NORML SHOW LIVE report from Oregon NORML’s Cannabis Café [Update]
My deepest apologies to those of you who tried listening last Saturday to Show 011, the Grand Opening of the Oregon NORML Cannabis Café. We were beset by technical difficulties and could not complete the show.
I will solve the technical issues and return this weekend to Oregon’s first Cannabis Café. Oregon’s law does not allow for marijuana sales, but does allow patients to medicate “out of public view”. Any cardholder may freely exchange medicine with any other. So Madeline Martinez and Oregon NORML have created a private, members-only club for the social benefit of medical marijuana patients.
However, this is not a medical marijuana dispensary with a café; this is a café for medical marijuana patients. Patients can visit the smoke-free vapor bar where a budtender will load up one of six Volcano Vaporizers, fill the bag with the vapor of any one of more than twenty of the strains available, and cap it with a sterilized mouthpiece. Others bring their own pipes or papers and request a small ceramic bowl filled with their choice of freshly-ground cannabis strain and roll a joint as they play pool or smoke a bowl as they join in a card game. All sorts of café food and drink are available, though not alcoholic beverages (the owner surrendered his liquor license rather than fight with the commission over the use of cannabis in the café.) Many have questioned how this café can operate due to Oregon’s smoke-free laws, but the actual statutes in question specifically reference “tobacco smoke”. Thus, no tobacco smoking is allowed in the café.
Most amazingly, all the cannabis is provided free through the donations of local area medical marijuana growers. Oregon’s law provides for six mature plants, eighteen seedlings, but only twenty-four ounces of dried, cured marijuana. I say “only” and people’s jaws drop, wishing they could possess 24 grams, much less a pound and a half of marijuana. But that works out to four ounces per mature plant, which some growers are able to surpass, so they donate their excess to Oregon NORML for distribution to patients. In fact, on the day of the Grand Opening, the café had more marijuana at the end of the day then they had started with, thanks to generous donations.
While I attended on Saturday night, two officers from the Portland Police Bureau stopped by to investigate the operations. They were very friendly and just wanted to know where the medicating was taking place and how Oregon NORML was controlling the situation. They were pleased to learn how relentlessly ID’s and medical cards were being checked and that the front entrance was closed as a measure to help control the smell from permeating the public area. The police let everyone know that they had no intention of harassing the club or its patrons and that absent any complaints from neighbors the Cannabis Café would be free to operate.
Annual membership in Oregon NORML is required, since it is a private club, as well as monthly club dues, which go to support Oregon NORML’s lobbying and outreach efforts and pay the overhead of running the club, respectively. This Saturday, November 21, we’ll return to the café and speak to Madeline Martinez and these patients and hear their medical marijuana stories, as well as taking questions about the café from the live audience and our callers. It’s live talk radio from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Hosted by “Radical” Russ Belville, NORML SHOW LIVE features a recap of the week’s top stories in medical marijuana, consumer cannabis, and industrial hemp; interviews with the top cannabis activists, politicians, scientists, doctors, actors, musicians, and comedians; and your calls live at 347-994-1810. Join us every Saturday Night, live, at http://live.norml.org from 9-11pm Eastern / 6-8pm Pacific. November 16, 2009