Medical marijuana dispensaries closing for recreational prep

Options, as it turns out, are as of now in short supply, however. I was taking a look at Portland’s general dispensary map on Leafly and I noticed what I thought was a trend. There are some dispensaries letting its patients and caregivers know that they’ll be closed some days in order to prep for October, but after looking at almost all of the 142 dispensaries in the greater Portland area, I was a little surprised.

Here’s a little cheat sheet for which dispensaries will be closing for recreational prep and when:

Purple Organics (SW): Closed Mondays and Tuesdays 

The CDC (SW): Closed on Sundays 

Natural RXemedies (SW): Regular hours of operation, opening for recreational 

Vessel (NW): Regular hours, opening for recreational 

Portland Medicine Pot (NW): Regular hours, opening for recreational

Powell House Cannabis Club (SE): Regular hours, opening for recreational

The Grass Shack (NE): Regular hours, opening for recreational

These are all the dispensaries that mentioned October recreational sales. Only 7 outwardly say they’ll be involved in recreational, out of around 140. I was expecting to find more, but maybe dispensaries are approaching this in a word-of-mouth type way. Or maybe everyone is still unprepared for October – let’s face it, it’s going to be insane.

Dispensaries not updating their Leaflys seems like it’s not a big deal, but it’ll leave the rest of us without any clue where to turn. How many doors will we knock on to be turned away? It’s definitely good for the patients to have their dispensaries, so, dispensaries, is it unreasonable to ask for details? Right now the cannabis market is this crazy waiting-game, so sit back, relax, and – well – don’t get your hopes up just yet? 

October Sales: What really lies ahead

Obviously rushing to sales in October meant some speed bumps ahead, but it always seemed like the benefits far outweighed the costs. However, now I’m realizing that one of these costs is clarity. In trying to update and confirm the status on October sales, I’ve come across some confusing legislature.

Senate Bill 460, the bill allowing October sales, mentions nothing about taxation during this time period. There are stipulations – for example, recreational users 21 and over, may only buy up to a quarter ounce per day (per dispensary). That’s not a bad guideline, but it turns out that there will be quite a bit of tax on this weed. Maybe?

According to oregon.gov’s FAQ page on recreational marijuana, there will be a 25% tax to pay in dispensaries. The answer to the question of taxation continues: “Recreational sales in medical dispensaries are slated to start on October 1, 2015, and end on December 31, 2016.The tax will be imposed on sales after January 4, 2016.” I had already known of this possibility of tax-free weed and believed it, but here it’s mentioned so briefly. Does this 25% tax really start as late as January, even though it says that the “tax will be 25% for the limited time that recreational marijuana will be sold in dispensaries?”

That seems so straightforward – 25% tax for recreational sold in dispensaries. This starts in October and lasts until a predicted December 31st, 2016. This is already a limited amount of time, but the “after January 4, 2016” undercuts 3 months of that. However, despite that brief mention at the end, that sentiment suggests yes, tax-free weed.

That said, dispensaries are getting ready to take advantage of this opportunity for profit. I’ve already been made aware of the fact that some dispensaries will only be showing their buyers the “bottom shelf shwag,” as we say. Thousands of people who have never seen something like a dispensary will have this skewed perception of bud, and be paying extra for it. Not to mention, there will be a limit to only “4 units” of non-flower marijuana product. You can only buy seeds, flower, and clones (a marijuana plant that is not flowering). No concentrates, no edibles or drinkables, just cold, dry, flower.

Just kidding – it’s really not that bad, but once January hits, that 25% will be rough. When there’s no overlap of recreational retail stores, still predicted for open in July, 2016, it’ll be especially bad. When those retail stores open, the taxes will be around 17-20%, much less than the dispensary prices. But I’m predicting that right around May, all the dispensaries will start showing off, to keep the recreational crew coming. December 31st, 2016 marks the end of recreational sale in dispensaries, so they’ll have to use these upcoming months wisely. Keep an eye out for that bottom shelf, and growing your own is still the best way!

Recreational Marijuana in Portland: Store wish list

It’s hard to believe September is almost here; that back-to-school dread is in the air again, and the kids are feeling it! But not us 21+ year olds…  While supermarkets and shopping centers gear up for Halloween and Thanksgiving, thousands of hopefuls are preparing for recreational marijuana in Portland.  We still aren’t exactly sure which dispensaries are opening up for recreational sale, but Portland has plenty to choose from, and everyone has a favorite! Based on years of experience (sorry, mom), I can tell you which of mine I’m hoping to walk into in October.

Nectar is kind of like your “every man’s” dispensary. It’s well-known in Portland due to the fact that there are 4 locations spread across the quadrants. There’s often a large menu selection, and good bud at a nice varying price range. I have never heard any complaints of budtenders or customer service in general; with Nectar you know what you’re getting. They’re especially good at updating their Leafly (links to NE 122nd location). This dispensary would be perfect for those first-timers or people getting back into the game after years of prohibition.

Natural RxEmedies, located in SW Portland, has impeccable customer service. For first time customers, they always offer some sort of discount or treat. For the flower fans out there, they have a large selection specializing in nice quality to top-shelf bud. In terms of concentrates, what they lack in variety, they make up for in affordability and quality. Another good place for curious first-timers, but also seasoned veterans. Their Leafly can be found here, and is as helpful as they are!

In NE Portland, Uplift Botanicals is a premier little spot at 33rd and Killingsworth. Here is their Leafly, and as a fan of all things concentrate, I can say that their selection is one of the best out there. You can find grams of oil at all sorts of prices, ranging from fairly priced to top-shelf stuff. First-timers are more than welcome at Uplift (they have a great staff with awesome customer service) but the stock is catered to those top-shelf fans. For that reason, their deals on flower sometimes aren’t the best, but you know you’re getting high-quality bud.

AmeriCanna Rx is a 24/7 dispensary. It’s on NE Sandy Blvd, and has plenty of flower to choose from. There you can find bottom jar grams sometimes as low as $3. Crazy, right? Not to mention their hours being 24/7 and their Leafly menu being regularly updated – they’re the perfect late night stop. This is a popular pot destination in Portland, however, and sometimes you may have to wait a bit for budtending.

Marijuana Paradise right off Barbur Blvd in SW is an up-and-coming dispensary. With a nice selection of oil at reasonable prices, this place is a little oasis. What’s really worth writing home about, however? Their selection of edibles. For those of us who don’t have medical cards, we’ve been missing out on insane medibles all these years. It’s all about the milligrams, baby! Whether you’re a fan of drinkables or edibles, this place has it all at ranging prices and milligram measurements.

October, man. It’s so close we can almost taste it. It’s like waiting to feel like a kid in a candy shop, and the anticipation is driving us wild! Those dispensaries above are just some of the “many” (hundreds) in Portland to choose from, and while I may sit here hoping that they open for recreational sale, they may continue to just sell to medical patients. And that’s okay, because what we do know? Is that recreational pot is happening in Portland, and it’s happening in mere weeks.

Recreational marijuana delivery in Portland?

With Oregon’s passing of recreational sale for October, big things are on the horizon. The period of tax-free weed will be from October to whenever the first store opens. You will be limited in the amount that you can buy per visit, as they have to regulate these sales. Come July, or whenever the first store opens, weed will be taxed 25%, so the goal is to stock up.

This is made easier by the sheer amount of dispensaries in the Portland area. It is still unknown as to which are opening up recreationally for sure, but most seem to be planning on it and are preparing for that influx of sales. This influx of sales, however, will be spread out across literally hundreds of locations, and dispensaries need to stand out. Despite donating samples to awesome events like Franco’s Fun Bus or Marijuana Mondays at the Analog, dispensaries and vendors can impress with features such as a delivery service. According to weedmaps.com, there is only a handful of delivery-only medical suppliers. There are a few more in the Portland area that are not listed on weedmaps (which allows you to use search filters), but the first question on everyone’s minds is “will they sell recreationally?” Just as it applies to retail dispensaries, it applies to delivery-only dispensaries.

weed delivery portland

There are two things should happen, as a result of this question (which the answer to is most likely, yes, by the way). The first thing that should happen is that more dispensaries should offer a Portland weed delivery service in general. So many patients could benefit from it – the traffic alone in Portland can throw off someone’s ability to get their medications. The second is that those dispensaries should turn around and deliver recreationally once October hits. It would allow for more people to stay off the highways, lessening by a little the traffic problem of which we’re all a part. This would be particularly helpful during the upcoming recreational period when the stores themselves are chaos. At least with a delivery experience, it’s more one on one, rather than feeling someone breathing down your neck waiting for you to finish with the budtender. Delivery is a good opportunity to wow with customer service, and really establish the fan base that is needed to survive the next year.

Imagine opening your door to an experienced budtender and a briefcase full of marijuana products. That will be possible at the rate we’re going. You’ll be free to do things like ask your expert all the questions you’re maybe too nervous to ask either a dealer or a budtender in a store full of people. You can take your time with your deal (to an extent) in the comfort of your own home. Then you can consume immediately and enjoy the effects of your purchases without having to get back anywhere. So what’s the verdict? OMMP Card Holders: tell your favorite dispensary to deliver!

Where will you buy weed in Portland?

January 4th, when the OLCC starts reviewing applications for “persons to produce, process, and sell marijuana within the state,” is still months away. That doesn’t mean that future owners aren’t getting ready for retail locations, though! From big decisions to little details, there is a lot of responsibility and thought that goes into opening any store. The reward? Coming up with the perfect name. I took the liberty of picking some Portland-appropriate examples of your friendly neighborhood recreational stores.

Lewis and Clark’s journey across the Oregon Trail (now highway 20) led them all the way to the seaside. Everywhere else in the country, Oregon is mostly known for this “Or-e-gon” Trail. For generations, Americans learned (one version of) 1800s history all while fearing the results of chance and strategy. Fun, right? Well, now that Oregon holds the title of 4th state to legalize, it seems appropriate to embrace that past. Introducing: “Trail-Blazers,” the recreational pot shop for all your needs! No, you won’t be able to find the cure for dysentery, but you will be able to find the next best thing in marijuana consumption.

Nicole-has-dysentry

“Smoking tree” has been gaining popularity as a way to refer to smoking weed. As a result, Portland’s (503) area code has been modified to fit stoner needs. “Five-oh-tree” is a casual way for PDX smokers to recognize each other (“draw half a tree in the sand and he who completes it comes in peace” Herer: 420). You may have seen the (50tree) t-shirts walking around Portland. This doesn’t seem like too viable an option for a name due to its common use, but a recreational owner can run with it. “(High-0-3),” with the friendly Portland atmosphere you’re looking for!

The Rose Shoppe.” Embracing one of Portland’s many nicknames, the City of Roses, The Rose Shoppe is a humble neighborhood store. Maybe it even has a gimmick, like flower-only. Every year, a month after the Rose festival, The Rose Shoppe has an event in which they hold giveaways and carnival-like celebrations.

Portland Rose city

Bridge City – another one of Portland’s nicknames. Everywhere you look in Portland, there’s a bridge. And traffic because of that bridge. This store has locations on either side of the Willamette, so that when you need a pit stop during Portland’s rush hours of noon-8pm, you can pull off and grab some marijuana stuffs for later. “Bridge City Cannabis Club” is trendy and community-based. They have plenty of bicycle racks and give commute-by-bike punch cards that’ll get you a free joint after ten rides!

Portland-bridge

Ripped City” is the premier recreational store for the Portland metro area. Fans of the NBA Trailblazers know that the nickname “Rip City” came out of announcer Bill Schonely’s mouth randomly during a game against the Lakers. Portland’s propensity for nicknames made it stick, and now it’s a favorite when talking about the city. The name of this recreational store is almost too simple, but that’s why it’s perfect for people who want to walk in already “ripped” under the influence.

Portland has lots of different personalities and people. Its four quadrants contain as much variety as cities five times its size, so it’s fitting that a city like this has earned its nicknames. There are plenty of opportunities for puns and store titles, so those applying for recreational sale have lots of creative possibilities!

What a recreational weed store in Portland could look like

First impressions go a long way. If it is a memorable one, you’re not going to be forgotten. If it is a lackluster one, good luck.

While the quality of the product, in this case marijuana, is the most important part of the equation to success, the atmosphere can have a lot to do with it as well.

Amsterdam is a perfect example. The most popular Coffeeshops, the Dutch version of the marijuana retail store, are the ones with not only some of the best weed, but ones with the best atmosphere as well. De Dampkring, Green House,  and Grey Area, to just name a few. These three shops have strong enough cannabis to make you forget about your visit, but chances are that you still won’t.

De Dampkring Amsterdam

Photo Credit: The Original Dampkring

 

Green House Amsterdam Coffeeshop

Photo Credit: Green House

 

Grey Area Amsterdam

Photo credit: www.wunderland.com

 

Another example is Ganja Goddess, located in the Industrial District near the SoDo District and Downtown Seattle. Ganja Goddess has an old world look and feel that is accented with shiny sparkling chandeliers, an artsy chalkboard menu, and a hand-painted cannabis leaf on the back wall. Sure Ganja Goddess carries some of the most popular cannabis brands, but visitors are also enamored by the looks as well.

Ganja Goddess Seattle

Ganja Goddess in Seattle

 

For a third example, you don’t have to look further than the Rose City itself. Brooklyn Holding Company, a Portland, Oregon medical marijuana dispensary decided to go all out with their prohibition, old world look and feel. In fact, even the budtenders dress up in garb of that era. Once you leave this shop, you will never forget it. Couple this with high quality cannabis, and your experience will be unforgettable. A+B. It’s this type of equation which will have people coming back for more.

Brooklyn Holding Company Portland, Oregon

Photo Credit: chrisryanphoto.com

 

If you build it, they will come.

Owners, keep that in mind when designing and creating your recreational marijuana retail store. You are in an industry that is not drab or bleak. You are not in the business of automobile tires, appliances, or cutlery. You have a product that is not only unique, but it spurs creativity and enhances imagination. Be an extension and reflection of this.

Don’t hold back. This is your chance to not only be a part of history, but to put your stamp on it as well. Don’t just create a place where people can legally purchase recreational marijuana. Create an experience for that person. This is exciting times! Let that feeling shine through your vision.