Ever since the opening of the Cannabis Cafe in Portland, Oregon earlier this month, virtually every news report referred to it as "the first such cafe in the United States," or words to that effect. Apparently that is far from the case. In fact, it isn't even the first one in Portland!
The confusion can be traced back in part to the pro-marijuana group NORML, which runs the cafe. It claims the cafe is the "first" in Oregon, while other reports quote NORML as saying it's the first one in the country. Now a report on Examiner.com is trying to clear up the confusion, saying other shops where medical marijuana could be used on site preceded this one.
J. Craig Canada writes:
The mother ship was the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club which opened in 1995 at 1444 Market Street in San Francisco. But even that was not the first. Its predecessor was a smaller operation, also ran by Dennis Peron, at Church and Market in San Francisco. About 1995 Fred Seike and Scott Imler opened a medical marijuana club in Santa Cruz and in 1997 Steve McWilliams and Barbara McKenzie opened Shelter From The Storm in San Diego that was in operation at least 4 years.
While these cafes have long since closed, Canada says one called the Marin Alliance in Northern California has been operating since 1996, and is believed to be the longest-operating marijuana cafe in the nation.
In addition, an Oregon TV station reports the Cannabis Club is the second in Portland -- another one had opened in October to much less fanfare.
Media outlets are starting to take note of the previous clubs. The Examiner says The New York Times changed its headline and added this note to its online story:
This post was corrected after its initial publication to make clear that the statement in other reports, that this cafe was the nation’s first to allow marijuana use, was incorrect.