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Best in State: The Top Cannabis Locations, Products, and Activities in Oregon in 2017


December 21, 2017
Our Best in State series spotlights the top cannabis dispensaries, companies, products, and activities in the largest cannabis markets in 2017.
Many years ago, I developed an inkling of an inclination that I liked cannabis. At the time, I was—as we all were—buying whatever skunk my buddy, or his buddy’s buddy, could sell me. Over time, as I became more interested, I start reading online about cannabis law, and cannabis history, and dreaming of a day when, you know, they would just figure it out. They could tax it, and I could go to the store and buy cannabis the same as liquor, or tobacco, or chocolate. It felt like a wild dream, and yet so obvious.

Related

Leafly List: The Best Cannabis Dispensaries in Oregon, Winter 2017–2018

Fast forward to today and younger me can hardly believe it—holy shit, they figured it out. We’re through the looking glass here, people. Oregon cannabis in 2017 is a Roman Bacchanal, a moveable, smokeable feast of glorious indulgence the likes of which I dared not dream in my younger years. There has literally never been a better time to love cannabis in Oregon. No hyperbole, no exaggeration—never in human history. You can tell your children you lived through a golden age: the tip of the spear, the cusp of the wave, the moment when cannabis became culinary, cultural, societal, casual, progressive, capable of righting past wrongs and making new myths, delicious, relieving, personal, political, capitalist and yet for the greater good, new and yet rooted in the past, the old, the ancient, and better—frankly—than I ever thought imaginable, all at once. The moment bathtub gin became Bacardi, or better. The cannabis singularity; cannabis Valhalla. And we’re only getting started.

So with that in mind, it was tough to adjudicate the categories below for the best of Oregon cannabis in 2017. What follows is imperfect, because anyone claiming perfect critical knowledge and recall of our ever-changing cannabis moment is selling you oregano. I hope I’ve been able to smoke, snack, ponder, and parse it all to an eighth of a degree of accuracy. What a wonderful time to be alive and on Team Cannabis.

Best Overall Dispensary: Farma

Portland, OR

After a not-inconsiderable amount of hemming and hawing and revisiting a clutch of faves, this is the only place I could land. Farma’s deft trick is not just in its level of curation, though this is a deeply curated dispensary, carefully chosen without being overwhelming. Nor is it just in the staff, who have met my questions and curiosity with what the Irish in a bar setting might call “good banter.” I’m also not calling it the best dispensary solely on aesthetics, though those are there too. There is this canna-wonk, New Modern Science Chill thing happening here that feels democratizing, like it’s a new sort of cannabis culture expression, at once cutting-edge and laid back, like I’m in an AP class for cannabis with the rest of the smart, weird kids. Farma balances all of this, at the same time, in a kind of high wire act that’s impossible to ignore.

If you live in lower Manhattan, or in New Orleans’ French Quarter, your neighborhood cocktail bar might be one of the best in country just by virtue of closeness to the beating heart of that industry. Same goes if you live in Southeast Portland and your neighborhood shop is Farma.

Best Budget Dispensary: Nature’s Choice Alternative

Astoria, OR

Awesome homemade pre-rolls for $4 on Tuesdays! Ounces as low as $150! Friendly staff, deep selection across product categories, take-home seeds, a grip of pre-rolls under $7, and all of it with a charming Astorian vibe. Locals clearly love the spot, but if you’re in town for the weekend, this is your crucial first stop, and out of towners are certainly just as welcome.

Best Boutique Dispensary: The Kings of Canna

Best in State: 2017's Top Marijuana in Oregon | Leafly

(Courtesy of Kings of Canna)

Portland, OR

Since 2015 this has been the Oregon dispensary with the biggest “wow” factor thanks to the space’s transportive, atmospheric approach to interior design and vibe—it feels more like an apothecary or craft cocktail lounge than a dispensary. Nowhere else in Oregon makes the flower look so pretty, each bud framed in a U-shaped vintage optical case that’s just as impressive after several dozen visits. The flower is curated, the budtenders are gregarious, and the lobby has ample reading material and comfy chairs (like a chill little Victorian cannabis antechamber). I’ll drive out of my way to make solo stops or take people here from out of town, even if they don’t like cannabis (yet). There’s something special to the shop.

Best Budtender: Tiara Darnell, Farma

Portland, OR

More than food, and more than wine, cannabis is where the soul of Oregon customer service lives. Tiara Darnell is a consummate budtender and cannabis advocate working at Farma, frequently dropping perfect descriptors, as the following of a CBD strain: “This makes me feel like Me Plus.” And if this sort of insight isn’t enough, she’ll pull out a binder of terpene breakdown information to prove it, then recommend some cannabis-infused orange juice as a perfect accompaniment.

Best Overall Company: Quill

Best in State: 2017's Top Marijuana in Oregon | Leafly

(Courtesy of Quill)

Portland, OR

From the people behind OMFGCO/Rare Industries, I think this is the single most transformative product in Oregon cannabis history, a harbinger for a brave new future of casual, perfectly dosed, aesthetically minded cannabis consumers. Tucked away for local travel, brought along for a puff before dinner, and part of the keys-wallet-phone coterie of must-have items grabbed before leaving the house. The future of cannabis doesn’t look like unwieldy dab rigs—it looks like the Quill, which feels beautiful to hold and behold. You wouldn’t know it was cannabis unless someone told you.

Best Flower Product: Tangie Biscotti by Prūf Cultivar

Best in State: 2017's Top Marijuana in Oregon | Leafly

(Courtesy of Pruf Cultivar)

Portland, OR

The all-around best cannabis flower I tried this year, by a country mile. Incredible winter fruit aromatics from the Tangie, linked up with the famously euphoric headspace of GSC, resulting in an overall smoke that is soothing yet happily alert. When it comes to the anti-anxiety properties of a given strain, everyone’s experience is difference, but I want to shout it from the rooftops: There’s some magic in this Tangie blend.

Best Concentrate Product: Universal Cannabis Tonic (Meadow Blend) by Luminous Botanicals

Portland, OR

A concentrate, edible, and topical—for sheer versatility, there’s no product with more applications than the aptly named Universal Cannabis Topic. Rub a little on one of your sore spots; take a sip of the pleasant blend of organic almond and coconut oil; you can even take it into the bedroom with you later. The “Meadow Blend” is a 1:1 THC:CBD blend, with cannabis sourced from Green Source Gardens and East Fork Cultivars—both family owned and farmed without synthetics.

Best Edible: Sativa-Enhanced Blood Orange White Chocolates by WYLD

Bend, OR

Mix white chocolate, citrus, and active, uplifting cannabinoids, and you’ve got WYLD’s line of white chocolate edibles, available in 10-pack boxes or single servings. These practically jumped off the dispensary table to me when they debuted, and they’ve proved to provide a perfectly dialed-in combination of flavor, elevation, and energy, and they cost about $5 each (or sometimes as low as $3.50).

Best Topical: Rescue Rub by Peak Extracts

Best in State: 2017's Top Marijuana in Oregon | Leafly

(Courtesy of Peak Extracts)

Portland, OR

All cannabis is personal. For many, a topical rub is something associated with nostalgia, bringing back childhood memories of VapoRub used to alleviate symptoms of sickness, or Icy-Hot to soothe sore muscles after athletics. Peak Extracts’ Rescue Rub deftly blends CO2-extracted essential oils from a variety of traditional Chinese pain relief herbs with cannabis, and comes on with a subtle tingle that lets you know it’s working. It has quietly become a favorite for cannabis-friendly massage and acupuncture therapists across the state, and while the effects are subtle, the relief is real.

Best High-CBD Product: Select CBD Blends Disposable Pen by Select Oil

Portland, OR

My wife is an infrequent cannabis user, but this is her holy grail: a clean, easy to use CBD pen with noticeable calming effects. She’s not alone in loving this product, either. Select’s pens deliver a microdose of mellow vapor in flavors like lavender, mint, or citrus.

Best Cannabis Accessory: EVOLVD

Eugene, OR

From concept to execution to basking in the afterglow, I’m enormously impressed by the work done this year by EVOLVD out of Eugene, Oregon. They appear to have solved some basic use issues involved in vaping cannabis extracts, rolling out a leak-proof pen-and-cartridge system made of stainless steel. It’s a pleasure to use and won’t get gross in your pocket—this alone would be notable. But they’ve paired that with a range of “strain specific, terpene steeped” extracts in flavors like Tiramisu (a blend of Cookies, Sourdough, and Vanilla Gorilla) that, glory of glories, actually taste good. You know how often the promise of a product can wind up being a load of hooey? This actually is vaping, evolved.

Best High Activity: Summer nights at the Skidmore Bluffs

Portland, OR

“Old Portland” and “Retro Oregon” are these highly fraught, nostalgia loaded, imperfect concepts. But there are some spaces, some sites that feel trapped in time in the best way. At the Skidmore Bluffs in North Portland, people have been smoking cannabis and watching the sun set for decades. You ride your bike there, or enjoy a long walk, and pack a picnic. The sky changes dramatically over the West Hills and Forest Park over the course of a few hours—prime time is around 7 p.m. on one of those long, hot July nights. Folks bring their dogs and set up picnic blankets; I’m definitely smoking a pre-roll with my friends from Greeley Gallery up the road. There is no rush at all. It’s free to be here and nobody makes you leave. It’s just off the track enough to be gentle, and mellow, and every time you go it’s someone’s first time, and someone else’s hundredth. Here, Portland is old and new all at once.

Best High Food: Stoopid Burger

Portland, OR

Oregon has an embarrassment of riches in this category, but when the moon is high and mood is right (and I’m just exactly the right kind of toasted), I want a burger. But not just any burger—a Stoopid Burger, the creation of owners John Hunt and Danny Moore, who earlier this year moved their operation from a food cart on North Williams to a brick and mortar at 23rd and Northeast Glisan. This is arguably Portland’s best cheeseburger and inarguably Portland’s funniest cheeseburger menu, from the standard Stoopid (cheddar, hotlink, ham, egg) to the cult of the Wicked (pineapple mango habanero chutney and peanut butter) to the downright Ignorant Burger ($40, basically the entire kitchen on a bun, including a chicken strip). There are also baskets, fried snacks, a serious club sandwich, and housemade Stoopid Juice (a Kool-Aid riff) to wash it all down. This is serious, playful, deeply satisfying high food—chicken strips for the stoner soul.

Lead image courtesy of Quill

Jordan Michelman's Bio Image

Jordan Michelman

Jordan Michelman is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge, the world’s most popular coffee publication. He writes about natural wine, food, and cannabis for the Willamette Week and lives in Portland, Oregon.

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5 part series

  • Belvedere

    Great choices here overall, but the oil in those Select pens is made from hemp, with terps added from ?? source. Not sure if they’re even cannabis terps or just generic ones. I would never recommend that product to anyone, least of all people who want to use CBD medicinally. With all the awesome CBD products in Oregon, that’s the one you pick? Confusing to me. Quill makes outstanding CBD pens, your wife should try those instead.

    • Hey Belvedere, we’d like to clarify some information about our products! Our Select CBD Blends contain hemp-derived CBD isolate, not oil. This is then combined with a blend of natural essential oils and MCT oil, not terpenes. We recommend our vaporizer pens to those in the community looking for a fast-acting, way to imbibe CBD discreetly, with no THC present. Our pens are designed to be easy to use, portable, and effective. We hope you try one for yourself soon and see what all the buzz is about! And if Select CBD Blends aren’t for you, we’ve got a new 1,000 mg tincture called Select CBD Drops that you might enjoy. They come in three great flavors and are infused with herbs and essential oils.

  • Mike

    Herbal Remedies in South Salem has the best price cartridges that I have found in Salem .I have my own flower but their flower that I have tried is Really good and fairly priced also and they are very helpful .

  • foxman76

    I am EXTREMELY disappointed in not only Leafly for promoting this article, but also Jordan for writting this overly biased article.(Notice how 90% of everything is in Portland) This could have been easily fixed by simply having a “Best of” category from EVERY major town in Oregon. As this article stands now, one can only deduce that Jordan either doesn’t own a car, or is too cheap to actually take the time to visit anywhere outside of Portland.(This is why this article should be renamed “Best of Portland”)

    If Jordan would have actually taken the time to visit other shops throughout the state of Oregon, he would have discovered that “Farma” fails on 1 major aspect, they charge Tax(my shop doesn’t)…While Farma may be a visually appealing shop, in the end EVERYTHING comes down to $$$…

    FARMA- Best Overpriced Shop in Oregon

    And if that wasn’t proof enough that Jordan is completely clueless as to what is happening in the Industry price wise, the SAME shop that doesn’t charge Tax, is also cheaper than his “Best Budget Dispensary”.(AMAZING how that worked out isn’t it)

    “Nature’s Choice Alternative”- Best Overpriced Budget Dispensary in Oregon

    In the end, this sever spanking could have been avoided if Jordan would have taken the time to ACTUALLY do ANY research on this article, mainly by actually leaving the Portland area.
    Leafly also could have avoided looking foolish for promoting this article, which is 100% inaccurate, unless they don’t care about the facts(which Jordan apparently doesn’t).
    In the end this article can NOT be taken as accurate, but instead can ONLY be seen for what it is, a wonderful piece of Propaganda.

    P.S.- Since Jordan and Leafly are still clueless as to the shop that I am referring to…

    “Phresh Start”- Best, cheapest, friendliest shop in Oregon.

    You could pay more, but why?

    • Firecop

      As I was reading the article, I was thinking about writing a review. Bravo. Well said. The only items I would add:
      You call $150 an ounce a great deal? If you go to Breeze Botanicals in Gold Hill (it’s a loooong way from Portland) you can get some ounces for $99.
      And you also didn’t bother to check out Sunna Ra Acres in Shady Cove. But then again, you never left Portland. I did love the shout out to Bend.

    • Cannabisman

      Have you ever been to Farma? Some may consider it overpriced, but there’s more to it than just price. Don’t get me wrong, I like getting great deals. But at the same time I’m so sick and tired of buying crap product from a store that just wants to compete (price level) and be able to sell $5 grams or $15 eigths. Farma does not carry crap products. They only carry products that pass their standards. Plus they are way more knowledgeable about cannabis than most every other dispensary worker I’ve met.

      I checked out your menu and respect your prices. I believe the prices should all be around $5 per gram or less at the end of the day. Stores that don’t realize that, probably wont be around too long. But at the same time, once everyone’s prices do settle around the same level, then what sets them apart? This is where Farma comes in for the win.

      Good luck to your store, hopefully stores outside of PDX can get more recognition somehow.

    • carl

      Dude, just STFU.
      You sound like a bitch that is pissed cause the article didn’t mention your shop. Guess what, 90% of what goes on in oregon, goes on in Portland. I’m sorry that your shop is in the middle of fucking nowhere hickville. Don’t use the comment section here as a free spot to rep your business. As other people said, theres more to it than price. Just like how I don’t drink coors light because it SUCKS, cheap weed SUCKS. Anything decent is going to demand a premium, and some people are happy to pay slightly more to get a much better quality product. But then again, you’re in the middle of hickville fucking nowhere surrounded by coor light drinking mofo’s, so yea they want the cheapest shit they can find. Other people though, who don’t have to count nickles when buying something, tend to put a little priority on quality of product. So just STFU and don’t use this as a spot to advertise your redneck shit in springfield.