The Green Planet, a small chain of marijuana retail dispensaries with stores in Milwaukie, King City and Beaverton, hopes to open their newest — and long-awaited — location between Canby and Aurora very soon, perhaps as early as next week.
One twist: The dispensary will not be selling cannabis. At least, not at first. Instead, its business will be cannibidiol, or CBD oil and products, a federally legal derivative of hemp that contains no psychoactive chemicals.
Cannabidiol is a popular natural remedy touted for many common ailments, and a booming growth segment right now in the crowded marketplace for natural home and health products. You can find CBD in everything from hand lotion to soda pop.
The Green Planet, which is located in the former Top O Hill restaurant on Highway 99E, is turning to CBD to generate some income while they await OLCC clearance and licensing to sell recreational marijuana.
Contrary to rumors, Milwaukie resident Miranda Murray says The Green Planer’s opening was delayed, not because of county zoning issues, but because of the sudden and unexpected death of one of the company’s three owners: her husband, Justin West.
“We suffered a huge loss this last summer of one of the founders to a terminal illness,” Murray said. “It has taken a toll on our ability to stand back up and push forward. But as time has passed, I have found some momentum again, and I’m back in the game.”
Justin West’s death on July 16 was, obviously, a huge blow to Murray and their family, as well as The Green Planet Inc.
“Personally, he was a great father to our three children, my best friend in life, my loving husband of almost 20 years, and a huge key to the company’s success,” she said. “It’s been six months since my world shifted. But, with great friends and wonderful coworkers, we are getting back on track.”
The Green Planet’s completed application to transform the longtime diner and restaurant into a dispensary was received by the county in November 2017, which pushed the 150-day deadline for action in the case to — not kidding — April 20 of the following year.
Not ones to drag their feet, county planning staff actually approved the application several months early, in January of 2018 — more than two years ago. But, as Murray explained, the historic building needed a lot of work.
“It was a complete overhaul, going from a restaurant to an open floor plan,” she said. “We have to thank our wonderful construction crew. They put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears to renovate, and yet maintain the building as is.”
Murray said all three Green Planet owners grew up in the Oregon City and Canby areas and feel “a sense of pride” in having the opportunity to open a business in their hometowns.
“We all had eaten at the restaurant with our families growing up,” she said of Top O Hill, which closed after 90 years in business, when the then-owner retired in 2016.
The current building was constructed in the 1940s, according to land records. Green Planet purchased the 1.14 acre property for approximately $600,000.
“The location appealed to us because we want to provide the service to people who live outside of the heavily saturated cities and want the more ‘quiet’ life,” Murray said. “We are hoping to serve people who normally would have to drive all the way to another city just to get their desired products.”
She says they hope to do a soft open “very soon” in anticipation of a much larger grand opening, which has not yet been scheduled.
“Most likely next week though,” she added. “Fingers and toes crossed!”