We've been smoking weed for a long, long time. Anthropologists think humans first used cannabis about 10,000 years ago, on the island of Taiwan. For some perspective, that's back then woolly mammoths were still dipping their tusks into the icy-cool waters of the glacier-fed Willamette.
And yet, because prohibition of cannabis coincided with the industrial revolution, one of mankind's all-time favorite plants was excluded from the modern economy.
In Oregon, that continued until last year. We've since seen the vital medical marijuana system blossom into our state's most exciting and important industry since logging. The culture and commerce of marijuana is shifting. Cannabis consumers are becoming consumers.
That's where this magazine comes in. The Potlander is your guide to Portland cannabis in the consumer era. We're here to celebrate the best stuff happening in the industry and guide casual users toward the very best experiences.
For that reason, this edition no longer has a comprehensive list of every pot shop in town, but rather limits itself to our 75 favorites. Some are beautiful rooms with great budtenders, some offer great bargains, many work with tiny craft growers or have unique house-grown flower, some are just in otherwise underserved neighborhoods. We know some will disagree with our choices, but our writers have visited every shop in the city within the past year and have full editorial independence to make decisions based on the expertise we've gained while covering this growing industry.
This magazine is published by Willamette Week, a 40-year-old alternative newspaper with a Pulitzer Prize.
We published a regular cannabis column years before legalization, back when we were the only general-interest publication in the state to do so. We've sought to maintain the same high standard our readers expect of everything we do.
Consumerism does create a few undesirable side effects. Capitalism tends to concentrate wealth in the hands of wily entrepreneurs. Low-quality products can thrive with slick marketing. Some shoppers will demand absurdly low prices and punish producers who invest in their products. The government isn't always fair to industries it has the power to tightly regulate.
But things are moving in the right direction. One Portland cannabis shop has unionized budtenders, edibles will soon be available recreationally, and there's more high-quality product on Oregon shelves now than ever before. Unlike our northern neighbors, you can legally grow your own if you want to stay totally off the grid.
What follows is our guide to all that and more. We've picked our favorite strains by activity, shown you where to smoke with friends, made road trips to dispensaries across the state and Washington, and charted the wonders of Sandy Boulevard, the greatest stoney street in the world. We hope you find it useful and accurate, and that you enjoy all that consumerism has to offer.