Behind the leaves: Pot shops in Bend
Updated On: Mar 01 2014 08:38:09 PM CST
While a medical marijuana bill that would allow cities to ban the shops still waits for Oregon legislators to finish tweaks and vote, the dispensaries themselves will become legal on Monday.
And although the shops will be able to register for the first time with the state, some of them aren't new to Bend -- they've been operating in a gray area for years.
Now that shops are days away from legalization, more are popping up, and two allowed our camera inside for the first time to take a look.
"Delighted to be able to bring folks into this space, so they can see how cannabis can be safely accessed and safely regulated," Bloom Well owner Jeremy Kwit said Tuesday.
Kwit's shop is one of the newest in Bend. Customers shop behind a restricted access door, where minors aren't allowed.
"A person behind the counter will be checking their credentials and their documentation," Kwit said. "The state wants to regulate medical cannabis facilities somewhat like a pharmacy."
Downstairs is where Bloom Well employees meet with growers to buy products and then package the marijuana.
"The cannabis is kept overnight in locked safe," Kwit said. "By the time anyone got into this room the reality is the building would be surrounded by the police."
It's in the safe that the shop stores the harvest from its network of growers.
It's all carefully measured, and thanks to new state laws, now carefully regulated.
"We can account for all the product that comes in and from whom, and all the product that goes out and to whom," Kwit said.
Knowing products, knowing customers -- basics for any business.
"I know exactly what soil we use, the nutrients -- I see the plants," said High Grade Organics owner Nick Harsell.
Harsell said he only sells products from two growers, his partners.
"We want to be known like a regular business, just like a coffee shop, or a brewery or your running store," Harsell said.
He's a proud business owner who customized the space himself-- hoping to change your perceptions about these stores.
"What we want to present is a clean, simple, friendly and safe environment where people can access their medicine," Harsell said.
Businesses finally out of the shadows.
"We're moving in a direction of change," Harsell said.
Marijuana-shop owners ready to follow those in Colorado and Washington, if this state follows those and moves to legalization.
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