'Budding' businesses give Sandy Boulevard a new nickname

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Americanna, Deanz Greenz, Evergreen Medicinals and Panacea. All these shops sell medical marijuana, but that's not the only thing they have in common, they're all on Sandy Boulevard.

The number of stores on Sandy has earned a stretch of the road the nickname, "The Green Mile."

Melissa Egan opened her store, Panacea, on April 20. She knows how lucky she was to find a retail space.

"The landlords were getting over 30 phone calls a day for the space because it's on Sandy and it's a type of space that would probably rent to marijuana," Egan said.

But she stood out from the rest. She donates a portion of her profits to help find affordable housing for LGBT seniors, something that appealed to her landlords. She knows many other would-be pot shop owners aren't as lucky as she was.

"It's very hard. Sometimes it takes us a week to find a space. Sometimes it takes us two months to find a space," Lathan Gorbett said.

Gorbett and Zack Stratford know just how hard it is to find the perfect spot, so they started their own company to help retailers do just that.

"You see them everywhere (on) almost every corner, so it's pretty difficult," Stratford said.

Just eight months after they launched, they're so busy they have to turn away potential customers.

They say Sandy Boulevard is so popular because there're not many schools around -- shops need to be at least 1,000 feet from all schools -- and there's a lot of retail space.

So they expect even more shops like Egan's to open up along this busy street especially as Oct. 1 approaches. That's when medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to sell pot to recreational users.

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