Does America Really Need 'Marijuana Cafés'?

November 19, 2009 – What the opening of a club for medical marijuana smokers in Oregon means for U.S. drug policy.

Cannabis Café — America’s first marijuana lounge — has opened in Portland, Ore., just weeks after President Obama announced he would defer to local laws in states that permit medicinal use of the drug. The club (located in the former home of an adult erotic speakeasy called Rumpspankers) is only open to members of the marijuana-legalization advocacy group, NORML, who are cleared to get medicinally high. But are Amsterdam-style pot cafes (with “budtenders” behind the bar) really what Obama had in mind? Watch a local report about the Cannabis Cafe’s opening:

Yes — everybody needs a place to relax: “This is an idea whose time has come,” says Jac Chebatoris in Tonic, especially for cancer patients who use medicinal marijuana to regain their appetite post-chemo. Remember “Cheers”? People who smoke pot for their health deserve a place to go, where everybody knows their name.

Is this calculated political provocation? Timing “may be the real story” here, say the editors of Christian Law Journal. NORML must hope this club, which would be right at home in the “very liberal Dutch city of Amsterdam,” will test Obama’s commitment to pushing America leftward by softening drug policy.

This is hardly a revolution: Cannabis Cafe’s grand opening got a lot of people excited, says Sarah Mirk in the Portland Mercury, but “opening night seemed like kind of a bust.” As one member of the first night crowd put it: “Why would I want to smoke with a bunch of people I don’t know?” “$60 cover scares off some at Cannabis Cafe opening”


2 responses to “Does America Really Need 'Marijuana Cafés'?”

  1. Why should anybody be afraid of Law Abiding Citizens gathering to share a Common Interest and friendship, Talk about methods of Delivery or Baking Recipes,Etc? It will also provide customers for the surrounding Businesses, If I had a Business nearby…And I had a Choice between a Cannabis Club for a neighbor or a Bar….I would choose the Cannabis Club…So I would NOT have to deal with DRUNKS!!!!

  2. Each time I read this story, someone wonders why people need to gather and socialize if medication is the issue here. The simple answer is that Medical Cannabis is not like other medications. There is no convenient PDR handy for us to consult for dosages or strain strength. Growing and cultivating this medicine is an art, one not found at Agricultural Colleges. We NEED to have places where we can meet and openly discuss Cannabis information and methods with other like minded, and experienced folk.

    Simply to go to a place like this, where various strains are available for use, is a major boon. We know that different strains are effective on different pains, but unless we can get access to a variety of strains, WHICH strain is best for each of us is a matter of guesswork, and expensively frustrating if we are forced into the streets to get different strains from what was grown for us. With a mature plant limit of 6 at any one time, that limits the experimentation that we can legally do.

    Medicating with Cannabis demands more of the patient than medicating with pills or powders from Big Pharm. We need to be able to discuss all aspects of the medication, from production to delivery. A Cannabis cafe provides a pleasant and safe environment in which to learn, listen and offer insights which others might find helpful. Criminalized for so long, Medical Cannabis users can finally come out of the closet and begin to call upon each other for sound, proven advice and help. Something you cannot get from your friendly neighborhood pusher.

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