By Patrick Wagner
PORTLAND, Ore. — The focus of Five Zero Trees, a licensed medical dispensary in Portland, Oregon, remains as simple as it is ambitious – to provide its customers with the absolute best cannabis possible.
While many businesses make similar claims, the owners of Five Zero Trees, Case Van Dorne and Joel Jennings, have done so on their own terms and without any financial support from third parties.
“We’re real blue collar,” Van Dorne said. “It’s common for us to work 80 to 100 hours a week.”
Jennings and Van Dorne, through a shared interest in medical marijuana, found themselves working together for another grower in 2009. It wasn’t long before they started their own grow operation, which quickly developed to include a medical dispensary.
“We’re not contractors by any means, but we’re not afraid of hard work,” Van Dorne said of getting the retail space ready for operation.
The first portion of that work required gutting the location’s outdated doctor’s office aesthetic, complete with popcorn ceiling and lime green carpet. Everything had to be replaced from the floors to the ceiling light fixtures.
“It took about a month of 20-hour days and we had some phenomenal help from Joel’s brother and friends,” Van Dorne said.
With an indoor warehouse and two greenhouses, Five Zero Trees grows about half the product sold in the dispensary.
“Currently we have a pretty large-scale indoor operation, fully sealed, all Gavita,” Van Dorne said. “We run a drain-to-waste system with a synthetic/organic hybrid system.
“Five Zero Trees has been trying to expand and increase our production and while doing so it has also been trying to lower cost of production to try and provide more affordable price meds,” Van Dorne said.
Jennings and Van Dorne spend a great deal of time trying to find the next strain that is worth adding to the operation. The growers have a 20-light setup dedicated to seedlings. After three separate trials, new strains are either accepted or thrown to the wayside. It’s a tedious process, but one the founders believe in.
“Our motto is, ‘Do today what could be done tomorrow.’” Van Dorne said. “It’s a fine balance, especially trying to regulate between our workload and family life. We’ve got some fairly tolerant women in our lives.”