Marijuana policy is rapidly changing nationwide. In Oregon, possession of weed is legal as of a few days ago, but in a weird legal loop-de-loop, "since no recreational market is set up, people can't legally purchase the drug, but they are allowed to obtain it from licensed growers for free."
So the Portland Mercury (a sister publication to The Stranger) organized an event called Weed the People, where attendees who'd paid $40 got to leave with "up to seven grams of marijuana for nothing more than a smile and a handshake."
As reported in the Guardian:
“We needed to throw an event to give away cannabis. I believe that no one has done this before,” said Rob Thompson, publisher of the local alternative weekly newspaper Portland Mercury, which organized the event.
The Oregonian described Weed the People as "a veritable stoner's paradise."
Marijuana plants potted in the open. A lounge with several couches, a turntable and a collection of records. Vendors educating people about THC and CBDs. In a fenced-in yard out back, food vendors sold lunch to hungry crowds. Companies selling vaporizers and bongs gave people free hits.
Attendees lit pipes and joints, blowing smoke in the open, and no law could stop them from doing it.
Well, federal law could, although, as Brendan points out, federal law is looking increasingly up-in-the-air.
One grower at Weed the People told the Oregonian:
"People have bled for this industry, have gone to jail for this," he said. "I started with an ounce in my sock drawer, now I'm up to a 2,000-square-foot facility."
Yes, there were long lines, and yes, people had to pay $40 to obtain their free marijuana, but Weed the People was historic nonetheless. In cities around the country, carrying around seven grams of cannabis can mean serious jail time. In Portland on Friday, it was a cause for celebration.
Happy freedom day, everyone. What a country.