’s long standing head shop, Mary Jane’s House of Glass showcased their recent selection of glass from portable one hitters to three feet tall bongs (note: You no longer have to refer to them as water pipes!).
These booths lucked out with a captive audience as the line conventionally worked its way alongside all the displays. It didn’t take long for the growers to sense the expanding frustration of this waiting period, so a few went through the crowd passing out their samples. Grams of CBD Kush and Lemon OG made its way to a majority of partakers.
Once inside the Grower’s Garden, there were several farms showing off their latest harvests. Bridgetown Botanicals boasted a fluffy Mango Kush, Everything Green Farms brought in the popular Obama Kush to their table, and Green Bodhi showcased several half-gram samples including Golden Pineapple, Silver Surfer, and Purple Rose. The majority of buds were indica dominant strains, but the sativa heavy Harlequin inside the pre-rolled joints were a crowd pleaser.
Even with the disorganization, the mood remained calm and upbeat. It’s the nature of the product. However, some were quick to point out the irony.
“Can we go back to weed being illegal? It was a lot easier then,” one man joked.
Many were also determined not to let anything tear down such a monumental occasion. People have been waiting a long time for sensible legislation, and as of July 1st, Oregon is one of four states to legalize marijuana for recreational use. There were attendees from the Woodstock generation in attendance who spent their entire lives hoping this day would come. Two elderly woman were some of the first in line and once they grabbed their samples they shared a joint on the picnic tables outside.
“Isn’t this lovely?” She asked.
Why yes, it certainly is. But if this event is any indicator of what legalization is going to be like, I’m going to have to hang my head low and beg for forgiveness from my old dealer, talk to him about Game of Thrones for five minutes, and be on my way. Because that was a lot easier.