Is Home Grown Apothecary the Best Small Dispensary Experience in America?
Traveled to the Rose City, Portland, Oregon this past weekend, and a good friend pointed me in the direction of "the best dispensary in Portland." (Actually, he took me there in his car, which is the Portland way ... that crazy human kindness thing they do up there.)
Home Grown Apothecary is located in a small house in Northeast which makes sense if you understand the quadrant-based way Portland is laid out. The building is beautifully hand-painted and welcoming. I was immediately struck with a warm feeling for the shop.
My first steps into the dispensary felt very much like walking into the showroom of a sincere and dedicated craftperson - in this case, the craft is plant medicines. The walls of the first room are lined with apothecary jars on shelves and lots of information (another very Portland thing), with comfortable furniture* and subtle but comforting smells that make their way to the right parts of the nervous system and becalmed us. I wasn't able to meet Tania, the herbalist, but I understand this first room is her domain.
After the ID-check, I was allowed into the dispensary part of the operation, and introduced to Andrea "Andi" Keller with whom the truly exceptional part of the experience began.
This is partly because Andi has the generous spirit of a person you've just met but feel like you've known all your life. But to the point of my visit, I have never met a person with more knowledge about the Plant, and the very particular products carried at the shop.
And I mean knowledge that is as deep as it is wide. I had thought I was pretty well-versed in this space, and I was gently, kindly, dispossessed of this notion. Encyclopedic is a good adjective for Andi.
Which gets to the whole reason Home Grown Apothecary might be the very best small dispensary experience in America.
How many times, Dear Readers, have you found yourself gabbing with a young bud tender who knows only as much about a product as is on the label. [Pulls product from the shelf that's BOGO or "on special" and says: "Oh, this one is a sativa, so, ummmm, that means..." and you know you're stuck in the Amateur Hour.]
Ask Andi about a product and she'll stop you and ask you what you're looking for... as in "What part of your body or soul are you trying to support?"
Because the Plant is medicine for everyone, whether they know it or not.
Based on what you are trying to accomplish, Andi pulls several choices, maybe more depending on your preference for flower, or concentrate, etc.. And the pages of the encyclopedia that is her brain start to flip: not only does Andi know the terpene profile of each product by heart, but which process helps bring out which terpene and which terpenes help bring out which cannabinoids, but she knows the farmer's name. And her kids' names, and her dogs' names. You can see it on her face that she is envisioning the driveway to the grow, the raised beds, and that she can smell the soil in her mind.
The focus on health is paramount, as you may have gathered from the dispensary name. Our Dear Readers will attest to the fact that there is so much to know about what the Plant is. At Home Grown Apothecary, they take all that to the next level - what it could be.
Let's start with "sustainably grown cannabis." Every single item in the shop is beyond sustainable, and even beyond organic. And not just because the state cannabis control board demands it, but because Home Grown Apothecary demands it.
On the company website one finds that "All products must go through our vigorous vetting process before being store approved." - What does that mean?
All of the cannabis here at Home Grown is grown locally, sustainably and to the highest "organic standards".
By organic standards, we mean grown in live soil with no weird chemicals. Cannabis can not legally be considered organic anywhere, but it can be certified Clean Green, Certified Kind, and Dragonfly Earth Medicine Pure. We ensure all of our cannabis is grown to these high-standards.
All of our farms are working towards being, if not already, Negative Water and Energy Business. Meeting our high ethical standards.
All paper products in the facility are made of recycled paper with a minimum of 30% post consumer products.
* Speaking of furniture, "All the furniture and shelving in our building was built with refurbished/up-cycled woods."
And as Andi said, "We raise our standards every year. If our farmers are doing well with organic and regenerative practices, we ask about water, energy uses and sources, wages and child care for their workers. We want to show that the highest standards can be met, and are also economically viable. And it's working. All of it."
I could ramble about this shop for a while, but hopefully you get the picture. If you're in Portland and looking for the purest, healthiest, most ethically grown cannabis, served up by the most caring and knowledgable staff, my full recommendation goes to Home Grown Apothecary.