For Amy Mellen, getting high wasn’t about maximizing an experience at Taco Bell. It was an effort to turn her life around.
After a near fatal car accident in 2006, Mellen had become addicted to a myriad of painkillers. In 2014, she decided to turn over a new leaf (literally) and give medical cannabis a go. One Draw Two (ONE DRAW TWO) was the first dispensary that resonated with her, and it had some dramatic effects on her personal life: medical marijuana managed her physical tics, reversed her Type 2 diabetes in two months, eliminated her opioid addiction, and allowed her to go back to work for the first time in years.
When Mellen discovered One Draw Two, in early 2015, it was a fresh face on the medical marijuana scene, having opened Dec. 1, 2014. This last December, it hit its three-year mark. Much like Mellen’s journey to find the right fix for coping with her chronic pain, One Draw Two has also seen its fair share of trial and error.
Initially, One Draw Two was planned as a headshop, and then it morphed into a hybrid: half head shop (focused on pipes and tobacco), half dispensary. Owner Joe Kahl was no stranger to the neighborhood, having grown up in the area in a large family. Still, he made for a fish out of water when it came to running a pot shop. His previous gig was owning Kahl’s Carpet Fashions, a floor covering store at 10246 N.E. Halsey Street. “There’s so much with the regulations. There’s a lot more there than what we thought. It’s a lot to watch for and a lot more competition. The competition didn’t bother me, but it was about finding the right vendors. You have to know the benefits of the product. If I hadn’t brought in some key people with experience in the industry, I would have struggled a lot longer,” says Kahl.
One Draw Two suffered another setback after a boom in business following Measure 91’s legalization of recreational marijuana was put into place with dispensaries selling to anybody in October 2016.
The High Times magazine reports that as of October 2017, Oregon had raked in $85 million dollars in its first year of selling pot for non-medical purposes. Comparatively, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) reports on its website that Oregon made $465.2 million in revenue during the 2015 to 2017 biennium for spirits sales, taxes on beers and wine, license fees and other miscellaneous alcohol-related costs.
On Jan. 1, 2017, Oregon came out with new regulations for recreational dispensaries, and One Draw Two had to cease recreational sales until an inspection, which took three months and cost Kahl large swaths of business. Since then, One Draw Two has mostly bounced back, with recreational sales reappearing.
Yet Kahl continues to pride himself on his patients. He began using marijuana himself after a car accident that left him with a broken back, like Mellen, when he was 20.
“People come in here for all kinds of ailments,” says Kahl. “How [marijuana has] healed them and made their lives so much better: that’s the best part. There really are benefits, and it’s about learning what elements or parts help certain ailments, like cancer or pain. To see how it’s made people’s lives better is the most rewarding part of it, and it’s made me want to learn more. I like to ask, ‘How can you help more people?’”
The modus operandi of helping the community and giving back has not been lost on clients like Mellen—or staff like Luke McKinney. He’s worked with One Draw Two for about two and a half years. “My favorite thing about ODT is the fact that we get a little bit of everyone in the shop, and no matter who comes in, we take the time to find out your individual needs, then ensure that we match you up with the best product for you. Our staff is easygoing and full of knowledge about cannabis. We are all too happy to guide,” says McKinney, who is now part of the shop’s operations.
Mellen relocated to Maryland since getting hooked on One Draw Two, but she still visits every time she’s in town. She even dedicated an Aug. 6 Facebook post (from Maryland) to show her gratitude for One Draw Two’s generous staff. She writes, “Not only did I learn much from each budtender I worked with, but they all learned from me, too. I remember Matt messaging me one day after I had moved to Maryland. He said ‘Amy, I have a patient standing in front of me who struggles with tics, too. What was it we found helpful for you?’ Now this is how a dispensary should be, always educating themselves and wanting to learn and help their patients. The crew asked me every day how my meds were working or if there was anything we needed to tweak.”
Indeed, One Draw Two has provided many opportunities to pay their success forward to the larger community. Even those who don’t smoke weed have benefitted. “We’re doing a toy drive for kids, and we’re raising money for their school supplies,” says Kahl. “A group of us pitch in and buy food, cook it and go to a homeless shelter once a month to feed 150 to 200 people. Half of them are 18 or younger. We’ve been given an opportunity to have a good life. You have to give back.”
Kahl bought One Draw Two’s building to help run the dual shop with his sister Sandra.
“I grew up in a really close family. My father was in business with his brothers,” explains Kahl. “I personally would never have opened a pipe and tobacco shop, but [my sister] had experience working for a big type of tobacco shop here, and she felt that it was something she really wanted to do.”
Upon first buying the building, Kahl describes the space as having been a “shell” with plumbing hanging out of the walls. But soon after purchasing the space, Kahl was able to build out the shop the way he wanted it. In 2018, he plans on building it out even more. “What we’re going to do is we’re going to open up a hemp shop next door. There are a lot of medical benefits of hemp, and there are a lot of products with CBT [cannabidiol], lube, beauty products,” says Kahl. “We’ll sell a variety of glass products. We’re going to reopen next door, and we’re going to have educational functions next door once or twice a month where we can bring a vendor who can talk about the effects [of different products] and teach budtenders.”
Now, Kahl and his sister are waiting for their architect to finish up the plans, then Kahl will have to have the plans reviewed and approved by the OLCC––which he remarks is backed up now––and then they will go to the city, so he can receive the proper building permit. Then, of course, there’s the building part.
In the meantime, Kahl remains optimistic for a timely turnaround. “Four months from now, we’ll be operating, I’m guessing.”
Visit One Draw Two at 11711 Northeast Halsey St. or visit their website at www.onedrawgallery.net.