VIDEO: Portland. Yes, the weed’s good (and sort of legal) here

Well, it’s been an interesting year in Portland, my home town. We’re getting our floating link to Nova Scotia back and the city has wrestled with what to do about panhandlers in the median strips. There’s even been talk about replacing city lawnmowers with sheep. But the two stories that have been kicking around in my noggin are the city’s new slogan and the vote to legalize recreational pot. They both bring a smile to my face. So, why not put them together in a song?

Remember, this is all in fun.

For the real story, tune into work by my colleague Seth Koenig: In November, voters in Portland made it the first city on the East Coast to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for nonmedical purposes. Not much changed in the city: Portland police, who weren’t spending much time pursuing pot offenses even before the vote, say they’re still obligated to continue enforcing the state law against pot.  And Portland’s ordinance doesn’t allow smoking in public, where police would be most likely to find offenders. Nevertheless, the Portland vote carries significant symbolic heft. Marijuana advocates say Portland foreshadows a statewide legalization vote in 2016, after legalizations in Colorado and Washington. Is Portland the beachhead on the Atlantic for the pro-pot movement?

BDN photojournalist and songster, Troy R. Bennett, puts two of Portland's best stories of 2013 in one song.

BDN photojournalist and songster, Troy R. Bennett, puts two of Portland’s best stories of 2013 in one song.

Update: Some folks have told me they’re having a tough time hearing the lyrics. My old 1930s Vegaphone banjo is a bit too loud, even though stuffed a sock (tea towel) in it. Here are the lyrics so you can sing along at home.

The people they have spoken, they legalized the dope in
Our little city seated by the sea
So never mind the purists, it’s time to snag some tourists
Let’s monazite this here democracy

Now, the cobblestones are quaint, but I’m afraid they ain’t
Enough to draw the dollars in these days
The bars they are so nice but now there is another vice
We can tax and sell and smoke and regulate

Dope or booze, you can choose
Drunk or high or both you know there is no way to lose

It’s a money making deal, it’s practically a steal
People love their dope and love their beer
And you know my hunch is when those people get the munchies
There’ll be twice as many restaurants ‘round here

Now you don’t need a reason, it always is in season
It’s legal anytime you want a toke
You don’t have to be a patient to get your medication
You just have to say I’d feel better with a smoke

But if you really got glaucoma, cancer or lymphoma
If the chemotherapy is bringing you down
Go ahead cash your chips in, you don’t need a prescription
Just buy your weed right here in Portland town

We got the weed you’ll ever need
At smoking discount prices you’d hafta’ be high to believe

So if you’re sick or if you’re well or if you just can’t tell
Either way it’s fine with us you see
While you’re spending your last dollar on Portland marijuana
You’re doing your part for the local economy

One thing that I should mention, you may end up in detention
Cause the cops say it’s still against the rules
State and federal jurisdictions make our city laws just fiction
And they say they’re not allowed to pick and choose

Now the laws may be conflicted and you might get convicted
But I guess that’s just a chance you’ll have to take
Go ahead and take a stand, you can stick it to the man
Fight for freedom at the same time you get baked

Come on down to Portland Town
The weed is quasi legal and the very best around

Now the city’s got a new motto and I think everyone ought to
Learn it back to front and front to rear
They paid big consultants dough so everyone would know
Portland, yes, the weed is good here

Troy R. Bennett

About Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.