First U.S. Marijuana Cafe Opens for Business in Portland

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Cancel your
flight to Amsterdam – the U.S. just got its first marijuana
cafe on Friday. Located in Portland, Ore., the Cannabis Cafe shows
how attitudes have changed since the Obama administration moved
into the White House. A month ago, President Barack Obama told federal
attorneys to ease off medical marijuana prosecutions.

The widening
use of medicinal marijuana has forced governments into a tenuous
legal balancing act, according
to a Reuters report
. Some states passed legislation to allow
it, starting with California in 1996. Nonetheless, a federal ban
remains in place. The operation of businesses like the Cannabis
Cafe, as well as marijuana establishments in California, has been
possible as long as federal authorities have chosen not to pursue
them. Unlike the shops in California, though, the Portland establishment
is the first in the U.S. where certified medical marijuana users
can both acquire and consume their marijuana, as long as they stay
out of public view.

Madeline Martinez,
executive director of the National Organization
for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
in Oregon, says that the Cannabis
Club "represents personal freedom, finally, for our members."
NORML supports legislation to legalize marijuana.

"Our plans
go beyond serving food and marijuana," Martinez continues.
"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 Food
is For Sale, but the Pot is Free

The Cannabis
Cafe’s new home is a two-story building with an interesting past.
Once upon a time, it was occupied by a speakeasy, and later, an
adult entertainment club called Rumpspankers. The Cannabis Cafe
is a private club, but any Oregon resident who is a member of NORML
and has an official medical marijuana card can gain entry.

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the rest of the article

November
18, 2009

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