DOWN AT THE NEW AMSTERDAM: My parents are nice Midwestern people. They like station wagons, syndicated episodes of Monk, and breakfast at the type of diners you'll find within a stone's throw of the World Famous Cannabis Cafe (7958 SE Foster Road, 777-1667, usaworldfamouscannabiscafe.com). They certainly aren't stoners—I imagine their image of a cannabis user is still the Wu-Tang Clan-loving, Jeep-driving bro-dudes they encountered in the parking lot of my high school—but I know they'd be more comfortable experiencing this whole legal weed thing here. Madeline Martinez's new spot is much more welcoming than, say, my dealer dude's house. Or my own house, even. Being a user myself, my expectations were low for the reboot of this accidentally world famous cafe, the first place in the nation where cannabis users could congregate and imbibe.
I assumed sagging couches, mismatched knickknacks and perhaps a banged-up espresso machine. Well, on a recent Thursday evening visit I found the Cannabis Cafe is more like a spartan, small-town gathering space for smokers of all stripes than a pretentious multiuse den for dilettantes. The thanks goes to Martinez, former executive director of the Oregon NORML chapter. I was told there are no plans to operate as a dispensary starting Oct. 1, but you can find one within three blocks in any direction. Bring your bud here, and smoke in warmth, dryness and peace. Beyond the entry feeâ$5 most days, $10 during eventsâand a small menu of cafeteria snacks, thereâs not much in the way of commerce. You can get a cheeseburger ($8) or a bowl of cereal ($3). The hours are in constant flux, so check before you visit. The volunteer-manned dab station is the only âbarâ to speak of, and there youâll find an array of top-shelf shatter equipment and samples, like the small selection of complimentary product crafted by Winn Extracts from ownershipâs personal harvest. And then thereâs the sharing, which is the real reason you should consider paying WFCC a visit. Whether itâs a toke or a joke or a good idea or two, thereâs something in the air here. It smells a lot like freedom.