HEALTH Portland The Neighborhood’s Own
Nestled on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, just north of the major downtown bridges, is a dispensary breaking fresh ground and featuring deliveries. Walking past a sidewalk sign outside the store that read “Black Owned,” I was stoked to have exclusive access to ReLeaf just before opening.
The owner, Leona Thomas, did not originally want a dispensary. Leona started the business in 2017 with wholesale intentions, later choosing to go with a retail location. “We waited patiently, but not quietly,” she said. “Through a bunch of red tape, and a lot of run arounds … I felt like I was being dragged in circles by the city of Portland.” Having no investors, the company was started by Leona and her husband in a battle to break the stigma around Cannabis, not to mention she is one of only a couple African American female OLCC licensees. Although she was not an early user, both Leona and her husband have researched and educated themselves on the subject so far as to open a shop that has already seen success, which speaks volumes to their mentality towards our sacred plant. Rich, skunky herb can be smelled from outside the door, and once inside you’re greeted with a quaint but inviting environment. The selection of products are clearly visible thanks to natural lighting and easy to read signage. Weaving my nose through a couple strains, I could not help but feel a sort of comfort reminiscent of scoring weed from a good friend. “Our customers come in looking for that one item that will not only help them through their day, but also make it better,” says store manager Louie. “We not only serve the neighborhood, but we deliver it right to their door. People actually look forward to seeing us.”
While the everyday customer purchases a handful of joints and a jar of flower, ReLeaf serves a wide variety of Cannabis consumers. Reaching the full spectrum of customers across the Portland metropolitan area, it is no wonder they had customers waiting for the doors to open. Having everything from premium hash to edibles, cartridges, smoking accessories and of course, a generous flower selection, Leona and her crew have put together a lineup that is always asked for and sells fresh. Although the store is closed Sunday and Monday, the delivery service still runs seven days a week – which some locals rely on. Let’s say you purchase flower online – your product will be delivered discreetly by an educated budtender/delivery driver, and your profile will be instantly created online – now giving you access to a host of deals and options like picking the same delivery budtender, or requesting a new one. “We work from Portland through the outskirts including Multnomah, Beaverton and Milwaukie,” says Louie. “As long as it’s before 5:00 p.m., customers have their goodies within an hour on average.” Thanks to Covid, many implementations have carried over through the pandemic – allowing customers to receive their product quicker and more efficiently – while still obeying state laws and regulations. After all the hard work and red tape, the team at ReLeaf is thrilled to be up and running supplying the greater Portland area with some of the state’s finest herb. Nowadays, the figurative dragging in circles by the city has been replaced with the literal driving of Cannabis all over the city.