“Any business that comes into a community has to be a good neighbor and that’s all we want,” said Colene Martin, president and chief executive officer of the Grants Pass and Josephine County Chamber of Commerce.
In the 2017 Local Business survey, the chamber asked businesses whether the marijuana industry was helping or hurting them. Forty-two percent of the 70 businesses surveyed found it had a positive impact on them.
Jan Bertaggia who owns Wild Rogue Emporium in downtown Grants Pass agreed.
“I’m actually liking it because it brings in work for a lot of people in this community,” she said. “They go work on the farms and they move on. I love that because they’re shoppers just like everybody else.”
The manager of another business, Sublime Vapor, located near a downtown dispensary says it’s bringing in customers.
“Our sales personally have gotten better since we have a dispensary that just moved in down the corner,” said Noah Massa. “It’s been a huge positive impact on everything around here.”
We spoke to several local companies who aren’t fans of the marijuana industry, but didn’t want to go on camera. Thirty-eight percent of the business surveyed said they viewed it unfavorably.
Martin says many are upset because they’re losing quality employees to the burgeoning industry.
“Actually 71 percent of our businesses said employee hiring is a very difficult thing in this area,” said Martin.
While it may be hard for some to compete against the big money offers at some businesses, Martin hopes that all the businesses can work together to continue growing the local economy.