If you don’t have an Oregon Medical Marijuana Program card, you might be surprised at how unenthused patients are about stopping by the dispensary.
Though I’ll undoubtedly renew my card next year, the system is far from perfect. It’s not unusual to wait 30 minutes to see the budtender if you’re stopping by a short-staffed dispensary at a busy time. Then, you have to pick your bud and make polite conversation while waiting for the product to be weighed and recorded.
The new Shango Farms OMMP dispensary is streamlining that process, with a clear eye to the coming recreational market.
Shango is owned by Shane McKee and Brandon Rexroad. Their first shop, opened in September, is on the busy corner of Southeast Foster Road and 82nd Avenue. Their second location, near the airport, got the sort of rollout we’re more used to seeing from a hot new bar: Owners hosted a party for local media and industry types that featured a master pumpkin carver making custom jack-o’-lanterns. The ploy worked: Shango got coverage from KOIN, The Oregonian and, uh, Willamette Week.
It’s intentionally ambitious. “Shango is the new name for cannabis in America,” the company’s website says.
Inside, it’s polished. Small and efficient, Shango has iPads packed with product info and a gallery of ganja, with strains mounted inside clear cylinders on the wall to allow for 360-degree perusal of the nugs. In the center of the room you find a counter where patients can get a whiff. Customers buy pre-measured glass jars—there’s no weighing or repackaging, so the buds stay fresh, shake stays to a minimum and the cost is predictable.
That’s a new model for dispensaries, where product is usually stored in large quantities and measured out for each buyer. You can’t look forward to the budtender weighing heavy or obtain exactly $27.41 worth of cannabis, but you’re also free of that guy who lets his ponytail flip a little too close to the open jars.
Shango’s bud is high quality—try Chillberry—and the location will make easy stops for tourists. The Space Age strain display and meager scent samples can feel cold and pharmaceutical, but a year after undisciplined dispensaries drew fire by giving free bong rips to exiting customers, the professionalism is appealing.
OMMP has not set standards for how product can be sampled and exposed to patients before a transaction. Things will be different when recreational weed comes, and Shango will be well positioned.