It’s true. There are proteins called cannabinoid receptors just sitting up there, waiting to be activated. Whenever you toke up, those molecules come alive. You know that alleged Ben Franklin quote, “Beer is proof God wants us to be happy”? When it comes to marijuana, that might be the literal truth.
Isn’t it about time, then, to start thinking about pot the same way we think of beer, or coffee, or any of Portland’s other favorite craft products? With Washington and Colorado already making the leap into legalization—and each state getting rewarded with a team in the Super Bowl—marijuana has never been more mainstream. Gone are the days of gateway-drug fear mongering and stoner stereotyping. A year ago in these pages, we celebrated the final days of pot culture as we once knew it. Today, we are living in an altered reality. The green dawn is here.
Overall marijuana use by Americans skyrocketed 47 percent from 2007 to 2012. That spike hasn’t been met with an increase in law enforcement—in fact, the number of marijuana-related arrests fell 15 percent in the same period. In other words, we’re burning much more bud than we did at the end of the Bush administration, and yet far fewer of us are getting busted.
Consider this issue your guide to that new frontier. Oregon hasn’t yet legalized, but we’re getting another shot at it soon, and when state laws finally catch up to society at large, you’ll want to be prepared. You’ll meet local pot artisans—a grower, a sisterly baking duo and a chemist—innovating the ways we think about cannabis. We will introduce you to Washington’s “ganjapreneur,” and take you to the cradle of marijuana culture, Amsterdam, for a report on the industry’s cutting edge. We’ll give you a cheat sheet for how to behave in a cannabis club and your dealer’s apartment. And we’ll help you decide what strain to consume, and how best to consume it. Because whatever high you’re looking for, there is a weed for you. After all, you were programmed that way.