Shopping for tobacco products at the head shop

The election of 2014 has come and gone, and with it went marijuana prohibition in the state of Oregon. The voters of the Beaver State decided it was no longer sensible to criminalize marijuana and voted to pass Proposition 91—The Control, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act.

Now that prohibition has ended and the stigma attached to marijuana use is dying out with the Baby Boomers, many Oregon residents will likely experiment with smoking. For some it may be their first time; others may be revisiting an old habit from their younger days. Whatever the case may be, it’s wise to seek out assistance when deciding to experiment with weed. If you’re new to smoking, you should first consider how much you want to buy and what you are willing to spend. You should be aware that weed is much stronger these days than it used to be with more advanced growing methods and a countless number of different strains with different highs, so purchase accordingly.

Once your quantity and financial aspects are squared away, it’s time to consider a vessel. What you are smoking out of is just as much a part of the experience as the substance itself. While rolling joints, or doobies, was all the rage back in the day, glassware is now the most practical apparatus for cannabis consumption. Head on over to your local smoke shop and consult with a shopkeep about your options.

Be aware that there is proper etiquette one must adhere to when entering a smoke shop. The number-one rule of smoke shopping: Do not utter words like bong or weed.

Adam Weiser of Mellow Mood in Southwest Portland says there are specific words you must use when referencing the glassware.

“Tobacco and tobacco pipes,” Weiser said. “Unless you’re, you know, obviously a medical patient. Then you can expand on that.”
For first-time smokers coming into a smoke shop, Weiser recommends starting with something small.

“I would say kind of a basic, small hand-piece is a good place to start, just ’cause you know it’s not like a big financial investment, and it’s just kind of an all-purpose piece,” Weiser said. So if this is your first time in a head shop, you probably don’t want to spring for the $300 bong (ahem, water pipe) glaring at you from the top shelf.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most smoke shop employees like Weiser have dealt with newcomers in the shop.

“A lot of people, especially some medicinal patients—like first-timers—don’t really know what they’re looking for, so sometimes you have to, you know, explain things a little more,” Weiser said.

Once you decide on the right piece for you and the experience you want, exercise your legal rights as a citizen of Oregon and light up that sweet bowl of green freedom.