Weed the People
Promotional poster for the event
|Date||July 3, 2015|
|Venue||Metal Craft Fabrication
723 North Tillamook Street
|Location||Portland, Oregon, U.S.|
|Organised by||The Portland Mercury|
“Weed the People“, officially “Weed the People: A Cannabis Legalization Celebration“, was an event held in Portland, Oregon on July 3, 2015, two days after recreational marijuana became legal in the U.S. state of Oregon.
“Weed the People” was held two days after recreational marijuana became legal in Oregon and sold out quickly. It was organized by the local alternative weekly newspaper The Portland Mercury and cannabis businesses (Oregon’s Cannabis Concierge and the CO2 Company), and produced by Connie Wohn, who said it was clear “enthusiasm is high and the demand is there.” The alcohol-free celebration, believed to be the “first formal event with free cannabis giveaways”, took place from 2–9pm at Metal Craft Fabrication (or MCF Craft Brewing Systems), a former craft brewery and industrial building in north Portland. Between 1,300 and 2,000 participants were supplied with up to seven grams of marijuana, which they could consume openly at the event or take home. Organizers circumnavigated a temporary limit on recreational sales by distributing marijuana for free and having attendees pay a $40 entry fee.
Inside were cannabis plants, a lounge (or “chill out area”) with seating and music, smoking devices, cannabis and food vendors, and a “Grow Garden” where attendees picked up their free samples; out back was a fenced-in yard with an on-site taco truck. Guests also had the opportunity to meet farmers and producers from local businesses and dispensaries. Most attendees were from the Portland metropolitan area, though some were from as far away as Idaho and Michigan. According to Wohn, event organizers were prepared and met with “any agency that could’ve had any sort of recourse or legal ramification on this event.” The Portland Police Bureau “blessed” the event and did not have a large presence. The Mercury's cannabis correspondent Josh Taylor, who helped and organize the event, said: “It celebrates the throwing off of oppression and the freedom of legalization. And now, people can watch the fireworks tomorrow while high. They were probably going to do that anyway, but we’re just helping them along.”
“Weed the People” was not without complications: organizers sold 1,336 tickets and were prepared to supply enough product for all attendees, but the building’s capacity was 500, resulting in long entry lines. Hot temperatures both inside the building and outside resulted in at least two people passing out and a visit from the local fire department for medical treatment. However, people were reportedly patient as they waited in lines and there were no personal disputes during the event. In addition, there were enough cannabis products for all attendees.
The Oregonian said: “In a city where recreational marijuana events have struggled just to get off the ground, Weed the People represented an effort that, while it had its issues, was unprecedented … Yes, there were long lines and yes, people had to pay $40 to obtain their free marijuana, but Weed the People was historic nonetheless. In cities around the country, carrying around seven grams of cannabis can mean serious jail time. In Portland on Friday, it was a cause for celebration … It meant freedom to consume a drug people many had already been consuming, it meant freedom from fear of arrest for doing so, it meant the opportunity to smoke, to eat and to vaporize freely – a freedom many in Oregon will be exercising enthusiastically.”
Keegan Hamilton of Vice News described the event as a “veritable weed Disneyland” and “a celebration of newfound freedom”. Furthermore, he said, “More than just giving Oregon residents and visitors the opportunity to exercise their new legal right to get high, ‘Weed the People’ illustrated how vast the market is for marijuana and related products, and how strange it is that the drug is now technically legal to possess but illegal to procure for people who haven’t received authorization from a doctor.”
- Humphrey, Wm. Steven (June 8, 2015). “Celebrate Your Cannabis Independence with… Weed the People!”. The Portland Mercury. Portland, Oregon: Index Publishing. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
- Hamilton, Keegan (July 4, 2015). “In Photos: Celebrating America and Legal Marijuana at Portland’s ‘Weed the People’ Party”. Vice News. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
- “Weed the People draws thousands in Portland”. Portland, Oregon: KOIN. July 3, 2015. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
- Perry, Alyssa Jeong (July 4, 2015). “Free marijuana for all: Oregonians exercise the right to Weed the People”. The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
- Hale, Jamie (July 3, 2015). “Marijuana giveaway draws huge crowds at historic Weed the People event in Portland”. The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
- Hamilton, Keegan (July 4, 2015). “In Photos: Celebrating America and Legal Marijuana at Portland’s ‘Weed the People’ Party”. Vice News. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
- Weed the People: A Cannabis Legalization Celebration! at Bold Type Tickets
- Weed the People Portland—A Cannabis Legalization Celebration! at Facebook