Marijuana sale frenzy over the weekend

Medical marijuana dispensaries remained busy throughout the weekend after opening their doors for recreational sales Thursday.

Many of the dispensaries opened at the stroke of midnight Thursday and were greeted with long lines. Those lines continued the following three days, and thousands of customers found their way to a dispensary. Bend has the most dispensaries in Central Oregon, with 16 locations.

“It was amazing,” Ben Hebert, owner of Dr. Jolly’s on SE Third Street, said Sunday. “We were totally busy all the time. I think we had a lot of happy people coming out of here.”

Aviv Hadar, co-founder of Oregrown Industries, which has a dispensary on NW Wall Street, said sales reached $55,000 on the first day alone.

Hadar said as many as 2,000 people shopped at the dispensary on the first day. That business continued over the weekend with the First Friday Art Walk and the Bend Fall Festival.

Recreational marijuana became legal July 1 after voters passed Measure 91 in November. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission won’t be issuing licenses for marijuana-related businesses producing and selling recreational pot until next year.

The Legislature passed a bill allowing for marijuana to be sold recreationally through dispensaries in the interim.

The bustling dispensaries and sale of recreational pot did not cause headaches for local law enforcement over the weekend.

“I’m not aware of any instances related to the marijuana change,” Bend Police Sgt. Tom Pine said Sunday.

Pine said there was one report of a security guard at the Bend Fall Festival asking someone to refrain from smoking marijuana, and the person complied.

While the amount of business was steady, Hadar said Oregrown’s dispensary was able to keep up with demand.

“We are stocked up,” said Hadar.

Hebert said his dispensary had 30 marijuana strains to choose from over the weekend, and some went fast.

“We were prepared,” said Hebert. “We knew what we were going to need. We were able to put out a lot of high-quality strains.”

Hebert said the varieties ranged in price and provided options for small and big spenders.

“That was important to me so people wouldn’t come in and say, ‘This place is outrageously overpriced,’” he said.

Hebert said he anticipates hiring another full-time employee to keep up with the demands for packaging his products at the dispensary.

Hadar credits Oregrown’s early success to marketing efforts and building the company’s brand ahead of time.

The company plans to donate a percentage of early sales to Umpqua Community College in the wake of the shooting that killed 10 people Thursday.