The High Price of Cheap Weed

On this week’s episode of the Dive, Sophie Peel discusses her cover story on La Mota.

BUY LOW: A sandwich board outside a La Mota dispensary. (Brian Brose)

La Mota dispensaries have been notable for more than a few reasons.

As bulk cannabis buyers, La Mota trailblazed the buy-low-sell-low blueprint for bargain weed across not just the Portland metro, but throughout Oregon. Its founder, only 20-something at the brand’s incarnation, is a hypermotivated, politically minded Latina with gubernatorial aspirations. Altogether, the shop’s successes and its sensational owner have made the brand one of the most well known in the state.

But beneath the gloss of high femme, minority wunderkind leadership are allegations of unpaid vendors, stiffed service workers, tax liens and employees who lament the brand’s lack of security in an era when dispensaries are seeing a terrifying uptick in violent robberies. Tu quieres fumar mota de la mota? What are you willing to sacrifice to save a few bucks?

In addition to hosting this podcast, I’ve also been the primary contributor to WW’s Potlander column and, as such, one would think, probably should have crossed paths with La Mota founders Rosa Cazares and Aaron Mitchell at least once. I have not.

No tea no shade no pink lemonade, I totally reached out a few times to invite Rosa to be featured in Potlander, but was met with radio silence, despite one of my main MOs being to rally behind women of color in the industry. Whatever, I’m not tripping, it’s no big deal.

After reading Sophie Peel’s in-depth examination of the business as it navigates lawsuits, back taxes, and what some allege is a long-standing pattern of building business by failing to pay vendors, that avoidance makes sense. Sophie discusses her story on this week’s episode of the Dive.

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