Marcus Larson/News-Register##Steven Perkins purchases some marijuana from Jerod Bogh of New Leaf in McMinnville. Oct. 1 was the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales. Possession of marijuana was made legal July 1.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Steven Perkins purchases some marijuana from Jerod Bogh of New Leaf in McMinnville. Oct. 1 was the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales. Possession of marijuana was made legal July 1.
By David Bates • Staff Writer • 

Local pot shops draw big opening day crowds

As a line of more than two-dozen formed outside the marijuana shop, located at 1178 Highway 99W, a videographer had a drone-mounted camera buzzing overhead to record the moment when it became legal in Oregon for adults to buy the drug for purely and openly recreational reasons. Previously, at least some claim of medicinal intent needed to be asserted.

“It’s crazy,” said Chalice Farms founder and president William Simpson, as he rushed about shortly before his appointed 9 a.m. opening. “The world is changing.” 

Marcus Larson/News-Register##Customer Doug Eubank discusses different varieties of marijuana for purchase with Lauren Bogh at New Leaf. The dispensary is one of three places in Yamhill County where the substance is sold.

Simpson has been logging long hours lately, overseeing his company’s operations while also consulting with state officials in Salem and city officials in Portland to ensure implementation of the new rules goes smoothly.

He’s also been working closely with Portland-based Studio McDermott, which has a documentary titled “Oregon: The State of Cannabis” in progress. A trailer for the film may be viewed online at

“Right now, my life is literally 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., pretty much every day,” Simpson said.

Flipp Todd, a 53-year-old signmaker from Sherwood, made the trip to Dundee early Thursday morning — early enough to snag the coveted first-in-line spot.

He emerged with two small packages of a variety of indoor-grown cannabis, one marketed as Blue Dream and the other as Mago Kush. Blue Dream promises an “active, energetic, productive” high and Mango Kush one that is “calming” and “soothing.”

“I was first!” he exclaimed with a smile as he emerged. But he was just the first of many customers to receive a hearty “Congratulations!” from others in line.

“It’s very, very nice,” he told prospective buyers. “I highly recommend it, no pun intended.”

Todd said he hadn’t smoked marijuana in years, but was looking forward to spending a day off enjoying his new purchase at home.

“It’s been a long day coming,” he said. He said the thanks should go to activists who have worked for over a decade to decriminalize marijuana.  

Chalice Farms, part of an vertically integrated operation run out the Lincoln Center tower, just north of Tigard, is one of three registered dispensaries in Yamhill County. The other two, both located in McMinnville, are The Medicine Tree, 2046 N.E. Highway 99W, north of the Volkswagen dealership, owned by Jim Galba, and the New Leaf CannaCenter, 3325 N.E. Riverside Drive, owned by Gregory Bogh.

Several of Thursday morning’s early-arriving customers said a shop has also opened in Newberg. However, it is not listed in the official state registry, at least not yet.

All three of the listed Yamhill County shops opened two months ago, when sales were limited to holders of state-issued medical marijuana cards. Oct. 1 marked the date state law allowed them to throw open their doors to the broader public.

On Thursday, that included 24-year-old Justin Bye, who manages a chicken ranch near Newberg.

Having had run-ins with the law over marijuana as a youth, he said he was looking forward to a “stress-free” smoke. He termed the local $10 per gram asking price “very reasonable,” saying is was in line with current street prices. 

“I think it’s basically awesome,” Bye said. “It’s probably one of the most exciting things to happen in Oregon.”

There were several self-described “hippies” lined up at the Dundee outlet opening day. There were also some self-professed newbies. Some were willing to provide their names, others not.

A woman from Lafayette said she was new to the experience. She said she had done a lot of research online before coming to the store. Even so, she said, she might want some help going over the menu.

That was music to Simpson’s ears.

“Education’s a huge part of the continued positive reinforcement of our industry,” said Simpson, who said he hopes to build a network of outlets around the state. “We take great pride in trying to create that atmosphere where people are comfortable in slowing down and hanging out and getting the education.”

Simpson said he and his wife have been hitting Yamhill County’s winetasting rooms for more than a decade. He’s a big fan of pinot noir, and he sees parallels between the pot and wine businesses, in terms of how the product can best be presented to the customer. 

He said, “If you build a beautiful shop, you slow people down, which I think is real important for educating the consumer, because it’s new to everyone. And to get rid of the stigma.

“Frankly, that’s been one of my big goals. It doesn’t deserve the image it has.”

He said, “We took great care in making a store that anyone could walk in and go, ‘Wow, I don’t care what they have here. This is actually really beautiful.’” He said, “That changes perceptions.”

Simpson said he’s typically been getting 25 to 30 customers a day, operating strictly as a medical dispensary. On Thursday, he had that many in the first 45 minutes.

As to how it will all play out, he’s unsure. He expects it to slow down after an initial opening week bump, but has no idea what to expect from there.

Marcus Larson/News-Register##Varieties of marijuana for sale at New Leaf Dispensary in McMInnville. Thursday was the first day for recreational marijuana sales in Oregon.

Nearly as many customers were lined up outside New Leaf CannaCenter in McMinnville shortly after its 11 a.m. opening. A crew of about half a dozen moved quickly before opening, readying a new section of the store intended strictly for recreational users, allowing patients their own line and cashier. 

Manager Lauren Bogh said that prior to Oct. 1, the store was getting around 40 customers daily. With the arrival of recreational use, she said the store is taking special care to make sure medical cardholders don’t get lost in the crowd.

“We’re just so thankful, because we’re a new business,” she said. “We’ve been here less than four months.

“We definitely expect a lot more, because every day, I take calls from people curious about when they can come in. I tell them, ‘It’s October 1,’ and they say, ‘I’ll see you then!’”

Steven Perkins, a local cook, was among the first recreational customers at New Leaf.

“I’ve smoked marijuana off and on for about 20 years,” he said. His mom was an activist in the 1960s, working to decriminalize marijuana, and was among the first customers to buy the product legally in Colorado, he said.

“It’s a big day,” Perkins said. “It’s an opportunity to do something legally that wasn’t allowed up until now in Oregon, without fear of police reprisal.”

McMinnville activist Anthony Taylor, who heads the advocacy group Compassionate Oregon, has spent years working statewide politics of marijuana. He lobbied lawmakers for a Nov. 1 start date, to allow more time for the harvesting and processing of outdoor crops first, but to no avail.

On Thursday, he expressed concern that smaller shops in Oregon might run out this weekend, thanks to the recreational rush, leaving those who need the product for medical reasons wanting.

“The supply chain really needs those harvests to meet demand, because the indoor growers aren’t going to be able to do it,” Taylor said. “So we’ll see how it goes for the month, because a lot of the outdoor product isn’t going to hit the shelves for about three weeks.”

“Everybody’s trying to get as much supply on the shelves as they can in case it just goes crazy,” he said. “They’ve geared up.

“They’ve got extra employees on for the next couple of days. Friday and Saturday will be a telling situation.”



This is such a great thing for our community! Think of what this will do for families. Mom and dad won't have to worry about a thing they will just be free to do whatever they want. Heck they'll be free to get into mom and dads stash. And drunk driving hasn't been a problem so having more people high on drugs on our roads should be just fine. Think of how this will improve our workforce and education. We will be raising smarter more motivated upstanding members of society than ever before. And think of the future. Pot today...dare we dream of legal meth tomorrow? Legal heroin? Yipee! How about...Legal...EVERYTHING? Yeah, that's it, lets just vote to make everything and anything legal in society. We are free. Yipee!

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