Beginning at midnight Oct. 1, Portland medical-marijuana dispensaries can sell to the general public. That means—pending a little red tape involving city permits—the city now has 100-plus places where you can buy weed legally.
Today, WW publishes the Potlander, our complete guide to every shop in town. A team of seven writers spent several months visiting them for the city's first comprehensive, journalistic guide to Portland dispensaries—beware the shameless paid content other weekly newspapers are peddling as "cannabis guides" to Oregon.
Well, I decided to go to all the shops in town. Myself. It took 80 hours, and I came away with approximately 105 grams of weed. There are a lot of great shops out there, but six stood out for me.
7501 SW Capitol Highway, Suite A, 889-0682, calyxes.com. Cash only.
There's a calming presence here. From the carved wooden signs to the relaxed budtenders, Calyxes is the high-end cigar bar of dispensaries. Owner, founder and master grower John Bayes has better taste than most of us can yet appreciate, but there's no pretension—just some of the best flower around. Strains effects are clearly marked on the store's daily menu, giving newbies something to look forward to and pros more of an idea of what they're about to consume. While it's not an easy find for people not already in Southwest, this is where you go to geek out on weed. Pro tip: Ask the budtenders for Bayes' current second-favorite strain.
916 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 206-4357, farmapdx.com.
There's no better place to learn about cannabis as medicine than this Apple Store-like location. Owner and head budtender Jeremy Plumb works with Phylos Bioscience to bring today's molecular genetic research capabilities to the cannabis industry, guaranteeing we'll hear about Farma when it's proven cannabis cures cancer or at least when the best topicals can treat your grandma's arthritis. Don't be afraid to take your baby-boomer parents here; it's your best bet to get them to accept that cannabis is actually medicine—and they'll really like the weed. Pro tip: Feel free to describe the exact high you're looking for. These guys will get you there.
1327 NW Kearney St., 971-254-4765, ofmeds.com.
With one location in the Pearl District and another across from the Convention Center, Oregon's Finest may have the two best locations of any dispensary. This isn't a place to buy a bunch of value weed, but it is the best place, close to downtown, to find top-shelf flower from a variety of high-end growers. With a shared workspace for cannabis entrepreneurs rumored to be going in at its new location, Oregon's Finest may be producing more than weed in the near future. Pro tip: Check out whatever limited-run strains the shop has. It has featured past Cannabis Cup winners.
1528 SE Holgate Blvd., 369-8955, pakalolopdx.com. Cash only.
On Holgate next to the new Orange Line MAX stop, Pakalolo has one of the biggest and coolest-looking joints in town. The shop's offerings start at 1 gram—that's normally the large size—and increase by 0.5 grams twice and then more than double to a 4.5-gram "Fatboy" packed with Obama Kush. Remember, it's puff, puff, pass, and try not to salivate on the filter—we all have to touch that part, man. Pro tip: Don't be afraid to ask for a custom joint.
6714 NE Sandy Blvd., 477-5083, panaceapdx.com. Credit, debit or cash.
Part art gallery, part social-justice organization, and part cannabis dispensary, this place has a cohesiveness that wraps around anyone walking in. From its focus on local artists to giving 10 percent of its profits to causes it personally supports, Panacea feels like a place for liberals wanting to support a cause without going full social-justice warrior. Its insight into helping out while curing disease feels genuine, and it would be hard to walk out without a smile. Pro tip: Leave the snark at the door, it's not a good look here.
7817 NE Halsey St., 780-4834.
At this 1-week-old shop (too new to make it into our glossy), it's hard not to fall in love with stellar presentation. From the vials of hash to the clear plastic containers of flower, all set on black, nonslip pads on dark wood, this is what a high-end dispensary should look like. Inside feels masculine—more steampunk than Wild West—and spartan, which gives the product shelves added visual weight. The owner-grower-budtender displayed impressive, easy-to-read information cards with grow-site, analytical and pricing details on every product, something you'd think would be standard but definitely isn't. Pro tip: Watch out for the Betty Banana, it's one of a kind.
Tyler Hurst, who wrote a huge number of listings for the Potlander guide, has some people he'd like to thank... Props to AmeriCannaRx for helping out with strain recommendations, and the good doctor and his staff at Emerald Leaf Institute for dropping science on us. Looking Glass Extracts walked us through all the states of cannabis, while World Famous Cannabis Cafe's Madeline Martinez gave us a safe place to sample and grower recommendations. The team at Oregon's Best Meds let us use its light box when ours wasn't available, and Foster Buds helped us pick the best flower. Portland Premium talked the future of edibles, while Oregon's Finest chatted about the future of the cannabis industry. Family-run Shaman Fine Cannabis helped identify edibles worthy of consumption, while Genesis Pharms showed us how many edible options there really are. Silver Stem Portland wowed us with both its strain knowledge and vinyl selection, while the group at Uplift Botanicals allowed us plenty of time to research strains worth of inclusion. Thanks, guys.
ALSO LOOK FOR THE POTLANDER MAGAZINE, OUT TODAY!