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Madeline Martinez, sole proprietress of the World Famous Cannabis Cafe, is a board member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and one of the founding members of the NORML Women’s Alliance (NWA) Foundation. A grandmother of six and former police officer, she knows the failures of prohibition and is aware of the very many solutions cannabis legalization offers. She was pivotal in collecting signatures for Measure 67, which became the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) and advocated on behalf of Oregon medical marijuana patients. She was also the Executive Director of Oregon NORML, which at the time, had three thousand dues-paying members! In 2007, she was the recipient of the prestigious Pauline Sabin Award by NORML, given in honor and recognition for the crucial need and importance of women in leadership in ending cannabis prohibition.
I met Madeline Martinez at the 2010 NORML Conference in Portland, OR. When I walked into her world at the WFCC to do some…research, I felt as if I had entered the wave of the future, and it was beautiful. The walls are natural pine accented by dignified fireplaces. It resembles an upscale lodge without pretense but plenty of welcoming energy. There was also a mysterious and sweetly pungent mist covering the entire place. People were smiling and relaxed, enjoying ambient tunes and sharing medicine. I felt right at home. I’ve since been back for the Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards (OMCA) and am always moved and humbled by the community effort that makes the place run so smoothly.
Madeline took some time out of her incredibly busy schedule to tell Ladybud Magazine about her favorite place in the world. After reading, close your eyes and imagine a place like this in your hometown. It’s coming… but only with your help in ending cannabis prohibition.
LADYBUD: What is the purpose of the World Famous Cannabis Cafe?
MADELINE MARTINEZ: The café is the culmination of a dream that started when it became apparent there was a need for a place like this. It began with the Oregon NORML card holder meetings at Mt. Tabor Theater in 2003. The meetings grew so large that we moved them to a larger place, The Village Ballroom in Northeast Portland. The twice-monthly meetings were filled to overflowing with patients, growers and caregivers looking for a safe place to get together.
LB: How long have you been open?
MM: In November of 2009, the World Famous Cannabis Café opened on Dekum Street in Portland to worldwide acclaim and curiosity. My dream to create a safe and welcoming place for cardholders to consume their medicine out of public view was realized. After a few tough months, we relocated to our current address in Southeast Portland.
LB: What kind of events do you have there?
MM: Every Tuesday, veterans get in for free. On Wednesday, we have BINGO, which has become a big hit. On Thursdays and Fridays, we have live music, and Saturday is comedy night. The ladies from Rabbithole Edibles and other good cooks in the community offer up a hot meal at a decent price on most nights.
We also hold special events on a regular basis, most notably, the Brave Mykayla fund-raiser we just had on March 9th. We have had launch parties for new products, music and books, too. he most exciting addition for me is our monthly Hemp and Cannabis Expo.
We host a monthly Cannabis and Hemp Expo on the first Sunday of every month. It features a variety of services for Oregon Medical Marijuana Program registrants. Vendors offer grow equipment and advice, salves, edibles, massage and local artisans and musicians.
LB: What is the environment like for cardholders who visit the cafe?
MM: The café is staffed entirely be volunteers, including me. We work hard to make the atmosphere warm and friendly. Many new patients are scared about using their medicine and we strive to put them at ease.
Due to the generous donations from our community, we provide cannabis to our members free of charge while they are visiting the café. Our bud tenders are trained to show patients how to use the vaporizers and other delivery equipment we have available. We have compassion for our patients because we are all patients, too.
LB: There are lots of patient services popping up all over, what sets WFCC apart?
MM: Well, it was the first one, and we were on the front page of USA Today, which I think is unique to us. We offer a distinctive combination of services combined with entertainment that is more a great place to socialize than a clinical atmosphere. I haven’t been to any other places, but my understanding is that they are all different, but none of them are quite like the café. Even George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic stop by for a visit.
LB: Tell us about the Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards:
MM: When we started the OMCA in 2002, this was the only access to medicine that some patients had for the whole year. We have come a long way since then. There are other “cannabis cup”-type events, but they do not track the medical conditions of the judges or the medical effectiveness of the marijuana as it relates to specific medical conditions.
The OMCA started as a way to document the effects of various strains. No research was being done to help patients learn which strains worked best for their conditions. So, Oregon NORML took on the task which was passed on to the World Famous Cannabis Cafe in 2010 when NORML changed their chapter guidelines. The recent addition of strain testing provides even more valuable information for patients.
The OMCA also recognizes heroes within the Oregon cannabis community. The Dr. Rick Bayer Award recognizes cannabis warriors who have gone above and beyond to help the medical cannabis community. The Freedom Fighter of the Year Award honors those are working towards legalization
LB: What kinds of products are offered at the WFCC? Do you have a favorite?
MM: We provide cannabis to smoke or vaporize to our patrons while they visit at the café. Rabbithole Edibles have a variety of medicated treats available that patrons can take home with them. We have a dab station, which is my favorite hang out, and we offer medicated salves and tinctures that I also use regularly.
LB: What other cool activities can one experience when at the WFCC?
MM: The café has a conference room that is perfect for professionals and entrepreneurs of all ages who enjoy working on projects and ideas while they medicate. We also have a pool table, shuffleboard, air hockey, Wii and a multi title video arcade game all available free of charge.
LB: When cannabis becomes legal, do you have plans to expand the WFCC and franchise it?
MM: Let’s legalize first; that is my priority besides the day-to-day operation of the café. But, of course, the big dream is to take the World Famous Cannabis Café nationwide and have a café in every city in the country!