I can understand why it is jarring. Living here it was weird to see them going up. However, since it's been legalized, it's destroyed the blackmarket. Arrests have dropped dramatically freeing up police to focus on violent crime and other menaces. And in addition to generating huge amounts of revenue for the government, it's saving the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in court and policing costs.
Some folks I have talked to in Texas think it's like "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" up here because they legalized it, or it's like "Refer Madness".
Truth is, nothing has changed here at all except people don't have to fear for what they were doing anyway, and now don't have to worry about supporting a criminal economy. It's still the same beautiful, mellow, hipster town it's always been, but now with less crime.
Pot is not completely harmless for sure, however, I'll take someone high any day over someone drunk on whiskey. Drunks want to fight, high folks just want to eat. It's also a myth it's a gateway drug.
Meth, cocaine, herion and the like should all be illegal. But pot? Something way more benign than alcohol? I don't think so.
The biggest problem now is folks driving high, but police are about to get swabs now they can test any driver in their car.
Portland is a stunningly clean and beautiful city, though I miss folks in the south, it's a highly functional and civically engaged city. Love it here. Except the tex-mex is awful.