The Beaver State officially legalized marijuana last July. If you haven’t been up there recently, let me tell you something.
Oregon, where I lived for 30 years, is the Reefer State now.
We all joke about marijuana, as we all joke about getting drunk. More refined people joke about their really lovely Napa wine tours.
I have a somewhat complicated view of marijuana, having raised three grown children. But what I saw in Oregon a few weeks ago may not be quite what the occasional or somewhat regular marijuana smoker might have envisioned.
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Weed is pervasive in Oregon now, in a way that it wasn’t prior to legalization. Shops are everywhere. They seem extremely tasteful and well-designed, as so many things in Portland are.
One can go into a store and have a chat with a nice salesperson about the various strains and potency of particular types of marijuana.
I didn’t go into a shop. I was kind of afraid to.
Even Oregon can’t make up its mind on some level about where to smoke marijuana. Numerous signs designate tobacco cigarette smoking areas but forbid marijuana use.
I can tell you where they do smoke, however. Walking through downtown in Portland, you smell pot smoke everywhere. All over. In doorways, on the park blocks, people of all ages and stripes walk down the street hitting their little pipes or joints. Users who want to avoid the toxic smoke use vaporizers.
I think I saw a golden retriever with a joint, and that’s pretty difficult without opposable thumbs.
If you get pulled over in Oregon, there is no longer the nagging feeling that Officer Friendly is going to search your car for a reefer. Nope. Out of his jurisdiction. Nothing to see here. Move along.
This is kind of shocking thing for people my age, who had to keep marijuana in hollowed-out books, little tin boxes in the back of the closet, and wherever we didn’t want anyone to find it.
I am sure many of us have also had incredibly awkward conversations with our kids about marijuana. I know I would be devastated if my kids smoked tobacco cigarettes. Pot? It still kind of bothers me. I am at the point where I just don’t want to know.
Having everything out in the open now, compared to my earlier life as a 1970s libertine where so much was taboo, gives me a sense of something gone somewhat awry, but what is it? Is my inner Lutheran from Minnesota nagging me? My sense of not wanting to live in Potterville? Leftover shame? You tell me.
Having everything out in the open now, compared to my earlier life as a 1970s libertine where so much was taboo, gives me a sense of something gone somewhat awry.
Drinking craft beer? You can have it. Not a hobby of mine. High-end wine? OK, still not my bag. Mad Men cocktails? Sure. One or two. But when I got back from Oregon, I saw the future of California, and I am conflicted.
I know the arguments for and against, and I guess I am still on the fence and lightly fearful of the reality of what Oregon and Washington and Colorado have done.
Gov. Jerry Brown has weighed in on pot, again.
“Don’t smoke marijuana while shooting your gun,” Brown said at his budget news conference earlier this month. Words to live by, really.
For now, I am mostly all about my favorite drug. I’m told it’s good for me, and I have a guy who can score as much as I need.