I wasn’t in Portland for long.
A last minute detour came up the day I left, and while I most definitely made the right choice, the end result was that I didn’t get into Portland until 9PM. I’ve got a friend in Portland who owns a house with a couple roommates (everyone in their 20’s or 30’s), and he let me stay at their place. The house is fantastic. It’s got all the charm and eccentricity of a group house at a college, but with the care and upkeep that only comes from ownership. My friend explained to me that the neighborhood they’re in is getting nicer, and they’re fixing up the place as much as they can with the end goal of selling it for much more than the original purchase price.
He showed me the yard, the fire pit, the deck they built themselves. As we finished up the tour of the house on the second floor, he casually added, “And that’s the attic where I grow pot. Wanna see?”
He’s got a license to legally grow medical marijuana, and he explained the hoops you have to go through to be a part of the process. Growers are not actually allowed to sell what they grow, but they can give the plants to a licensed clinic, who can then show their gratitude and appreciation with a donation. Even then, there are rules about the size of the donation. The whole point is that you’re not supposed to be making money on weed in Oregon.
He showed me the whole set up, which looks much like everything I’ve ever seen on TV. There are fans and lights running constantly, and the whole place is sealed up. He told me about moving the plants to the various wattages and the different light and dark cycles. There was noise all the time from the fans, and I couldn’t help but wonder how much the plants I was looking at would sell for illegally in another state.
I’d seen plenty of grow operations on TV, and I’d heard about the lengths people have to go to in order to grow pot inside, but standing there I was struck with the sheer lunacy of it all. They’re plants. If he was allowed to keep them outside, or even in a normal greenhouse, they wouldn’t be nearly this much work, nor would they require so much electricity. He wouldn’t have to set up industrial bulbs on timers. The sun already does all that on it’s own.
In the morning my friend and I got biscuits and gravy at a place run by old punk rockers that only serves booze and breakfast. We talked about music, and how they recently voted down a bill to put fluoride in the water. And this is Portland. I’ve been there several times before, so it’s not a big deal that I didn’t get much time in the city. I’ve had the doughnuts, I’ve seen the bookstore, I’ve taken the pictures. But my short time in Portland served as a good starting point. It’s probably not going to be like this in Lubbock, and that’s sort of the whole point. I know Seattle, I know Portland. I want to know everywhere else.