Gold Hill, Ore — After a hard fight for public support and city permission the first medical marijuana dispensary in the Rogue Valley is celebrating 5 years in business.
“I didn’t know it was going to be such a big deal, that’s why if I ever write a memoir, I’ll be an accidental activist,” said Brie Malarkey, founder of Breeze Botanicals in Gold Hill.
5 years ago Malarkey had a dream to open a shop in Gold Hill that provided medicinal herbs and plants in Southern Oregon, the first of its kind.
“We’re going to incorporate lots of medicinal herbs, including but not limited to cannabis,” Malarkey said.
That’s where the controversy arose for Malarkey’s business, Breeze Botanicals.
“Literally I had people standing up at city council meetings, shaking their fist at us, and telling us that crime would go up, people would be driving drugged, it was a lot of fear,” she said.
The reaction to Malarkey’s business so severe, it led to 4 recall elections of city councilors.
Recall efforts that ultimately failed.
“Really took it as a challenge to prove to people that here at Breeze Botanicals we could run a really great store, and yeah one of the main products is cannabis but we could retail it responsibly.”
5 years later Malarkey says Breeze Botanicals has become part of the community, a community that’s grown to accept them as well.
“There’s been so many changes, I remember back then people being so afraid, but now some of those same people have come into our business and thanked us for being here.”
Since the store opened Malarkey says the Gold Hill location has raised tens of thousands of dollars for education and public safety in Gold Hill through taxes, jobs and community outreach.
The Breeze Botanicals location in Gold Hill is celebrating the 5-year anniversary with an event featuring the dispensary and other locally owned businesses on Saturday from 12pm to 5pm.