THERE IS MUCH confusion, hope, and worry over how recreational cannabis will roll out in Oregon. One option being considered is licensing Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) dispensaries for recreational sales. It's a scenario with many advantages, especially because Portland is already conveniently littered with them. In some cases, there are also hidden social benefits—many dispensaries combine their treatment of patients with charitable works and social causes, and the influx of income from recreational sales would help further those efforts.
We tapped three of our favorite Portland dispensaries to give their best case/worst case scenarios for how recreational cannabis sales could affect their business and their clients—because one thing we can all agree on is that it will affect them.
Nyno Thol of Brothers Cannabis Club
3609 SE Division, bcc503.com
Brothers Cannabis Club was established on April 21, 2010. The original location was on SE 12th in the Ladd's Circle neighborhood. At that time, operations had no certainty or promise of any future due to the strict regulations of the federal government. Even with the OMMP's state rules, the government in 2010 was very adamant about not allowing any sales or compensation for medical marijuana. Over the first few years, Brothers received a few cease-and-desist letters from the government, but never stopped operations and is now the oldest dispensary in Portland.
The marijuana movement has come a long way. July 1 is the first day for recreational marijuana. There will definitely be big changes in the medical market. Lots of people are going to need recreational marijuana, and where are they going to get it? I can see patients with cards being asked by people without cards to purchase marijuana at the local dispensary. If they can't find it that way, Oregonians are going to go across the bridge to Vancouver's recreational dispensaries.
The best-case scenario for Oregon medical dispensary owners is to allow the already licensed dispensaries to sell to the public. That way nobody breaks any laws by crossing state lines, and the money stays in Oregon. If medical growers were able to sell product for recreational sales, it would put a dent in the black market; the recreational market will eat up the black market's marijuana. If growers can sell to recreational dispensaries, they'll think twice about selling to the black market. Ever since America began adopting medical marijuana programs, Mexico and Canada's black markets for marijuana importation to the US have taken a nosedive. Sooner or later, if this keeps up, America will no longer be importing marijuana from bordering countries at all.
Now, the downside of recreational sales of marijuana: It could have an impact on the medical market. The medical market has being continuously affected by new rules and laws since recreational marijuana legalization passed. Every week it seems like lawmakers are trying to change the medical program. Patients shouldn't have to go through changes, especially when they affect cost, just to satisfy the recreational market. Hopefully the medical program will not go through too many more modifications.
John Bayes of Calyxes
7501 SW Capitol, Ste. A, facebook.com/calyxespdx
Here at Calyxes, we're really looking forward to the legalization of recreational cannabis, although we feel "recreation" implies a tone that doesn't necessarily impute the truth of this beautiful plant, and—to be honest—the depth of wisdom there is to be offered to humanity from a synergistic relationship with it.
We truly feel that with intentionally grown and curated medicine, and an altruistic focus on helping others, we can create a product for healing that's limitless. That being said, we also believe that with the recreational market emerging, and the traction that cannabis is getting nationally, it presents a perfect time to show the nation how we do it here in Oregon.
Calyxes is the only Clean Green Certified dispensary in the nation, and all our medicine and processors are also Clean Green Certified. That means Calyxes is the only location in the nation where you can be confident all processors, cultivators, extractions, and flowers are third party certified under the National Organic Program standards, which in turn means you don't have to worry about synthetic nutrients, pesticides/fungicides, or plant growth regulators being used in your medicine.
We also have a wonderful compassion program for children with epilepsy, cancer, autism, or other severe and debilitating diseases. This is where we'll do our best to supply, source, and otherwise help these families obtain—at no cost or at extremely discounted rates—medicine to help treat their child's ailment. As recreation rolls out, and we were able to cultivate more finances through this endeavor, we truly feel we'll be able to supply more medicine to our community.
For us it's not about getting stoned, it's about living with peace of mind and happiness, and this plant, we believe, is a conduit to this truth. At Calyxes we are devoted to doing our very best for the community, while setting a model Oregon can be proud of, and the rest of the nation can follow.
Melissa Egan of Panacea
6714 NE Sandy, panaceapdx.com
Panacea was established by social justice advocates and growers who want to reduce suffering and promote good health with plant medicine, while building a better community with the proceeds. Panacea donates 10 percent of profits to social justice causes, with a special focus on racial and economic justice, and supporting LGBT elders.
We believe our business model is more reflective of the marijuana community as a whole—we are not in it to make millions, we want to redistribute millions. If we are able to gain a recreational license, recreational sales will continue to allow us to offer reasonable prices generally, and as much low-cost or free medicine as possible to our sick patients. They would bring more people in the door who would have the opportunity to learn about and support our social justice mission, generating more revenue, and allowing us to fund more.
If we are unable to gain a recreational license, we will continue to be an amazing, medically focused dispensary, but with probably too small of a customer base to achieve our mission on as grand of a scale as we believe possible.
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