Marijuana has been legalized in 28 states for either medicinal or recreational purposes. Portland, being a major city in a state that has legalized cannabis, attracts people both nationally and internationally who wish to legally consume the drug.
Logan Stegner, an employee of a local cannabis dispensary says that his business sees a lot of people from out of town. “It is definitely a blessing to come into work and find people who are coming from very far distances to seek better alternative medicines to treat their illnesses or symptoms that are troubling them on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
Stegner said that he also has international customers. “The other day, I was helping a woman from Switzerland who never tried cannabis a day in her life, but she read about how it deals with anxiety and depression and was looking forward to using it to treat her symptoms,” he said. Cannabis is considered an illegal substance in Switzerland. Although decriminalized in 2012, only 6 percent of the population uses it.
Casey Wyrembek, a PSU graduate and veteran, uses marijuana to help treat his symptoms of PTSD. In the past, Wyrembek suffered panic attacks that have sent him to the emergency room. He says he struggled to get through college because of these incidents. “In combination with therapy…[cannabis] has been a fantastic tool to both alleviate anxiety and depression,” he said. “[It is] helping with physical pain.”
On April 20, some people across the country will associate cannabis with the simple notion of “getting high,” but it is important to note that for many users, the drug has helped cope with and manage chronic anxiety and pain.