I love rooting for people that fight for social justice. Especially when their fight includes a David versus Goliath story, and marijuana. I have found my new favorite medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Oregon. It’s called Panacea, and it’s located at 6714 NE Sandy Blvd. I had heard about Panacea for a little while now (they are about four months old), and everything I have heard was positive. I first heard about Panacea from my friends at Eclipse Farm-Ecology. I have the utmost respect for Eclipse because of how they put their ethics and carbon footprint considerations above business. And their oil is really, really good. They only sell to like minded outlets, and Panacea is one that they work with.
The next time I heard about Panacea was when my good friend Kaliko visited them. He had nothing but good things to say about them, and brought me back a sample of Strawberry Satori, which is one of their signature strains. That sample Kaliko gave me was so fantastic, that everyone I shared it with is still talking about it. I wrote a review about it if you want to check it out. Their flower is also the strain behind the Strawberry Satori CO2 vape pen cartridges made by True North Extracts, which I also reviewed and was outstanding. True North is another very reputable company, and so I knew that if they worked that closely with Panacea, there had to be something magical going on there.
At a recent Women Grow event I ran into one of Panacea’s employees, and I asked her how she liked the dispensary. She was very quick to point out that she had worked at other dispensaries before, and that they were just all about the almighty dollar. She liked that Panacea was about patients first, social justice as a close second, and only after those things did profitability come into the equation. I kept seeing a common denominator every time I learned more about Panacea, that they were not like the average dispensary, so I decided it was time to check the place out for myself.
When I got to Panacea, I was amazed at how beautiful their reception area was. The first thing that caught my eye was some panels hanging from the ceiling about a foot and a half away from the wall. As you walked past them at a particular distance, you could see hologram art (or holography as I was later told) on the panels. If you walked past them too close or too far away they were just see through. But if you were in the middle of the room you could see amazing designs that moved around in the panel. It’s my understanding that the artist that made them is now deceased, and that the pieces are only there for display for a limited time. There were also paintings by an artist called Amy Ponteri, and they were all very thought provoking. You can see pictures of the welcome lobby area below:
Before I looked at any meds, I introduced myself and shook hands with the owners of Panacea, Melissa and George. After they offered up some kinds words about my blog, we launched into a passionate discussion about social justice, cannabis reform, the state of the cannabis industry and beyond. I can honestly say that I have never had a conversation like that at a medical marijuana dispensary, ever. I can also say that it was an enormous breath of fresh air. I go into so many dispensaries that are just a desk in front of a door that leads to a room with jars on a shelf. The person behind the counter is apathetic to just about anything and everything, and is merely there to just ring you up and take your dollars.
Panacea is much more than a place to just purchase cannabis. Panacea is even more than just ‘an experience’ as a lot of dispensaries try to market their locations as being. Panacea is the embodiment of a very ambitious vision by its creators. Panacea’s success will not be measured by high ‘total balances’ on bank statements according to its owners. Panacea will measure its success by how much positive social change it can bring about in the world, and how much better it can make the lives of the people that frequent the dispensary, both as patients and as employees. One of the owners, George, told me very passionately that if they can’t create living wage jobs that people can enjoy doing, then they have failed, regardless of how much money they make.
The main goal of the dispensary is to generate revenue in order to fund social justice causes. 10% of all of their profits will go directly to social justice causes, which ambitions to do more. In fact, the owners of Panacea are hopeful that their business model gets stolen because then it means that more social justice causes will get funding. Can you name one other business in the cannabis industry that literally hopes that their business model is stolen by others? From a business savvy perspective it’s the most illogical thing ever. From a human spirit perspective, it makes me happier than words can express that someone out there is trying to harness the marijuana industry in a way that lines the pockets of freedom fighters to fund their work, rather than line the pockets of a person in a suit that lives out of state, or even out of this country.
As Melissa said to me, Panacea is a ‘small upstart with a big message.’ The marijuana industry has a chance to do something that no other industry has done before on a grand scale, and that’s using commerce and industry to bring about dramatic social change. The marijuana industry is going to be MASSIVE in the near future. Colorado sold over $50 million worth of recreational marijuana in one month. That’s one state. In one month. $50 million dollars, and that doesn’t include medical marijuana sales. Who knows how big the industry will get. We can say for sure that it’s going to dwarf other industries.
The marijuana industry needs to be better than those other industries. The marijuana industry needs to give back not only to people that are marijuana consumers, but also to communities, and worthwhile causes that make the world a better place. That’s what The Weed Blog has always been about, and that’s what Panacea is all about. Panacea wants to create a dispensary that gives back, and wants to issue the challenge to everyone else in the industry. They want to ask, as I have asked many times over the years, if you are in the marijuana industry what are you doing to give back? Both to the marijuana reform movement, and to society in general? Because if all you are doing is trying to make money, then you are missing what the marijuana movement has been about for so many decades. Marijuana reform isn’t about profit, it’s about social justice.
After one of the best conversations I’ve ever had with people in the marijuana industry, we finally got around to looking at their meds. As I stated before, Panacea carries two of my favorite brands (by far) which are True North Extracts and Eclipse Farm-Ecology. Those are two of the most reputable, cleanest marijuana companies in the industry today. They don’t measure their product by how much money they can make off it and try to cut corners. Those companies do everything that they can to create the cleanest meds for patients. Panacea only works with growers that avoid pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Both George and Melissa have backgrounds in the healthcare field, and they do everything they can to make sure their meds are the best they can be.
One of my favorite, favorite strains of all time is the Silvertip strain. It’s extremely rare, and ever since Brightside dispensary closed down, I haven’t seen it anywhere. Naturally, it’s one of the strains that Panacea carries. I obtained a high CBD strain from Panacea while I was there, and some Strawberry Satori CO2 sap (very rare), which I will be reviewing soon. Panacea only works with local growers. They follow a ‘farm to table’ model making sure that their meds are fresh, and that they are in good communications with every grower that supplies them (five right now total) so that they know exactly what to convey to their customers.
A lot of medical marijuana dispensaries have the veneer of being about the patients, but at the end of the day are only concerned with filling, emptying, and refilling their jars. Panacea couldn’t be farther from that. They care about their patients, which any of the ones I’ve talked to have been very quick to attest to that. The owners Melissa and George told me success story after success story. They have helped cancer patients, children with sever epilepsy, and patients that suffer from just about every other condition. They don’t carry strains because they are ‘dank’ or because they will ‘get you higher than a kite.’ They carry strains because they help certain ailments, and they tailor their supplies to their client’s needs.
Leaving Panacea, I literally felt better about the world than I did walking into there. I know that sounds dramatic, but I was literally that blown away by what they are doing. Theirs is a model that should be copied by people all over America. The marijuana industry can help the world in ways that no other industry is willing to do. We have a chance to make a different kind of industry, and that’s something that Panacea gets better than any other dispensary I have ever visited.
I know that a lot of Weed Blog readers from Oregon are getting excited about making legal recreational marijuana purchases starting October 1st. I know I certainly am! I mean this when I say it, I plan on buying all of my marijuana on October 1st from Panacea in Portland, Oregon, and I encourage all other readers to do the same. They support the marijuana movement, in addition to a host of other social causes, and I think that readers should support them. Don’t give your dollars to dispensaries that have never done anything for anyone other than themselves. Spend your dollars with a dispensary that supports its workers, supports its community, and stands for something more than just profit. And if you don’t believe in all of that jazz for one reason or another, I guess you can also just check them out because their flower is absolutely fantastic, if that’s your thing :)
Panacea is not like a lot of dispensaries out there right now, where the growers and owners are not even Oregonians. Panacea is David in the battle versus Goliath, and I’m really rooting for them because Goliaths are just full of greed and don’t care about much else. I want to see Panacea thrive, so that they can provide more jobs to hardworking people, and so they can fund social justice causes all over my home state and beyond. My friends at Eclipse Farm-Ecology will be doing ‘meet the producer’ type display event at Panacea this Friday, August 28th. If you want to check out Panacea and Eclipse Farm-Ecology in one fell swoop, this would be a great way to do it. I plan on making the trek just to say high and be around amazing people, and hope to see you there. You can learn more about Panacea medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Oregon by visiting their website, by checking them out on Facebook, following them on Twitter, and checking them out on Leafly.