With temperatures soaring into the upper 90’s the misting station just outside the “Weed the People” event entrance was a popular location. On July 3 the MCF Craft Brewing Systems warehouse, located in Portland, was turned into a virtual cannabis heaven. Individuals began lining up at 11 A.M. to ensure they would be one of the first 1000 participants to enter the event at 2 P.M. in hopes of receiving a coveted gift bag. Even if you weren’t one of the first 1000 you were still ensured, by purchasing your ticket, to go home with up to seven grams of prime smoke.
Joshua Jardine Taylor, local author of the Portland Mercury column Cannabuzz and founder of Oregon’s Cannabis Concierge (OCC), began creating “Weed the People” with the passing of Measure 91. “When we passed Measure 91 back in November, I thought it would be really cool to have some sort of large scale public event that involved both the gifting and the consumption of cannabis on premise, so I designed the event,” Taylor said.
Karen Sprague, CEO and founder of The CO2 Company and close friend of Taylor, stepped in as the events prime sponsor. The CO2 Company launched about a year ago supplying Oregon dispensaries with 100 percent, outdoor grown, organic, cannabis oil. “Growth is really huge,” Sprague said. “We’re expanding into larger equipment, more products, that kind of thing. We’re going about as fast as we can. It’s been full on.” She hopes people will walk away from the Weed the Poeple event with a more informed view of who uses cannabis. “I think the stereotype is wrong. Because the people I interact with are just from every walk of life. There’s seniors who are being helped by it. People are able to come out now, and it looks different, but I don’t think it is different. Some of the stoner images are like, ‘I don’t care what people think,’ so they’re not in the closet, so that’s what it looks like. Now the other people are coming out,” Sprague said.
With an overwhelming response of support, Taylor was able to offer participants access to 30 vendors including 5 to 6 dispensaries, traditional head shop’s, artistic designers offering laser etched grinders, and custom made leather accessories. There was even a company offering virtual reality adventures. Thomas Hayden, a leading pioneer in the use of 360 degree filming, was on hand to help individuals experience the unique virtual reality trips offered by 360 Labs.
The most popular location was of course the “Growers Garden” where participants had the opportunity to speak with growers about their products. Upon entering the event each participant was given a yellow wrist band which had seven numbered tabs attached. As you moved through the “Growers Garden” you were able to choose the specific strain of cannabis you would like to try and the grower would remove a tab in exchange for one gram of your chosen cannabis. The mood was quite giddy as individuals freely smelled and touched the samples being offered. With strains ranging from banana flavored to dank skunk there was an option for every palette.
“This has been something my sister and I have fought for for years. We’ve signed every petition, we have marched, we have been to Salem I don’t know how many times. This is very, very important,” said Linda Lund. Lund, a native Oregonian, was the first person in line waiting to get into the event. “Just being with a whole bunch of like minded people who are enjoying freedom because that is what this. This is a little taste of freedom,” Lund said when asked what she looked forward to the most. Lund purchased her ticket as soon as she heard about the event and was smart to do so. The event sold out only allowing 3000 individuals to enter and leaving over 1000 others on a waiting list. People were still standing in line outside waiting to enter at 4:30, two and a half hours after Lund entered.
An overwhelming success, Taylor hopes to continue offering such events through his company, Oregon Cannabis Concierge (OCC). “OCC is a full service agency that incorporates cannabis into your personal and professional life, be it through educational classes, finding ways to incorporate it into birthday parties, weddings, company affairs, and doing bud tending where people actually get a chance to try different products with the people who are trained in those products,” Taylor said.
At the end of the day the overall hope was for participants to walk away with a better idea of what the passing of Measure 91 really means to cannabis users, and to provide an educational adventure into the ever changing world of marijuana usage. “There’s so many new pieces of equipment, terminology, and products, and if you were someone who consumed back in the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s and gave it up for whatever reason and is someone who is returning to the fold, much less someone who is coming to this for the first, you almost need a cannabis 101 class to get educated on everything that is going on before you start immersing yourself,” Taylor said. Keep an eye open for future events to be held in order to continue the education process.