Hungry, craving good food to enrich your day and help you stay medicated? Well, for patients living in Oregon there are a few choices available to them. The first cannabis serving eatery in the United States opened in Portland, Oregon over two years ago. The Cannabis Cafe was a smashing success when it debuted. Following most recently on its heels is the new Earth Dragon Edibles, in Ashland, Oregon. Now the state has coverage in both the North and South sides. Although the two restaurants are very different in look and feel, they both cater to the growing medical marijuana community.
The Cannabis Cafe is on its second iteration. Originally it opened at 4:20PM on November 13, 2009 in the Woodlawn section of North Portland. Madeline Martinez of Oregon NORML fame opened the establishment in concert with the building’s lessor Eric Solomon. The cafe itself was similar to those found in Amsterdam, a coffeeshop with accommodations for medicating. They offered baked goods, coffee, drinks and snacks. They had a few pool tables, HDTV, and Wifi access for patients to enjoy as they dosed. It was a nice, relaxing setting in a laid-back area of town. However, due to differences between NORML and the lease-holder, the Cafe shut down after six months. Luckily, Ms Martinez sorted things out and the Cannabis Cafe was reopened, albeit in a new location. Now it resides at 322 SE 82nd Ave, in the Montavilla section of Portland and business continues to do well, despite having an exclusive clientele. Visitors of the Cannabis Cafe must be card-carrying members of Oregon’s NORML chapter and must also have Oregon medical marijuana program (OMMP) cards. The cafe also has its own membership dues, $5 per visit in addition to the NORML dues. Also, no medical is sold on the premises. Patients may bring their own to the cafe. Cannabis Cafe keeps marijuana on hand for patients, and thanks local growers and dispensers for the donations.
Earth Dragon Edibles Restaurant and Lounge is an establishment of a different flavor. It is a full-fledged restaurant that has marijuana-infused items available on the menu. Located at 1662 Siskiyou Blvd in Ashland, Earth Dragon is a Mongolian barbecue joint that decided to spice things up a little differently than their competitors. They offer both regular and medicated items on their menu, with three levels of intensity to their hashish-infused grapeseed oil. They also have a desert menu for after dinner medicating. Patients must show proof of OMMP membership, though NORML membership is not necessary. Furthermore, they skirt marijuana sales laws by requesting donations for their dishes. The restaurant also contains a hash bar where patients may medicate while they wait, choosing from hash or herbs, vaporizers, pipes or bongs. However, in accordance with Oregon state laws, there is no smoking in the restaurant section. And, the medication at the bar is also free, though “donations suggested.” Earth Dragon has been doing well despite a legal challenge. They operate without a city-required business license, because they are in violation of Federal statutes. Local police chief Terry Holderness said that Earth Dragon is not a priority they are pursuing, “Nobody’s life is at risk here…We will prioritize this appropriately. But ultimately, if they are in violation of the law, they will be shut down.” Ashland authorities appear to be lenient for now, perhaps waiting for further marijuana law resolution from higher levels of government.
We’ve had plenty of exciting news from Oregon. Hopefully marijuana patients can see more growth like this in other states. Colorado is jumping on the bandwagon too. Maybe California and Washington will follow soon. Perhaps this phenomenon will find its way to the East Coast. New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Washington DC patients should keep their eyes open for opportunities. For those in Oregon, with the proper credentials, Bon Appetit!