cannabis events
cannabis events
How Cannabis Is Influencing Culture & Creativity In Portland, Oregon. Photo via Doug Shutter/Shutterstock; Edited by Epicure & Culture.

By Becky Garrison 

With more breweries per capita than any other city in the United States, Portland, Oregon boasts tons of opportunities to visit urban breweries, wineries and distilleries. With the legalization of adult-use marijuana in July 2015, Portland now also adds cannabis cultivation facilities and dispensaries to this mix.

Like with thoughtful small-batch drinks, cannabis also has a craft culture, with artisanal growers sprouting up around the city hoping to boost the local economy, allow law enforcement to focus on more serious crimes and get drug dealers off the streets — all while offering a quality product that users can feel safe purchasing. Not only that, but locals are getting creative in the ways users can experience cannabis.

In #Portland, locals get creative on how to use #pot. #pdx Share on X

Combining Crafts With Cannabis Events

On April 20, 2016, I decided to take advantage of Oregon’s legalized recreational cannabis opportunities and celebrate 4/20 by enrolling in a two-hour Puff, Pass & Paint class. Denver-based painter Heidi Keyes originated this educational and interactive happening in 2014. After two years of sold out classes, Heidi partnered with Samantha Montanaro who now offers monthly cannabis-infused art classes at Portland’s Prism House PDX.

Cannabis events
The Puff Pass Paint art students

When I arrived at 7:15pm class had just begun, with thirty people — each behind an 11 x 14 canvas — filling the living and dining rooms. Under Samantha’s step-by-step guidance even non-artists like me learned a few basics about how to use perspective and color to create a still-life depiction of a vase filled with flowers.

Cannabis & Community

In honor of 4/20, Urban Fields donated a giant joint that was passed around, though only a few adventurous painters dared to partake in this supersize doobie. Some chose to smoke a more standard size joint or partake from the dose vape pens from Titrate made from organic herb blends and combined with Clean Green Certified premium cannabis. For those who enjoy cannabis-infused edibles, Half Baked Labs provided brownies (10mg) and caramels (30mg), while Margalaxy supplied raw, gluten free and vegan moon bars for those wanting a non-infused bite.

Sometimes, #cannabis can be downright creative. Here's how. #pdx Share on X
Cannabis events
Samantha, teaching the Puff Pass Paint art class

Slowly I eased myself into art. Very gingerly I put paint to canvas, taking care to follow Samantha’s instructions. Occasionally I took a hit from the vape pen next to me. My background contained the requisite lines needed to achieve proper perspective and my flower vase began to emerge in the foreground. In a very methodical manner, I depicted the nuances of light and shading as I crafted a painting befitting the Thomas Kinkade crew.

A Puff Of Inspiration

But within an hour the edibles I consumed kicked in, and my painting took a definite surreal turn. Samantha encouraged us to venture into the kitchen where we could choose multimedia objects such as magazine clippings and pressed cannabis leafs to add dimension to our work.

As my mind became more mischievous, I inserted a rather phallic looking shrimp photograph into my floral arrangement. This addition gave my painting a definite Dadaist vibe. I then layered into my flower vase multimedia elements such as a photo of a couple kissing and a few selected pressed cannabis leaves.

Cannabis events
Becky’s cannabis-inspired art piece

As we hit the two-hour mark, we all put down our paintbrushes and pot. In my altered state I could see how my cannabis-inspired brush strokes transformed my painting from pornographic to psychedelic. I seemed to have unlocked a spiritual and sexual energy that infused an inner life to my still life painting.

I would never classify my creation as museum-quality art; but cannabis definitely elevated my mind, so what I produced could never be called Kinkade-like.

This is what happens when you combine #cannabis with #creative arts. #pdx Share on X

Future Events

While this was my first attempt at cannabis-focused arts, I’ve also been to some of Prism House PDX’s other cannabis related events like ganja yoga and a ganja themed-Halloween party. Follow them on Facebook to catch wind of future happenings.

Cannabis events
Becky Garrison

About Becky Garrison

Becky Garrison is a freelance writer and storyteller currently based in Portland. Currently she is working on her eighth book, a creative non-fiction work titled “War of the Game” based on her quest to connect with her dying grandfather through his stories which describe his exploits coaching football in the Pacific during World War II. Follow her on Twitter @Becky_Garrison or Instagram @becky_garrison.

Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

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  1. I wish there were more cannabis meetings like this in Europe…. I mean first we need to legalize it and then organize things like this. Keep up with a great work!

  2. I didn’t know that there were activities like this, how fun. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great paint night!
    Love the air and the people! really happy!

  4. It’s interesting to see the different cultural activities happening throughout the country as more states legalize marijuana. This post shows a different aspect of the cannabis culture that is rarely shown. Thanks for sharing.

  5. What an interesting post, Becky! I really enjoyed getting a glimpse of the beautiful experience cannabis can produce through the awesome art-piece. I just hope other places in the world follow this and hold similar events.

  6. i didnt know that there is activity like this.. been for some countries weed is still illegal.. specially 3rd wold countries.. this is what i observe! i just hope that medical marijuana will be approve in phils. and some other countries! your blog is so inspiring!

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