Journey into the world of SpaceBuds the Dispensary, which is on a mission to save the galaxy with top-flight cannabis and out-of-this-world customer service.
Since opening in the final quarter of 2017, SpaceBuds the Dispensary has attracted the cool and conscious of Eugene, Oregon. Some call them Eugene’s own Jedi; others say they are the “original hippies.” Either way, the group has embraced SpaceBuds the Dispensary with open arms and minds.
The journey begins as consumers emerge from an unassuming house and into the lobby, which is modeled after an Edwardian London back-alley theater replete with a Dr. Who Tardis. Cherry-red movie theater seats dot the space, the walls are exposed brick, and the windows are covered with heavy, red-velvet curtains. A vintage popcorn machine glows in the corner. Employees wear black T-shirts with a yellow SpaceBuds blaze splashed like a movie logo on their chests. They smile a lot. Once checked in, patients enter an out-of-this-world bud room, where they are greeted by a budtender with “intergalactic knowledge.” Each knows the large selection of strains, concentrates, and edibles inside and out, upside and down, almost as though they have been fitted with a brain implant.
Working replica Star Trek doors grace the far wall, and dim, backlit control panels add to the atmosphere. The founders had a clear mission: Open a dispensary combining their two greatest passions, cannabis and sci-fi.
“We felt that since science fiction stems from many of the ‘what ifs’ associated with inventions, ideas, and concerns about the state and direction of our societies and technologies, we’d create an environment that not only paid tribute but also would be a catalyst for herbal knowledge,” co-founder Michael Green said.
The design process began with 3D mockups and elaborate blueprints. Green and his partner were determined to build a shop that was different from any other in the crowded Eugene market.
Imagine Lord of the Rings, the original Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Spaceballs all came together in Star Wars’s Death Star, complete with a steampunk arsenal and memorabilia from the entertainment industry. Encase all of that inside an inter-dimensional bubble, and you’d have SpaceBuds the Dispensary.
“Some people might think it’s overboard,” Green said. “But in a world where citizens are having a hard time distinguishing one dispensary from the next, the risk to stand out and follow our passion seems to be paying off so far.”
Prior to launching SpaceBuds the Dispensary, Green, 34, owned and operated a medical shop in Los Angeles before moving to Eugene, where he managed a local dispensary. While there, he saw an opportunity not available in L.A., where tax and regulatory structures remain in perpetual flux. Investing in branding and expanding a shop in the City of Angels was a crap shoot, because new ordinances suddenly could turn businesspeople from tax-paying retailers into targets for local law enforcement or the Drug Enforcement Administration. Oregon, on the other hand, provided a clear and comprehensive pathway for current and future operations, so he felt the state was a great place to land the mothership.
“After taking a position of director of operations for a struggling Eugene dispensary that won best dispensary of Eugene in 2016, I decided it was time to open my own place again,” said Green. “I spoke with a very close friend who was interested in getting involved because he lost someone close to him at an early age. He believes if marijuana had a been an option, [his friend] may not have died. Together, we knew we had the resources, passion, and experience to bring SpaceBuds the Dispensary to fruition.”
Green proudly presides over ten hand-picked staff. He believes in hands-on training and promoting from within. At SpaceBuds, the days blur and whirl by at light speed. Green is an early morning,late night creature, robotically monitoring new vendors, compliance issues, and menu maintenance while he gels a new staff, marketing budgets, social media, community events, and more.
“You know what they say,” he said. “If you love what you do, you never really work a day in your life.”
When he does try to get some sleep, one thing devils him: 26 U.S. Code § 280E, the Internal Revenue Service’s ever-present reminder marijuana is still a Schedule I drug.
“And strong sativas tend to keep me from sleeping,” he added.
Despite its name, SpaceBuds isn’t all about flower. As the dosage issues in Oregon slowly are ironed out, the edibles market is beginning to take off. “As more and more consumers become aware of the variety of ways to consume marijuana, the demand continues,” said Green.
How have the city and state responded to SpaceBuds landing in their backyard?
“The state has been wonderful to work and live in, and we are very excited,” said Green. “SpaceBuds will do its best to keep Eugene weird and educated when it comes to retail cannabis.”
SpaceBuds the Dispensary | 741 Lincoln Street, Eugene, Oregon, 97401 | (541) 505-9834 | @spacebudsdispensary