The prohibitionists warned us it would happen, and it did. Oregon’s legalization of marijuana has profoundly altered the public’s perception of the once-illicit substance. Legalization—even if not technically in effect quite yet—has led to normalization. That means lots of cheerfully earnest questions from people who maybe haven’t smoked a “doobie” since 1973, who are suddenly interested in knowing all about today’s marijuana scene.

Here's what they're asking, and what you should tell them in response.

How do I find weed?

Just ask around. Chances are, one of your friends or co-workers has an OMMP card and will be happy to get you some weed on their next visit to the dispensary. Ask them what you owe, and remember that, at minimum, it's polite to offer to let them keep your change for the hassle.

It's really that easy?

Yes, someone you know has a hookup. Much of the weed that people are smoking in Portland right now is siphoned from the medical industry—just like the conservative scolds warned would happen…

A "hookup?" Isn't that what your generation calls a sex partner?

Yeah, but it's also a non-professional dealer. The other acceptable nomenclature is "a guy," as in: "My guy has some fresh Sour Diesel."

I don't want to ask people I know. Is there another option? A street corner or something?

Just go to Craigslist. Just search for "420" or "weed" or "MJ." You'll find someone who is happy to part with some of his or her medical stash in exchange for a donation. They may even deliver it to you.

Aren't you worried it'll be an undercover cop?

Naw, cops in Portland generally don't bother busting people for selling weed on Craigslist. In fact, if one did, that would be a classic "man bites dog" news story, and you'd read about it in The Oregonian.


What about Vancouver?

Sure, you can do that. Vancouver's two recreational shops are well-staffed and stocked, and the budtenders we've encountered seem to make a special effort to reintroduce oldsters to their long-neglected bud. The only downsides are the drive and the price, which is about double what you'd pay on the gray market in Portland.

So what does weed cost?

Well, it really varies depending on potency and the source. In Vancouver, the floor is usually $20 per gram, which is enough to make two or three joints. On the gray market in Portland, it could range anywhere from $5 to $20 for a gram. For a fat joint's worth of respectable-grade Oregon medical weed, expect to pay about $7. If you get a pre-rolled joint in Vancouver, it might cost about the same, but the joint will be smaller and less potent—which is probably OK, anyway. Generally, if you're using a guy in Portland, you want to buy at least $20 worth, which should get you through a few sessions.

I heard pot is a lot stronger now.

Yeah, it is, especially on the West Coast. That's what happens when you make something into contraband. Just as Prohibition led to the golden age of cocktails—hard liquor was the most efficient product for smugglers, so bartenders made bathtub gin into something tasty—the drug war led to the creation of super-potent weed. The Woodstock weed you knew and loved is gone, sorry. Blame yourself for not stopping Nixon when you had the chance. So you'll just have to smoke less now. Start with two hits.

What about edibles?

You don't want edibles.

But Maureen Dowd did edibles.

Yes, and you saw what happened to her. Edibles last a long, long time, and most people end up eating too much and getting too fucked up. Do you want to spend the next eight hours high? If not, you don't want edibles, at least not until you've re-familiarized yourself with the experience of being stoned. Generally, edibles are great for college kids, committed stoners and cancer patients—people who spend most of their life high—or total fucking amateurs who endanger themselves and those around them. Oh, and if you're traveling by commercial airline.

What about dabs?

You don't want dabs. 

But I've heard a lot about them.

Dabs are the crack of marijuana, super-concentrated hash oil that looks like amber and gets you really, really high. The things you smoke them out of look like crack pipes. Dabs are not for you, Dad.

So I should just smoke a bowl or joint even though smoking is bad?

Yeah, sorry. You're only taking three or four puffs, which you will hold in your lungs as long as you can and then exhale. That should get you high for between 1½ and three hours. It's also worth noting that some researchers actually found that people who toke up have slightly better lung function because they exercise their lungs in different ways. If you use a bubbler—think of it as a tiny bong or water bowl—it cools the smoke, which makes it less harsh on the lungs and filters some of the tar.

What about vaping?

Well, it's not as easy to just buy a vape pen from a friend, but it does solve your cancer worries. They have them at most dispensaries, starting around $25. Give your hookup $30.

The extra $5 is going to my guy as a tip?

You're getting the hang of this, Pops. 


Willamette Week's Annual Weed Issue, 2015