Company: The Greener Side
Company: The Greener Side
Joe and Chelsea Hopkins, owners of The Greener Side in Eugene, Oregon, have been dedicated to providing access to cannabis for nearly a decade, back before the state Legislature deemed medical marijuana dispensaries to be legal.
“In 2013, in May, we were the last business to be raided and to go to jail for providing safe access to cannabis,” says Chelsea.
The couple had expected a raid and prepared for one in advance, running drills and having a plan in place with an attorney before they even opened. When they were inevitably arrested, they only spent about 10 hours in jail and used the opportunity to send out a press release denouncing the use of tax dollars to arrest folks who were only providing access to medicine.
Before opening a dispensary, the couple were self-described “ski bums” in California. Chelsea had a medical card and the couple grew cannabis, but working with the state’s dispensaries was a “nightmare” at the time and Chelsea says she never felt comfortable enough to go into any of them.
“It was really important to us that we could help create a system and create a space that women, grandmas, grandpas, teachers, men and everyone felt comfortable coming in,” she says.
“We were very passionate about providing a safe place for people to have a quality experience with the plant, whether it be something that they’re going to be healed from, or something they’re going to be able to enjoy the rest of their day,” adds Joe.
As the times changed, the Hopkins’ business did too, though they never lost their focus on providing a safe place for consumers. In 2014, they became part of Oregon’s licensed medical system and in 2016, The Greener Side was licensed as part of the state’s recreational marketplace. The couple had a second store in Detroit, Oregon, but the store was destroyed in a wildfire that leveled most of the town.
They hope to get back to cultivation in the future, to supply their shelves with their own product, and “going back to what started our passion for this,” according to Joe. But for now, they continue to focus on ensuring everyone has access to a clean, safe store and an informed budtender to help guide the journey, all while not having to worry about another knock on the door from the police.
“It’s a breath of fresh air, to be honest,” says Joe. “It’s never lost on us that we’re extremely privileged to be able to do this.”
“And I feel like now, it’s a lot more fun,” adds Chelsea. “Come in and have fun with it too, because that’s what the plant is all about.”