It is common knowledge that Oregon is a cannabis consumers paradise with some of the best strains and products with the lowest prices in the world. As a proud Oregonian, I’ll stand up for Oregon cannabis any day of the week and twice on Saturday at 4:20. I’ve been to many dispensaries in several states and a few coffeeshops around the world, and can honestly state that the best cannabis and selection that I’ve seen is at Kind Leaf in Pendleton, Oregon. It is tough to top the nearly 170 strains (168 today!) that they place on the shelves from the best cannabis farmers across the Beaver State.
While Washington State and California can claim great cannabis as well, you aren’t allowed to smell any of the cannabis available for purchase at their retails stores. The Willamette Week reported on how Oregon is the only state on the West Coast that allows consumers to fully smell the cannabis available at our retail outlets:
Head north or south of Oregon’s borders, and the consumer experience is far more limited. In California and Washington, state law dictates that cannabis flower must be sold in pre-packaged increments—meaning whatever you buy has already been measured and sealed, sometimes weeks beforehand.
Some California and Washington dispensaries have locked jars containing a bud or two for review, but those quickly dry out and lose their scent.
The ability to smell before you buy isn’t just a regulatory quirk: In cannabis, fragrance—or lack thereof—can indicate freshness, flavor and, if you know your terpenes, effects.
My good friend, Ngaio Bealum, an amazing activist and cannabis comedian, wrote about the plight of California connoisseurs in Leafly:
How can I find a bargain if I can’t smell the weed? How do I know if that top-shelf, $70-a-freaking-eighth bud is worth me working 10 hours at federal minimum wage, if I don’t know what it smells like?
A farmers market will let you taste a cherry or two before you buy it. The fancy Cigar Shop will let you twirl umpteen different Maduro blends under your nose until you find the one you want. But I can’t stick my nose in a bag of weed? It’s almost Unamerican.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s a cultural thing. I’m old enough to remember when “bag appeal” was a prime selling point. Some traditions are too important to let go of.
Please, regulators. Please. Look into your hearts, and bring back the deli-style cannabis club.
Cannabis regulations in Oregon still need some work, of course. For instance, we don’t have legal, regulated cannabis cafes and a lot needs to be done to help out small craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf and other mom-and-pops, but we have one bragging right on our West Coast cannabis community members–we get to smell what our talented farmers are growing.