Portland’s World Famous Cannabis Cafe Fights to Keep Doors Open

The World Famous Cannabis Cafe, a cannabis social club in Portland, OR, has started a GoFundMe campaign to help cover the costs of staying open. The club is facing $4,000 per month in civil fines as penalties for refusing to close its doors.

The cafe has served medical marijuana patients in Portland since it first opened in 2009, granting those who can’t consume their medicine at home a place to vape, dab, or smoke — surrounded by a pub-like ambiance and live music. The cafe is BYOC: Bring Your Own Cannabis, as marijuana cannot yet be sold legally outside of a licensed dispensary.

For many years, the cafe operated out of a strip mall basement on 82nd Avenue. After closing and relocating last summer, owner Madeline Martinez reopened WFCC in a new storefront location on Foster Blvd. Yelp reviews describe the cafe as “dark, warm, and cozy,” and feeling like “a jazz club.”

Though cannabis social clubs are legal under Oregon’s cannabis laws, WFCC has run aground of a different state law: the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act. The law, designed to prevent secondhand tobacco smoke in public places, has been updated to include cannabis under its prohibitive umbrella. The law allows tobacco smoke in cigar bars and smoke shops, but makes no exemptions for legal cannabis clubs, nor does it provide any alternative locations for adults 21 and over to consume their legally purchased cannabis — placing Oregon residents in a conundrum where they are unable to access their new legal rights.

According to WFCC’s GoFundMe campaign, the cafe faces $4,000 in civil fines each month from the state of Oregon as long as it remains open. And the cafe will stay open as long as it can, the GoFundMe tells the cafe’s supporters, while Martinez fights for an exemption or amendment to the ICAA.

“The WFCC is a necessary part of the community,” writes Chelle DeHart, creator of the campaign. “As such, Madeline Martinez is standing her ground.”

Supporters can help support the World Famous Cannabis Cafe’s effort by visiting the lounge in Portland, Oregon, or supporting the GoFundMe campaign.

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