Simply put, no, Portland is not the next Amsterdam. There is no “Red Light District” and I doubt prostitution will ever be legal here. Still, with the legalization of pot in Oregon and adjoining Washington, I’m sure a lot of people wonder what the deal is and how things will change. I am seeing changes everywhere. A more cosmopolitan edge is starting to appear around what used to be a simple, home-grown city of artists and independent merchants. We are getting more five star restaurants and nicer shopping areas. There are more tourists than there used to be, and foot traffic has increased substantially.
There has been no surge in crime. There has not been an increase in traffic mishaps or people doing crazy things while stoned. There have been medical marijuana outlets in the state for quite some time now, such as the one shown in the first picture above. However, since the first of the month, anyone over the age of 21 can now walk into a medical marijuana facility and purchase cannabis at will. Soon, the recreational stores will open.
An ounce can be carried in public, and one may legally keep eight ounces at home. If that person lives at least 1000 feet away from a school, he or she can grow up to four plants, just as long as they are out of the public view. The public is also now allowed to have up to a pound of edibles, such as pot cookies…72 ounces of cannabis extracts or concentrates.
None of these products may be consumed in public….not in parking lots, nor on park benches. One cannot smoke at the beach, on buses, in alleyways, on sidewalks….All cannabis products must be consumed at home. People cannot smoke anywhere that liquor is served. They can only do it behind closed doors at home.
We are seeing pot dispensaries pop up all over the city. Just as baristas are a huge deal among the coffee lovers here, the new “budtenders” have already risen to the top of the respect-worthy ranks….and I hear it is unacceptable to purchase pot without offering the budtender a hefty tip.
Since the new laws have gone into effect, I have heard of one incident in which a stoned driver hit a pedestrian with his car. The pedestrian suffered minor injuries. However, I have heard of no other similar occurrences. I have seen many cleverly-named dispensaries crop up all over the city. We have Bridge City Collective, Calyxes, Cannabliss and Company, Cherry City Compassion, Farma and many others in virtually every part of the city. However, I have not seen one stoner stumbling down the street. I have not heard of one child gaining access to his or her parents’ legal pot and going to school high.
Portland is a very civilized city, and the people here seems to be embracing this whole pot thing. I’ve noticed that people that don’t smoke pot simply don’t buy it, but I’ve not heard a lot of complaining, and I’ve not seen any protesting. That’s one of the many things that I enjoy about living here, and that is one aspect of Portland that is, very much, like Amsterdam….the openness to change and the embracing of “alternative” anything. Generally speaking, people do not become all that invested in the recreational activities of others, unless said activities cause someone else direct harm. It is a “live and let live” existence….so in that respect, I guess Portland is similar to Amsterdam…..but we have our own distinct style here….our own way of doing things. The people in Portland, even with the new legalization of pot, seem more awake and alive…..ready to live.
Oh, and we do. We really live here. There is nothing “drag” about living in Portland. It is fun. It is exciting. This is a place to embrace and enjoy life….and we do. Pot. No Pot. It’s just one more option.