Who’s Afraid of the Big Green Wolf

By Dave DeLuca

IMG_16832Well, it finally happened, weed is legal in Oregon. Before you know it, anyone over the age of 21 will be allowed inside those mysterious dispensaries that have been popping up around town like so many Dutch Bros drive-thrus. What’s been going on in there, anyway? Is our town already overrun by seedy drug dealers and helpless junkies? Or are the shops owners just medical professionals serving a legitimate need? There’s no reason to be afraid, my friends. Let me take you for a sneak peek behind the green door of The Agrestic, south town’s lone marijuana dispensary.

Co-owner Kayla Dunham was kind enough to show me around the shop. We started in the waiting room, which was stylish and classy. This is the only space open to the general public. Unique touches to the room included a selection of handheld video games and a flat screen television. What was on TV, you ask? A DVD of That ‘70s Show, of course.

We were buzzed into the next room by the clerk behind a sliding glass window. If not for my role as reporter, I would never have been allowed to see behind that proverbial curtain.

I’m not sure what I expected to see, but the place was far nicer than I’d imagined. Picture a high-end candy store with glass cases containing fancy delicacies. Instead of caramels and chocolates on doilies, the Agrestic had dozens of big jars filled with dark green clumpy cannabis flowers. They displayed magical names like Hillbilly Queen, Fortune Cookies, and Master Kush. Each type promised to produce a slightly different effect on the mind and body.

The choices didn’t end there. Dunham showed me topical salves, ingestible oils, capsules, chocolate bars, lozenges, tinctures, soaking salts, and sugar cubes. When I asked if there were any types of cannabis products that she didn’t carry, she told me about marijuana suppositories. Yikes!

Dunham explained that her business is very closely controlled by rules and regulations designed to keep cannabis from finding its way onto the black market. For example, management must be able to account for product inventory in such detail that it would be virtually impossible for a staff member to steal from the shop. All products sold must be sealed in opaque, child-resistant containers. Dunham won’t sell more than four ounces of product to any customer, although they rarely ask for more than a gram or two. 

And they don’t give out free samples.

IMG_1678Other rules require cameras to record every square inch of the dispensary’s interior, and the 15 feet outside every exterior door. Very little cash is kept on hand. At night, all products must be stored in a safe which is bolted down. The security system includes motion sensors which are monitored by an outside service.

Safety is a concern for Dunham, but the security measures in place are reassuring. “I don’t think the value of the product we have on hand would justify the type of sophistication needed to rob us,” she said.

In other words: Dumb burglars would fail and smart burglars wouldn’t bother.

Even if Dunham didn’t take all of these rules seriously, the State of Oregon does. The newly formed Oregon Health Authority randomly inspects the 158 dispensaries in the state. You can bet they take their jobs seriously.

As for the people, I didn’t see a single reefer-maddened zombie or creepy pill pusher. The staff was professional and caring, and the customers were just, well, normal.

The Agrestic is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. In addition to being a business, they are happy to educate, and welcome questions at www.facebook.com/theagrestic.