Just your weekly stoner news update, y'all.
- Madeline Martinez at the Cannabis Cafe during happier times.
First of all: the much-hyped Cannabis Cafe in North Portland is closing after a mere six months of business. I last stopped by the cafe, which took over the space formerly occupied by restaurant/erotic speakeasy Rumpspankers, on opening night. Even back then, I reported, the cafe seemed like kind of a bust. A long line of medical marijuana cardholders snaked out the door, waiting to enter the private lounge set up by medical pot group Oregon NORML. But the $60 cover fee ($55 to join NORML and $5 a day to hang out at the cafe) led to rampant grumbling and desertion down the line.
The first-in-the-nation marijuana lounge caught the eye of national media, but as the Oregonian reports, its dissolution seems to be purely business between Oregon NORML director Madeline Martinez and building owner Erik Solomon:
Solomon came up with a plan to rename the cafe Rumpspankers Vapor Bar and open similar outlets elsewhere.
Solomon showed Martinez T-shirts printed with that name and logo, Martinez said — the name and logo that now adorn the door of the cafe space. "In my opinion, it breached our contract, and my lawyer agreed with me," Martinez said. That, along with sanitation concerns, led Martinez to confront Solomon on May 5, she said.
Solomon said Martinez's allegations about sanitation are baseless, and said the Cannabis Cafe was never more than a side operation to his restaurant. "Madeline Martinez was never more than a guest here. Rumpspankers has been here for three years," he said. "I can name my business anything I want."
He said his Vapor Bar opened as soon as the cafe closed and offers the same services but with no required NORML membership, only a $5 daily membership fee.
What a hilarious and characteristic twist to this story. I can only assume that Woodlawn neighbors are relieved the Cannabis Cafe is gone, though replacing it with "Rumpspankers Vapor Bar" isn't really any better for a neighborhood that was hoping for a good restaurant or coffee shop.
Second of all: the economic dangers of legalizing pot! According to a report on NPR (where else?), the lax enforcement of marijuana laws in California has led to plunging pot prices, crippling the economies of northern California counties.