After the high idealism of marijuana legalization came the sobering reality of a new legal industry: billboards, marketing firms and multinational corporations. Marijuana’s gone mainstream, but weed is to the underground as apple pie is to Americana.
Just like the underground doesn’t care what others think, it doesn’t purposely not do something because it’s mainstream. Marijuana isn’t as damn-the-man as it used to be, but the underground’s sole purpose isn’t revolution. Our goal is to cultivate creative space by welcoming everybody and having an intentional, enriching and fun time.
The good thing about marijuana going mainstream is that more people can enjoy it! The underground has always been about inclusion and bringing people together. And what’s a better example than passing around a joint amongst strangers?
Just because your aunt Mildred is now getting high doesn’t mean that weed no longer has a role in the underground. If more people can enjoy the inalienable right to have fun, all the better. If anything, this growth means the underground is winning. The roots are so strong that it’s broken into the establishment—and that’s not a bad thing.
Marijuana is a welcoming substance. If you can smell it, you can probably join in. The eye contact and smile from someone smoking weed is code for: “Wanna blaze?” It’s this kind of comradery that the underground is based on.
Marijuana’s effects run parallel to the tenets of the underground: It creates a relaxed, community-oriented atmosphere that encourages creativity and lowers inhibitions. Weed’s gone mainstream, but we retain its role in the underground because its effects are synonymous with our ethos.
Cannabis cultivation may have moved out of the basement, but its home is the underground.
Ollie Collins, pictured above, is the founder of the theater company Monkey With a Hat On and co-founder of the cannabis farm Fire Flower. Stay tuned for more of his thoughts on The Portland Underground in the next issue of Vortex.