By Anne Saker, The Oregonian
Oregon opened another chapter in U.S. marijuana history when at 4:20 p.m. Friday, about three dozen people christened the nation's first cafe for licensed residents to sit down, sip coffee and smoke marijuana.
"Welcome to a place of our own," said Madeline Martinez, a leader in the state's medical marijuana movement and the leading force pushing to open the Cannabis Cafe in Portland. "Welcome to freedom."
Excited patrons spilled down the outside steps at 700 N.E. Dekum St. as the cafe prepared to open at the appointed hour -- "420" being slang for using marijuana. In line were military veterans, grandmothers, young workers, men and women, old and young, black, white and Latino.
Gordon Cederholm, 45, of Milwaukie has lived with HIV for 25 years and said he was skeptical about using marijuana as medicine when he got his Oregon card less than a year ago.
"At first, I thought: What does being a pothead have to do with it?'" he said. "I didn't know the benefits in marijuana. Now, I find that I'm a better person when I smoke."
Kris Koa, 57, a retired nurse from Gresham, rode the bus from home to see the cafe for herself. She has been using medical marijuana for fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.