Wayne Oppenheimer and his wife, Camille, know their way around Oregon. They’ve been running wine tours through Great Oregon Tours for years, and have perfected the art of mixing fun with education.
The latest creation from the dynamic duo is The Potlandia Experience: a tour bus designed specifically to cater to every stoner’s whim. Papers, rolling trays, bongs and pipes are laid out throughout the bus, begging to be used. While the bus operates on a BYOM system, there are plenty of stops along the tour to help keep you supplied with green goodness.
Your 4 hour and 20 minute tour of Portland’s burgeoning cannabis industry begins the second you see the smoking purple bus. Walking up the steps, you are greeted by Cheech and Chong Bobbleheads inviting you to grab a PBR, bottle of water or a bag of chips before finding a place to crash on the cushy, cannabis flower-covered cushions.
It’s a full sensory experience in the bus. You become mesmerized by the flashing multi-color rope lights framing the cannabis leaf ceiling, the speakers pumping Snoop Dog. Privacy windows keep riding tourists anonymous and out of sight while enjoying activities of your choosing, complete with provided retro ash trays.
Fog machines stationed by the bus door made quite the scene every time I exited or entered the vehicle. Coughing is encouraged, by the way, to enhance the comedic effect for bystanders! It was a mystery where we were going, but every location was fascinating and a complete delight, whether it was a dispensary, distillery, brewery or the food carts.
Along the route, be prepared to have bystanders take photos of your tour bus at red lights. Remember: you’re in a traveling purple bus with a huge green marijuana leaf and the word “Potlandia” emblazoned on the side. Even in Portland, where we Keep Things Weird, it attracts attention!
In this city, it can be a real challenge to keep up with all the new businesses, and our tour took us to a few of these up-and-coming locations. First was Nectar On Sandy, located at 3350 NE Sandy Blvd. An upscale dispensary with a beautiful layout and amazing staff, we were well taken care of and fully stocked for the rest of the trip by the time we left.
After our shopping was done, we sped away to our next location: the impressive House Spirits Distillery, located at 65 SE Washington. The tasting room was warmly decorated, and the bar served local artisan cocktails made with house-crafted liquors. I was a big fan of their Lemon Drops!
Feeling the munchies setting in, we went straight to Cartopia on SE 12th and Hawthorne to get our grub on! We had a world of food and drink choices at our fingertips, fulfilling every craving the Potlandia tour stirred within us.
Feeling full and happy, we set off to my favorite part of the tour: Coalition Brewing, located at 2705 SE Ankeny. I’ve been hearing about their CBD-brewed/infused beers for a while now, and was eager to try out their offerings. I was quite impressed with their IPA, and intrigued what effects the CBD would have if I indulged in a few more, but alas, we had to board the bus and return to where the party started. I plan on visiting these spots again with friends, and look forward to exploring each unique taste Portland has to offer.
The Tourist Safe-Spot
A major issue with current marijuana regulations is the loophole tourists face when visiting Portland. Laws allow for the sale of marijuana, but only allow consumption of the product in a private residence. That means tourists are virtually forced to break the law, as they cannot consume product in their hotels, cars or public parks.
The Potlandia Experience alleviates that issue. People traveling to Portland can get a high-class tour of the city AND have a safe spot to consume cannabis, all in one! More importantly, the crew provides top-notch information about the industry. Customers get to see virtually every element of cannabis production: dispensaries, grow ops and extractors, each providing a different insight into the production and sale of cannabis.
The combination of education and providing a “safe-space” helps customers (especially those who may be unfamiliar with marijuana) feel safe about what they’re consuming. If new users’ fears can be quelled, the pace of de-stigmatization will rapidly increase, and Potlandia tours can play a large role in that effort. BIG thanks to Potlandia for showing us a few new exciting places that truly showcase what Portland is all about!