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Friday, November 13, 2009

$60 Cover Scares Off Some at Cannabis Cafe Opening

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Fri, Nov 13, 2009 at 6:07 PM

4:20 PM.

Friday the 13th.

The opening of Portland's first private pot cafe.

When I checked out a Cannabis Cafe organizational meeting two weeks ago, the cafe owners and leaders of marijuana advocacy group Oregon NORML weren't sure if they could pull off all the legal and technical legwork needed to open the cafe on time. Though no medical marijuana will actually be sold at the cafe (it's a BYOP establishment), plans involved installing odor-eating filters at the request of neighbors along with marijuana vaporizers all over the former breakfast joint on NE 7th and Dekum.

But ready or not, today as dusk gathered, so did a crowd of medical marijuana cardholders, forming a long line under a green plastic tarp.

Despite the hype, opening night seemed like kind of a bust. As I stood at the back of the line talking with Ian, a long-time cardholder who was up for the idea of a sociable "medicating" environment ("Do you like to sit and drink in your house?" he said. "It's nice to get out."), people kept ditching out from the front of the line, shaking their heads. "Why would I want to smoke with a bunch of people I don't know?" grumbled an old man in a black cowboy hat, striding away. "Save your money and buy a bag!" shouted a twenty-something dude as he left.

As word spread down the line that medical marijuana cardholders needed $60 up front to get in—enough for a year-long NORML membership, a $20 monthly Cannabis Cafe membership and a $5 per-entry services fee—most of the people in line turned on their heels and left.

A professional-looking gray-haired man in a Columbia sportsjacket who gave his name as "Rumpelstiltskin" hung around a bit longer, curious to see what the cafe was like inside. "Maybe it'll be good for some people," he concluded, eventually heading for home without paying to get inside.

Rumpspankers: Now Portlands Cannabis Cafe
  • Rumpspankers: Now Portland's Cannabis Cafe

Oregon NORML executive director Madeline Martinez deep in thought on the Cannabis Cafe bar two weeks ago.
  • Oregon NORML executive director Madeline Martinez deep in thought on the Cannabis Cafe bar two weeks ago.

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