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Medical pot shop rolls up new storefront

The Human Collective II moves across county line.


by: JAIME VALDEZ - The new Human Collective will operate exactly like its predecessor, dispensing up to an ounce of medical marijuana to members in prescription bottles.Less than a five-minute drive from its former home on Pacific Highway, The Human Collective is back in business.

Tucked behind a retail building on Southwest Barbur Boulevard, there are no large signs or promotional materials advertising it, just a small paper sign hung on the door that reads, “The Human Collective II.”

by: JAIME VALDEZ - The Human Collective offers an assortment of medical marijuana for patients who need to take the edge off chronic pain, said store owner Leslie Miller.One month after county authorities shut down a medical marijuana dispensary in Tigard, the new Human Collective will run exactly like its predecessor, said new director Leslie Miller, a former patient and volunteer at the old dispensary.

The only difference is this time it’s moved across the county line into Multnomah County, out of reach of Washington County sheriff’s deputies.

The shop opened its doors Monday, and Miller said she hopes to see the organization get back on its feet.

“After they closed, people were calling asking, ‘Are you reopening? Are you going to be there for us? Where do I get my medicine now?’” Miller said. “This is too important. We need this.”

The Human Collective, or THC, was well-known as a place for medical marijuana cardholders to get access to cannabis before county authorities shut it down in September.

Miller, 50, who suffers from fibromyalgia, said she was devastated when the shop was forced to close its doors.

“It was the thing that kept me going,” she said.

Miller said she knew the store should reopen as soon as possible and took over the organization to bring it back from the dead.

“I have nothing to lose. I’m poor as a church mouse,” she said. “The only thing I can lose is my freedom, and while that’s important to me, so is changing the face of medical marijuana.”

Technically, medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal in Oregon, but THC doesn’t take any profit from the sales of marijuana, Miller said. Any costs for the drugs go back to the growers to reimburse them for the costs of production, which is allowed under state law.

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Leslie Miller, 50, of Beaverton, fills a prescription for a customer at the new home for The Human Collective on Barbur Boulevard. The store was shut down by the Washington County Sheriffs Office last month. Miller reopened it Monday in Multnomah County.“We’re temporary storage,” Miller said. “We don’t profit from it. There is no sale of marijuana happening in this facility, nor was there in the other facility. We are so careful to stay within the letter of the law.”

Washington County sheriff’s officials claimed the group was anything but above board, inflating the prices of the drug to make more than $1.7 million in sales during the past year and violating the program by having growers supply the collective, rather than growing for specific medical marijuana cardholders.

Miller said the Tigard location never broke the law. She has no plans to do anything differently at the new store. A year membership to THC costs $365, and members can purchase up to an ounce of marijuana a week.

Whatever could be salvaged from the old site, such as shelves and computer equipment, was donated to the new store.

“The patients need their medicine regardless of whether or not Washington County wants to split a hair on interpretation,” Miller said.

Miller said she knew right away that the store would need to reopen outside of Washington County.

“(Sheriff’s deputies) have made their position very, very clear,” Miller said. “We knew that we couldn’t stay in Washington County, so we looked for something as close to the county line as possible to meet the patient needs out there.”

Multnomah County is widely seen as a friendlier place for marijuana dispensaries, with several dozen operating across the county.

“They don’t condone it, but they also have more important things to do,” Miller said.

Multnomah County officials have said repeatedly that the county’s focus is on stopping violent crime and more serious drug-related offenses.

Miller believes The Human Collective is operating within the law. However, she fears her operation might be shut down.

“There is always going to be that little bit of worry,” she said. “It would be foolish to not be concerned.”

The store reopened less than a week before the Nov. 6 general election, where Oregonians will vote whether or not to legalize the sale of marijuana through state-run dispensaries similar to THC.

Edit: This story was updated Nov. 2. The article incorrectly stated Leslie Miller's title as "owner" of The Human Collective, when her actual title is "director."



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