Cannabis and artistic culture simply go together – it’s historically proven! In the 1920’s, prior to prohibition, cannabis was highly regarded amongst the jazz musician community. Unlike booze, which dulled and incapacitated, cannabis enabled musicians whose job required them to play long into the night to forget their exhaustion. Moreover, the drug seemed to make their music sound more imaginative and unique, at least to those who played and listened to it while under its sensorial influence. Cannabis has permeated music, literature, writing and other forms of media for the last 100 years or so; it’s clear that the American artistic culture has been heavily influenced by its effects, and the events and community culture surrounding it have only gotten bolder since legalization.
Oregon has become the mecca for a host of different avenues where one can enjoy cannabis with like-minded company. Opportunities for crafting, socializing and experiencing cannabis in a relaxed setting with entertainment, food, education and community building abound in both major cities and smaller towns. Ingenious organizations have sprung pop-ups all over the state, bringing the plant into the spotlight by partnering with local venues or hosting events in private homes – all in the hopes of fostering a sense of inclusive camaraderie. At its core, these events are about normalizing and building bridges in a community drenched in secrecy for decades.
One such organization, Arcane Revelry, hosts monthly ‘infused dinners’ where the posh in the cannabis community can gather, socialize and network over 4 courses of gently infused craft cocktails and food. According to Crystal Feldman, event founder, these exciting events bring together community members, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, innovators, and forward thinkers that all share a love of cannabis culture and high-spirited social engagement. Crystal invites local vendors and artists, keeping invitations open to the public – but still exclusive up to a certain number of people for each dinner. The intimacy of these dinners are what’s most important – creating an atmosphere where people can relax and open up about their experiences and make meaningful connections.
For the makers and doers, those who enjoy learning more about the plant while actively creating, there are unique group meetups like the Make & Mary based in Portland, Oregon. Attendees have the opportunity to learn not only about crafts, but a bit about the industry from Oregon’s green leaders as well. The experience is rounded out with snacks, drinks, and a little natural inspiration. People are encouraged to bring their own cannabis and share, while getting a how-to on everything from make-your-own cannabis cocktails, to yoga, embroidery, wood-burning and ceramic making. These low-key, come-as-you-are events provide an easy entry threshold to the novice and/or curious user – making it effortless to join the culture and conversation. For those who desire even more physical activity, Mary Jane Fonda, a monthly workout party, invites attendees in on yoga and cardio sessions in a cannabis consumption-friendly space – blending a workout with a smoke session and encouraging an active lifestyle for all involved.
Tokeativity, a women-focused cannabis monthly meetup group, is also gaining popularity in Oregon. Started in 2017, they have gained quite a lot of attention, attracting ‘social media influencers’, press, and even partnerships with documentary television shows in other states. They offer monthly women-only themed social house parties with brand partnerships and goodies provided by women-owned cannabis companies. Their mission is to create a safe space for women to learn, grow and connect with each other in the cannabis space. Co-Founder Lisa Snyder, Oregon cannabis advocate and entrepreneur, is highly involved with local non-profits and cannabis education outreach programs – she believes that education and comprehensive involvement with non-cannabis companies helps with the fight for widespread normalization.
Highbrow meetups, social gatherings and workshops aren’t the only thing available in the new Oregon cannabis community, however. For those just looking for a good laugh, The Gateway Show, hosted by Seattle-based Billy Anderson, hosts a laugh-a-minute comedy hour whose premise is based on getting high. A rotating cast of sober comedians each perform a set, migrate to an undisclosed location and get ‘really, really high’ then come back and perform a second set under the influence. Almost every show since its debut in Portland has sold out prior to showtime. Hifi Farms, an Oregon cannabis producer, hosts private ‘listening parties’ for small groups each month, bringing bands, people and cannabis together in intimate spaces to enjoy great music and cannabis with a chance to mingle.
The spectrum of cannabis and arts is wide, with many varying degrees of culture and avenues for the intellectually curious to explore. Hopefully, 2018 Oregon cannabis legislation will include a bill for permitting more cannabis lounges and brick + mortar locations for users to congregate. This way, the threshold for entry into the cannabis community will be that much lower, encouraging more diversity and hopefully keeping the state competitive with its neighbors to the North and South. In order for cannabis tourism to thrive in Oregon, there must be easier access and more positive publicity around these types of events.