Marijuana offered at wedding reception open bar

by Joni B. Hannigan |

WEST LINN, Ore. (Christian Examiner) – While many wedding planners opt for photo booths, food bars and fondant – guests at an Oregon wedding this past summer "were thrilled" to find ready-to-smoke marijuana.

The weed bar with 13 different strains of psychoactive drug was a "life changing event" for guests who have been texting him 15-20 times a day since the wedding, according to John Elledge, the happy groom, who is a professional marijuana grower in California.

"The oldest person in the tent was a 81-year-old woman who hadn't smoked weed since the sixties," he said in a news report. "She loved it."

A spokesperson from Oregon's Liquor Control Commission said weed bars are not allowed in businesses operated by someone who has a liquor license, but can be operated at a private residence where alcohol is also being served.

A caterer, however, cannot be both a bartender and a budtender, the spokesperson said, in a news report.

The budtender at the Oregon wedding assisted people in finding just the right strain, and also made sure wedding-goers didn't inhale over the legal limit.

"We were shocked, utterly shocked at the response – people loved it," Elledge said of the weed bar.

WEDDING POT

A 2014 New York Times article, "A Toast? How About a Toke," explores the growing popularity of cannabis use in wedding flowers and arrangements, and as an alternative to alcohol.

"Many pot enthusiasts think of alcohol as an old-fashioned, old-school toxin whose overuse can inflame family tensions and cause people to say horrible things, especially at weddings," the article reads. "In comparison, marijuana, they contend, is more like a tonic that calms people down and makes them like each other more rather than less — perfect for a wedding, they say."

The article also discusses the use of edible marijuana at weddings, pointing to "cakes and pies with cannabis baked in," by at least one baker who laments it is illegal to offer anything but "medibles," that which Is considered for medical use – and is still not offered on a menu.

Another baker said they would not make a cannabis cake because marijuana ruins the flavor and might ruin a wedding. "I can divide a room as much as pull it together," he said.

The NYT article said most edibles can also be tempting for children because they look like lollipops, chocolates and caramels – but did not add that edibles can be dangerous, or even deadly.

Children's hospital in Colorado has published data on its website pointing to a surge in marijuana overdosing in children since the legalization of marijuana in that state, according to a news report, and while 23 states so far have approved the use of medical marijuana, only Colorado and Washington have approved recreational marijuana for adults.

MARIJUANA AT THE OREGON WEDDING BAR

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission currently regulates licenses, a spokesperson to that office told Christian Examiner, but has no interest in the August wedding since the laws are rapidly changing and it would be speculation to understand more about how the weed bar was legally organized.

It is unknown how the "budtender" was able to amass the amount of marijuana necessary to set up a weed bar in a state that currently allows its residents to carry only very small amounts of the drug for their own use – and does not allow for the sale of marijuana outside of medicinal use, the spokesperson said.

The possession of marijuana was made legal in July, but the sale of marijuana for recreational use in Oregon has still not been authorized and is a "gray area," according to the spokesperson and to a popular site for marijuana growers and users.

Much has been said about Elledge being employed in California as a medical marijuana grower, but it remains a federal offense to transport cannabis across state lines.

A law enforcement officer was quoted in the article saying those buying or selling marijuana without a license are still subject to arrest, but, that police will look at situations involving large amounts of weed.

The bottom line is that as Oregon looks at "innovative approaches being adapted by people in the hospitality industry" using cannabis, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, a public agency, will focus on "education as opposed to enforcement," the spokesperson said.

"We will learn about it and provide guidance as whether it is legal or not," he continued.