Pubdate: Fri, 02 Oct 2015
Source: Mail Tribune, The (Medford, OR)
Copyright: 2015 The Mail Tribune
Note: Only prints LTEs from within it's circulation area, 200 word count limit
Author: Nick Morgan


Local Dispensaries See Steady Business on First Day of Recreational Pot Sales

Thursday morning just about 10 a.m., baby boomers, generation X-ers 
and millennials lined up about 10 at a time at Green Valley Wellness 
in Talent for their first opportunity to purchase legal recreational marijuana.

"Here we are, folks, this is it," Green Valley CEO Michael Monarch 
told the crowd. "Whoo!"

The medical marijuana dispensary normally opens at 10, but potential 
customers arrived as early as 8 a.m. By 9 a.m., Monarch said he had 
second thoughts about turning eager buyers away.

"Before 9, we had our staff here, so it was silly not to be open," 
Monarch said.

Once inside, recreational buyers had their ages verified and the 
inside of their arm stamped before they were shown through the door 
to the dispensary's selection. Two lines formed, a short one for 
Oregon Medical Marijuana Program cardholders and a longer one for 
recreational buyers.

"They're allowed seven grams per visit per day," Monarch said.

The crowd ranged from 20-somethings in sweats and flip-flops to baby 
boomers in designer jean shorts. Those lined up kept to themselves as 
they waited for "budtenders," representatives from the dispensary, to 
help patrons select from the cannabis varieties available, as well as 
outlining accessories with which patrons may or may not be familiar.

"I would save this for later. It's, like, incredible," Monarch told a 
patron while pointing to a jar of Buddha Tahoe OG, an indica strain 
with a THC potency of 21.3 percent. Monarch also showed the patron a 
strain that can be mixed with butter.

Ed Polish of Ashland left the dispensary with a single gram of a 
sativa strain, purchased for $10. His business, Ephemera, sells 
novelties to a variety of head shops.

"It was easy. It was easy," he said.

He planned to drive to other dispensaries to sample other strains.

"I think medical (marijuana) is important for those who need it, but 
recreational is incredible," Polish said.

It was the abundance of choices that seemed to resonate most with 
early purchasers. Down the street at Talent Health Club, Lynn 
Roberts, 67, of Medford, was giddy with anticipation as she entered 
the door. As she presented her identification and waited to enter the 
dispensary, she giggled at the term "budtender." Roberts was there 
with her husband, who declined to be named for the story, for a 
specific strain called Northern Lights.

"We've been looking for this strain since 1992," Roberts said. "It's 
an indica, so it'll be nice and mellow and relaxing. And it'll make 
me happier than I already am!"

Monarch likened choosing cannabis to wine.

"People don't just drink 'wine.' You might hate a riesling. It might 
give you a headache," Monarch said.

He outlined effects, THC potency, flavor, scent, price points and 
whether the strain is grown indoors or outdoors among concerns to connoisseurs.

A "grand opening" event at Talent Health Club ran from 2 to 6 p.m. 
with raffles for accessories, free samples, and food trucks Peruvian 
Point and Rogue Chef. Just before 3 p.m. lines for recreational 
marijuana purchases at Talent Health Club were out the door, and 
parking in the complex in the 1000 block of South Pacific Highway was 
near capacity. General manager Mitra Sticklen had a count of 151 
recreational patrons from the dispensary's opening at 10 a.m. until 
just before 3 p.m.

"There's a lot of new faces here today," Sticklen said. "We feel like 
we've prepared really well."

Sticklen said the dispensary has eight varieties available for 
recreational purchase, and emphasized the farms the dispensary buy 
from: Jurassic Farms, Spectrum RX and MediSun.

"People have been asking for these by name," Sticklen said. "It's 
important to know your grower."

Sticklen claimed some dispensaries had begun running short, but 
Talent Health Club was well stocked.

"We have a lot of light deprivation," Sticklen said, contrasting the 
dispensary's selection of indoor-grown strains with marijuana grown 
outdoors. "It allows for an earlier harvest."

Out front was author J.R. Fox of Medford, who was promoting her 
children's book, "The Gloops and the Special Plant." The book is 
intended as a teaching tool to start a conversation about marijuana 
with children while strongly discouraging underage use. The allegory 
tells the story of a girl, Molly Gloop, and her parents, who stood up 
against the "Old Kings" who sought to ban the plants.

"It's supposed to be very clear - it's for grownups," Fox said.

She emphasized that children respond best to honest and 
straightforward answers to their questions, and likened marijuana's 
controversy to children of parents who drank at the very end of Prohibition.

"I'm not a parent, but I'd never do it in front of my kid," a 
recreational marijuana buyer told Fox before heading in the dispensary.

With recreational marijuana acceptance still in its infancy, many 
grateful proponents sought to stay under the radar as they celebrated.

"Everyone's kind of coming out of the cannabis closet," said a woman 
who declined to give her name.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom