First Pendleton marijuana shop aims to break negative stigma

Kind Leaf dispensary is hoping to break stigmas with their new dispensary façade scheduled to open doors Saturday.

Kind Leaf will also be the first legal marijuana shop in Pendleton and one former Pendleton police officer and Umatilla County Sheriff's deputy was part of its development.

"I would be very happy and very pleasantly surprised it’s not just stringing about like oh yea this is a pot shop lets go in here and get crazy that’s not what you see here," Former Pendleton police officer and Umatilla County Sheriff's deputy and co-owner of Kind Leaf Dispensary James English said.

He quit a few years ago to pursue construction, then became part of Pendleton's first marijuana shop.

However, he knew his decision to be a marijuana shop co-owner could come with stigma.

"I had to think about myself being in this industry, I thought about the brothers and sisters that I served with over the last decade," English added.

English says that's why he helped build the more classy, informative and controlled environment of Kind Leaf in the center of town.

"Thats our main base, to educate people and see what we can do and where we can go with this product," English continued.

Kind Leaf is a place to learn and purchase but not consume, however, the four thousand square foot facility is already creating a buzz. 

"I think because it’s the first one it’s going to break a lot of stigmas once it’s up and going. Tomorrow is going to be huge, they are going to have a huge turnout," Pendleton resident Jessi Peterson said.

However, one anonymous neighboring business owner is concerned about the shops customers.

"The stigma around marijuana is that it is negative and it could deter some of my business because my clientele may not want to be seen in this parking lot as it may be considered that they are supporting it," the anonymous business owner said.

Whereas English says the Kind Leaf environment is something the public shouldn’t worry about.

"We've provided you with all the information that we can, it’s all state approved and scientifically tested," English concluded. 

Several other shops are set to open this year, and Kind Leaf will be open Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm.

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