When pot became legal, it very quickly became cannabis.
One side effect of the post-prohibition retail market was the rush to win the top of the market, with trendy shops that look as if they were furnished by Design Within Reach and that specialize in boutique organic oils and high-end edibles that cost $30 per serving. At most of these stores, if you didn't have to wait while your ID was checked into the computer system, you might think you'd entered an apothecary on the moon—where newly discovered "cannabis" had been brought aboard a concrete-floor laboratory for experimentation.
But at Electric Lettuce, you don't buy cannabis. You score bud, reefer or ganja.
Electric Lettuce isn't any less bougie than its sister shop, Serra—but it's working a much different vibe.
"We wanted to really embrace the counterculture," says Chasity Roesler, marketing director for Serra and Electric Lettuce. "We wanted that late-'60s and early-'70s vibe to be present. When pot was still cool, when Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix were still alive. So we took an approach of calling it 'grass,' 'weed,' 'reefer' in the windows."
The signage is modeled after that of a short-lived head shop called Psychedelic Supermarket in Lair Hill, dating back to when the neighborhood just south of downtown was an acid-happy hippie haven.
Inside, that aesthetic continues with a hanging chair, old ashtrays, LPs from the early '70s and lots of vintage books, magazines and pamphlets collected from all over, including a handout called "Marihuana: Some Questions and Answers" that was sent to a doctor's office in Eugene.
For the decor, Electric Lettuce is looking for "things that sort of embrace when it was still illegal but people were still partaking and enjoying and changing," Roesler says.
Powerhouse local branding agency OMFG Co. took a "deep dive" to find out what was popular for the period. The T-shirts look like something you'd expect to see on a YMCA camp counselor in bell-bottoms.
"You want to bring your mom here, or your dad here, and hear those old stories," she says. "Part of the inspiration was, you find your dad's old keepsake box and inside it is an old roach clip and these photos, and you're like, 'Dad, tell me those stories! Grandpa, tell me those stories!'"
The shop doesn't have any Thai sticks, yet, but it's on the hunt for hash and other throwback products. There's a small display of roach clips, and Electric Lettuce is looking to source strains like Panama Red and Acapulco Gold.
"We try to find exclusive things very specific to us and us alone," she says. "We're actually working with growers to find those old, classic strains so that we can definitely sell here. It's not just about buying high-quality flower anymore, but for this brand, it's about buying product that fits."
Electric Lettuce, 1450 SW Marlow Ave., 503-954-3456, electriclettuce.com. 8 am-8 pm daily.