The face of neighborhood retailing began to change in 2015 when medical marijuana, available in Oregon since the end of the 20th century, was complemented by recreational marijuana. Regulated by Oregon’s Liquor Control Commission, the industry is growing throughout the city.
The Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s Liquor, Noise, & Marijuana Programs section recently published a list of applications for new shops where marijuana is available. Included in the list are seven potential dispensaries in the Beaumont-Wilshire, Cully, Hollywood, Madison South, Rose City Park, Roseway and Sumner neighborhoods. OLCC regulations provide that marijuana stores be 1,000 feet from any school or another dispensary.
Silver Stem at 1926 N.E. 40th Ave. listed Mike Chappell as the business contact. Colorado-born Chappell moved his family to Portland after studying education in college and spending 10 years in a traveling band playing mandolin. Chappell said it takes about $250,000 to begin a business. While renting a store location may not be financially onerous, securing it to comply with state regulations is another story.
Each store has a fortified entry area, and everyone signs in to gain entry to the main showroom, including proffering valid ID. Silver Stem’s foyer has several seats for customers to wait their turns. Clients are seen individually to protect their privacy, especially important with medical customers, Chappell said. Serving between 75 to 100 clients daily, Chappelle wholesales his product from a distributor and stores it in an area resembling a jewelry store. His staff consists of nine employees.
“I want people to feel good about our business in this neighborhood,” Chappell said, “We are not allowed to sell more than 70 grams of product daily to anyone, and everyone has to be 21 or over.” Chappell says his main contact with neighborhood people is at meetings called by the city. “I think I’ve had one complaint since we’ve been open,” he said.
The Grass Shack is located at 6902 N.E. Broadway St. with Adelaide Turner listed as the business contact, but she actually co-owns the business with her two sisters. One of them, Marie Nashif, told the Hollywood Star News that the trio got into the business because her nephew was a medical marijuana grower. “We’re looking to be seen as a neighborhood shop offering a quality product with excellent service,” Nashif said. There are six employees.
The Grass Shack opened in July 2015 and along with many of the city’s dispensaries began offering recreational marijuana last October. “We’re restricted on the number of products we can sell to recreational customers,” she said. “OLCC regulations are still being written that will be published in March.”
Nashif and her sisters are California born and Hawaii raised, but she noted that owners of marijuana stores have to be Oregon residents.
Helping hold down the store for the day, Shawn Gallagher commented on the gratifying effect the business has had on him. He gave the example of one patient with liver cancer who, after smoking a small bit of product, was able to eat again. Another client, Gallagher related, was able to sleep after smoking. Nashif said, “The industry is a very satisfying one, and everyone really enjoys coming to work every day.”
Other applications in Central Northeast neighborhoods include Rose City Wellness Beaumont at 4605 N.E. Fremont St. with Aaron Arel listed as business contact. Robert Burk is the contact for Burk Brothers, a shop at 7151 N.E. Prescott St. Matt Wallstatter applied as the business contact for Pure Green at 3738 N.E. Sandy Blvd. Melissa Egan is the contact listed for Panacea located at 6714 N.E. Sandy Blvd., AmeriCanna Rx at 8654 N.E. Sandy Blvd. has Daniel Westman as the contact.
In addition to OLCC regulations, medical dispensaries and marijuana retailers in the City of Portland are required to submit a Marijuana Control Plan that provides information about how a medical dispensary or recreational marijuana retailer plans to mitigate livability concerns, and a contact for the establishment. To view plans for a particular locations go to the ONI’s web page.
Community members with issues that cannot be resolved directly with the business are encouraged to contact Portland’s Marijuana Policy Program at 503-823-WEED (9333). Anyone with questions on the City’s marijuana policies may call Víctor Salinas, Marijuana Policy Program coordinator, at 503-823-4411, or email him at vog.n1503194809ogero1503194809dnalt1503194809rop@s1503194809anila1503194809S.rot1503194809ciV1503194809.