There is a saying in the cannabis-enjoying community that goes something like, “everything’s better with weed.” It’s true—eating cereal, listening to music, cleaning your bathroom—cannabis can elevate any activity into something a little more fun. It transforms the mundane into something special. And when you create something beautiful in the company of weed, it can feel straight magical.
When Oregon legalized cannabis, Portland artist Yvonne Perez Emerson knew she wanted to make space for that kind of magic. As she put it when I first met her back in 2018, “I had a space, a great name in mind, and the authority to say, ‘Let’s smoke weed and make shit.’ So we did.”
Now, Make & Mary workshops are a fixture in Portland’s art and cannabis communities, ranging from macrame and leather work classes to dyeing workshops and floral wreath making. Emerson will partner with a farm on goodies to consume or have attendees bring their own, allowing for people to fuel their creativity at their own pace while making.
In June of 2020, Emerson moved into a new space in Northeast Portland, where she sells her expanding house line of full-spectrum CBD-infused beauty and aromatherapeutic products and continues to host heritage craft workshops. While the COVID-19 pandemic has severely dampened the event scene, one thing is sure: Portland weed is going strong.
“What I love about Portland and its weed scene is that we are still a small, big town,” says Emerson. “People know each other, and we are always supportive. Weed is a part of the culture—people can go to a house party, a walk in the park, or a workshop where everyone is learning about natural dying, and find that weed is a very natural part of the experience. It’s just a part of Portland itself.”