By Cameron Vigliotta firstname.lastname@example.org
On 420, just days after TJ's Dispensary opened its Southeast Powell Boulevard location, the dispensary and coffee shop was abuzz.
An endless stream of dedicated cannabis enthusiasts walked in and out the door, so frequently it was rarely shut.
It wasn't exactly an average day, though. To celebrate the holiday and its first Portland outpost, TJ's hosted a meet-and-greet with hip-hop legend Rakim, who was in town to headline this year's Soul'd Out Festival. The golden age rapper smiled for pictures with star-struck fans and employees and examined the shelves stocked with bud, taking whiffs of various strains, at times wincing at the overpowering aroma.
Star-studded opening aside, TJ's is about as low key as dispensaries get, to the point it's almost inconspicuous. The building's pitch-black exterior holds little character and gives few clues about its content. The interior decorating looks like a collaboration between IKEA and Snoop Dogg: Modern wood paneling and metal trim outline display cases that contain an assortment of products created by TJ's parent company, Stem: Yerba Buena flower, Cannavore edibles, and Dose-ology CBD oils. Unlike the clinical aesthetic of most dispensaries, which can feel overwhelming to newbies, TJ's feels homey.
Still, aside from its sociable and cozy environment, the small chain, which has two locations in Eugene, is distinct from Portland's hundreds of other dispensaries for one major reason. To distinguish itself from the ever-expanding and competitive cannabis market, TJ's combines weed with another highly consumed Portland stimulant: coffee.
Opposite the shelves of brightly lit flower, the in-house coffee bar serves a lineup of classic espresso drinks and hemp-derived CBD coffee and tea to neighborhood patrons and daily commuters. During our visit, it looked as if the coffee bar was more popular than the dispensary. After all, picking up a fresh cup of coffee alongside some quality bud seemed a no-brainer that is, for some strange reason, only now coming to fruition. Considering Portland's obsession with both substances, the only surprise is that someone didn't combine a cannabis dispensary with a coffee shop sooner.
TJ's just capitalizes on a fresh idea that's hardly outside the box. When asked why they chose to pair a coffee bar with a cannabis dispensary, multiple employees resoundingly replied, "Why not?"
TJ's represents a growing trend in Oregon's cannabis industry. Rather than succumb to plunging flower prices amid Oregon's cannabis surplus, the chain has found a way to tweak the dispensary status quo only slightly but rather successfully. The idea is simple: Sell good weed and serve good coffee. TJ's succeeds at both.
GO: TJ's on Powell is at 7827 SE Powell Blvd., visittjs.com. 8 am-9:30 pm daily.