It all used to be so simple.
When weed went legal in Oregon four years ago, no one could be bothered to think ahead. We were in the moment, finally living the dream of recreational pot, and any concern beyond how to get it, where to use it, and what to watch on Netflix afterward seemed an issue for another day.
Well, that day has come.
Sorry to harsh everyone's mellow. But if you've read even a few of the headlines in the past year, you know times are tense in the Oregon cannabis industry.
There's the issue of oversupply, which has left growers sitting on a million pounds of flower they can't sell. Then, there are those Canadian investors, who are flooding the state with cash, turning mom-and-pop dispensaries into kush-scented Starbucks. Not to mention the continuing failure to address the injustices of the War on Drugs, or the public consumption laws that have kneecapped the cannabis tourism business, or the scaremongering op-eds with titles like, "Don't Ignore the Risks of Pot."
It sounds discouraging. But think of it this way: You don't have growing pains if you're not growing. The truth of the matter is that cannabis culture has grown exponentially since 2015, when we published Willamette Week's inaugural edition of The Potlander, just after the first rec nugs hit the shelves.
Consumers are getting savvier. Farms are growing craftier and more eco-conscious. Entrepreneurs are bringing new ideas into the marketplace every day. The industry, on the whole, is gradually becoming more diverse.
It's a lot to take in. But that's why we're here.
In this year's guide to getting high in Portland, we compile everything in the world of weed that's worth celebrating, from the latest edibles to the best dispensaries to the weirdest gadgets. We pay special attention to the farms, who've had it rougher than anyone else lately. In this issue, you'll find profiles of two dozen of our favorite growers from across the state, because without them…well, this magazine wouldn't have much of a reason to exist.
The silver lining of any new industry having problems can be located in the people who emerge to solve them. That's why this issue also profiles some of Oregon weed's most innovative thinkers, who, we think, are likely to change Oregon's pot business for the better.
Portland may no longer look at the world through green-colored glasses. But the dream of legal cannabis—as a cash crop, as a medical marvel, as an all-around force for good—is still very much alive.