New dispensary gets 96K grant for apprenticeship program

View Comments Green Hop, the first ever hip hop pot shop, opens doors in North Portland on Saturday, June 16.

Local officials and statewide dignitaries hailed the opening of a new marijuana dispensary in North Portland as a welcomed step for African Americans too often locked out of economic opportunities.

“This is more than a store. It’s a representation of equity,” said Karanja Crews, co-owner of the Green Hop pot shop located at 5515 N.E. 16th Avenue, during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, June 16.

“I grew up in this neighborhood, when no one wanted to live in this neighborhood,” Crews continued. “When you see me, don’t say welcome to the neighborhood. Say welcome back.”

Saturday marked what would have been the 47th birthday of the late rapper Tupac Shakur — an appropriate date for an event billed as opening of the world’s first hip hop dispensary. The space is festooned with vinyl records by “2Pac” as well as Nas, Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest.

Freshly coated in green paint and yellow trim, the two-story craftsman home in the Vernon neighborhood has been restyled with signs promising “420” deals and an apparent “Garden of Weeden” inside the storefront just a half-block from Northeast Killingsworth Street.

A menu promises $1 pre-rolls and $3 grams of cannabis — rock bottom prices that have become common across Portland as the market wobbles with unprecedented overproduction.

Many politicians praised the entrepreneurial spirit of Green Hop’s two young African American co-founders, Crews and nurse and teacher Nicole Kennedy, for fighting against the current of gentrification and racial discrimination.

“Less than one percent of this industry — that’s going to be larger than the NFL in five years — is African American,” noted Rep. Earl Blumenauer. “Nothing makes me

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