Cannabis Expert Mss Oregon Tells WW What Makes Three of Her Favorite Dispensaries Stand Out

In Portland, there’s a pot shop in just about every neighborhood, but what makes a dispensary worth seeking out? Turns out, it’s not all about deep discounts.

Aside from affordable weed, what makes a dispensary worth visiting?

In Portland, there’s a pot shop in just about every neighborhood, and many of them have great daily deals, smiling budtenders and glistening interiors. But deep discounts and a glossy sheen can sometimes distract from what is a less than exemplary business behind the scenes. The onus is on us, consumers, to support shops that work to create an equitable and diverse industry rather than exclusively visiting vendors with the most outrageous deals.

That’s not to suggest Portland’s overall retail weed scene is anything less than stellar. In fact, states that have recently legalized recreational cannabis often cite our dispensary culture as a model worth replicating. But the field is crowded, and not every shop in the metro area is living up to the unofficial Oregon Standard, so we reached out to cannabis expert, event coordinator and weed luminary Mss Oregon in advance of her upcoming and highly anticipated 4/20 party, Recess, to find out what makes a dispensary great.

Club Sky High

8975 N Lombard St., 503-719-5801, 9 am-9 pm daily.

Two factors that make a dispensary stand out, according to Mss Oregon, are “keeping a diverse team of employees” and “strong management who are fun, knowledgeable and can educate their staff and customers about the plant.”

Club Sky High, which has served St. Johns for nine years, meets both of those standards, while staying true to its medicinal roots and evolving to serve a recreational customer base. To ensure quality, its product is grown outdoors in Southern Oregon and indoors in its North Portland warehouse, which also serves as a processing facility. The family-owned enterprise works to foster community as an active member of the St. Johns Boosters, a nonprofit that supports local businesses, and holds an annual drive for the Oregon Food Bank. Pro tip: Check out the housemade moon rocks, nugs soaked in extracts and dusted with kief. They are legit legendary.

Mongoose Cannabis Co.

3123 SE Belmont St., 541-933-8032, 10 am-9 pm daily.

What makes Mongoose unique is its quintessential boutique vibe, walk-up window and dog-friendly sales floor. But beyond offering an exemplary customer experience, the business takes care of its employees by encouraging internal career growth and prioritizing a safe workplace (one employee described the shop as “free from toxic masculinity.”) Mongoose also supports diversity in the industry by sourcing cannabis from BIPOC- and women-owned farms.

Husband-and-wife owners Deb and Chuck Grant have lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years and opened the store as a way to keep the small-business environment alive in the ever-developing area. “The mongoose stands up to the cobra, and the cobra is like big business,” says Deb Grant in reference to a decal next to the walk-up window.

Trees Dispensary

1234 NE 102nd Ave., 503-384-2959, Noon-8:55 pm daily.

“My personal favorite dispo is Trees on 102nd and Northeast Halsey,” says Mss Oregon. Strain hunters will likely appreciate where she’s coming from. Trees, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it storefront in a WinCo Foods parking lot, has a super-affordable, curated flower menu as well as a savvy budtending staff with a solid knowledge base about the products that they’re more than happy to share with customers.

Trees is a multistate operation, with two brick-and-mortars in Portland and one in Colorado, but the eastside location is our go-to thanks to its easy-to-navigate sales floor and quality selection. For those seeking rare cultivars along with exceptional advice, check out this shop the next time you need to make a grocery run.

GO: Mss Oregon’s Recess 4.20 takes place at Rainbow City, 21 SE 11th Ave., 971-212-2097, 2-6 pm Wednesday, April 20. $10-$20.