Tag: Umatilla County

Small Oregon Counties Are Generating Big Cannabis Sales Numbers

When people across the nation think about Oregon and cannabis, there’s a good chance that they think of cannabis-friendly Portland, or maybe farms with plants the size of trees in Southern Oregon. However, when you look at the sales numbers across the state, you can see that cannabis is popular all across the Beaver State, and per capita, the smaller counties are bringing in big numbers themselves. Of course, Multnomah, which houses

Portland and is by far the most populous country in the state, has big sales and still impressively ranked seventh per capita in sales per person last year. But it’s smaller counties that are demonstrating the biggest sales per resident as well as growth from the previous year.

As the Portland Business Journal reports, Baker County, boosted by sales from people crossing over the Idaho-Oregon border, reigned supreme per capita, but another county looks poised to take the top spot in 2020:

Baker County was Oregon’s pot-purchasing leader in 2019 on a per capita basis as sales in the state continued to climb, but a neighboring county appears set to take the top spot in 2020.

Sales in Baker County totaled more than $30.1 million in 2019. With a population of 16,820, that worked out to $1,794 per resident, according to a Business Journal analysis based on data from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

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But that all changed last year when recreational pot came to Ontario, in Malheur County, right on the state line.

The first Ontario shop opened in July, and by the end of the year there were three. Sales totaled more than $20.2 million in 2019, including $14.1 million in the last three months of the year.

All but 5 of Oregon’s counties (c’mon Crook, Gilliam, Morrow, Sherman and Wheeler!) are wisely taking advantage of cannabis sales to generate jobs and create revenue for their local communities. Umatilla County, housing Pendleton’s Kind Leaf, saw over $11 million in sales. With 81,160 residents, that comes out to $144 per resident, ranking 19th among Oregon’s 36th counties. When it comes to growth over 2018, Umatilla tied Marion with a 24.1% increase over the previous year.

Cannabis legalization is clearly hear to stay and Oregonian adults should take advantage of the tested cannabis flower and products available across our great state. Even better, seek out small businesses like Kind Leaf to really boost the local economy with companies that care about their communities.

Kind Leaf Welcomes Customers on First Day

Kind Leaf co-owner Brandon Krenzler shows off a sampling of the merchandise for sale on the Pendleton dispensary’s first day of business.
Staff photo by Jade McDowell

Business was booming on opening day for Umatilla County’s first legal marijuana store.

Kind Leaf officially opened its doors in Pendleton on Saturday, and after lunch people were bunched up just inside the front doors, trying to avoid the rain outside as the line to show identification grew longer.

Erin Purchase, who was checking driver’s licenses, said as of 1 p.m. she had 94 customers visit the store. Some were already lined up when staff opened at 8 a.m.

“It’s really great,” she said. “We’re really excited to have this opportunity to serve Pendleton with legal medical and recreational marijuana.”

After showing their identification and signing in, customers briefly sat on couches, surrounded by mellow instrumental music and the sound of a running fountain, until it was their turn to pass through the doors to where the product was kept.

Inside, a wide, well-lit room featured long wooden counters where customers could browse and ask questions about the different strains featured behind the counters. Signs on the wall warned customers to remember to keep their purchases out of reach of children and not to smoke in public.

Brandon Krenzler, one of the dispensary’s co-owners, said the first day had been a “beautiful experience.”

“We’ve had a lot of happy people,” he said.

So many happy people, in fact, that the ATM at the business had run out of cash. For now, federal laws against marijuana have forced dispensaries to run on a cash-only basis.

Krenzler said the dispensary was offering people a “craft cannabis experience” that was more tasteful and refined than the flashy green-light dispensaries one might see in parts of Portland.

One of his customers interrupted to shake his hand and thank him for giving Pendleton its first opportunity to purchase legal marijuana. Some customers were experienced buyers, others needed help picking out a strain that would provide the experience they were looking for. The customers ranged from the group of men in their twenties who exchanged high fives and enthusiastically congratulated departing customers, to a woman who asked if the dispensary gave senior citizen discounts (they do).

Some slipped quietly out of the store, refusing to discuss their experience with the newspaper, while others felt comfortable enough to talk about what is now a legal purchase.

Seth Hiatt said he thought the store was “nice, clean and organized” and he would return.

“It’s nice to have something local,” he said.

Sandra Doherty said she didn’t know much about marijuana, but the staff were knowledgeable and patient in answering her questions.

“I’m really surprised Pendleton allowed it, but I think the tax money will be awesome,” she said.

She said she hoped the taxes on the sales going on inside would be used for improving schools and roads in Pendleton.

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Contact Jade McDowell at jmcdowell@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4536

Source: East Oregonian