PORTLAND -- The sign on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard reads, “Kaya Shack Coming Soon,” and it had neighbor Dan crates wondering, “Something to do with kayaks?”
No kayaks in the space opening Thursday but there is plenty of pot.
“This is a medical marijuana dispensary and kaya is a hipster term from the ‘50s which means marijuana,” explained CEO Craig Frank.
Frank has a vision for a chain of Kaya Shacks, all with the same design, décor and menu.
“We want to be the Starbucks of medical marijuana,” he said. Store manager Lori Brown will help patients with a prescription card select from 18 varieties, all grown in Oregon.
“I know which strains work good in place of painkillers," she said. "I myself got off seven medications and it has changed my life.”
For the business to succeed, the owners say they need 70 to 100 patients a day.
“These are people with arthritis, cancer, insomnia and many other ailments,” explained Brown.
It’s the first publicly traded company to own a medical marijuana dispensary,
“The response has been tremendous. We’ve had 2,000 new investors since January,” commented consultant Dave Jones.
The company has plans to open two more Kaya Shacks in Portland and then two to three additional locations in other Oregon cities. Then they’ll look to expand nationwide.
“It’s an industry whose time has come,” Jones concluded.