First US marijuana cafe opens in Portland


The Cannabis Cafe in Portland, Oregon, is the first to give certified medical marijuana users a place to get hold of the drug and smoke it — as long as they are out of public view — despite a federal ban.
“This club represents personal freedom, finally, for our members,” said Madeline Martinez, Oregon’s executive director of NORML, a group pushing for marijuana legalisation.

“Our plans go beyond serving food and marijuana,” said Martinez. “We hope to have classes, seminars, even a Cannabis Community College, based here to help people learn about growing and other uses for cannabis.”
The cafe — in a two-storey building which formerly housed a speak-easy and adult erotic club Rumpspankers — is technically a private club, but is open to any Oregon residents who are NORML members and hold an official medical marijuana card.
Members pay $25 per month to use the 100-person capacity cafe. They don’t buy marijuana, but get it free over the counter from “budtenders”. Open from 10 am to 10 pm, it serves food but has no liquor licence.
There are about 21,000 patients registered to use marijuana for medical purposes in Oregon.

Doctors have prescribed marijuana for a host of illnesses, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and Tourette’s syndrome.
On opening day, reporters invited to the cafe could smell, but were not allowed to see, people smoking marijuana.

“I still run a coffee shop and events venue, just like I did before we converted it to the Cannabis Cafe, but now it will be cannabis-themed,” said Eric Solomon, the owner of the marijuana cafe.

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