Project Portland: First Impressions

Welcome to the second in the series Project Portland, an exploration of what it’s like for regular cannabis consumers (including patients) to relocate to a state in which adult use of cannabis is legal.


I arrived in Portland shortly after midnight on April 19. I hadn’t considered the fact that this would be Oregon’s first 4/20 in which adult use cannabis was legal. While it might seem overly dramatic, I have to admit that it was an honor to spend 4:20 pm on 4/20 at the top of Mount Tabor in Portland. Both the young punks and the old school Deadheads were authentic in their mellow, passionate embrace and love of the kind herb.

And to all those who helped me with directions as I was looking for the entrance to this volcano mountain park (while running behind schedule and wondering if I would make it before 4:20 pm): Thank you.

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Yes, I will replace this with one of my own.

I recall a particular dreddied dude and his girlfriend with whom I briefly chatted as I was cranking up the mountain on my carbon fiber ballerina. Amongst the thousands of cannabis consumers on the mountain, turns out he and his cute partner were friends with the cultivator smoking the monster joint in the photo below.

Small world, eh? He looked at me and said, “You worked hard to get up the hill. This is your karma…” as I dragged on the large cone handed to me for the third time. Dig the sharing culture.  #warmandfuzzy

I have been staying in the SE section of the city. I quickly learned that this town is basically split into quadrants, each with its own culture, affluence, and art and food scenes.

I do have to admit, the presence of good dispensaries and a very robust cycling culture—in addition to my new favorite coffee shop on Division, Dapper & Wise—has attracted me to the southeast area.

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A 25-year-old legal cultivator at the 2016 4/20 celebration on Mt. Tabor in Portland.

After a few days in this city, I can say that I had had to adjust my understanding of “good” cannabis. Yea, I’ve had good stuff before in places like Humboldt County, Vancouver (Canada), and Toronto. But not via legal dispensaries. For the first time in my life, I was able to walk into a shop and ask “Do you have Durban Poison?”

And when the friendly budtender replied “Yes,” I got shivers down my spine. Holy shit, Batman, this is the way this stuff is supposed to work. This is a culture feeding itself. This is amazingly enticing. For potheads, that is.

I endured blinding snow storms in New Mexico, failed brakes (thanks, Enterprise), and 2,100 miles of driving—instead of the comforts of a flight—to fully understand what it’s like to be a cyclist in Portland. While I have been blown away by legal cannabis, I have been even more impressed (and borderline shocked) by the sheer number of hardcore commuting cyclists in this city.

People here do everything on bikes. Don’t think “let’s go for a bike ride after dinner.” Think: “I go to the coffee shop, the dispensary, work, and the club on my bike.” Yea. And in numbers like you have never imagined. And yes, there are too many Toyota Priuses.

I was basically verklempt for nearly an hour as my attractive co-cycling host led me through streets like Clinton and Division on our way to the famous bridges on the river. It was in the 80s and sunny. I had not yet developed an appreciation for the fact that, at this time of year, these were some very special days involving relatively immaculate weather.

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Wild West Growers in Eugene, Oregon. Look for the feature article in June.

Today it is 59 degrees with scattered showers. But it’s fine. The wealth of artsy sculptures and a mellow environment at my purple “magic” house Airbnb is refreshing. The back yard is mesmerizing (I’ll share pics and video later and begin doing the Periscope thing).

If you love cannabis or are a patient and feel your batteries running low, plan a road trip to Portland or Seattle. Wipe your chalkboard clean. Blow out the carbon.

Regardless of what you call it, simply do it. Don’t wait until tomorrow.

Because sometimes tomorrow is too late. Me? I probably got lucky. But don’t underestimate the power of a blinding snowstorm and second life.

More to come….

P.S.: To Ally, the smart Aussie chick with the masters in English Literature: You’re a better writer than you think. Never give up; never surrender.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

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One thought on “Project Portland: First Impressions

  1. Pingback: The Floral Splendor of Portland | Gooey Rabinski

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