Weed Hop: The World’s First Hip-Hop Dispensary
That’s right…your fantasy has come true. Marijuana and hip-hop come has ultimately aligned at a dispensary in Northeast Portland.
Karanja Crews and Nicole Kennedy, both Northeast Portland natives, are living out their dream while paying homage to the genre and era they love so profoundly, in the shape of their new rap-themed weed dispensary, Green Hop. The eye-popping bright yellow-and-green-trimmed Victorian house-turned-cannabis-shop is the berth where their aspiration has stemmed.
Hip-Hop Dispensary Is Making Waves
When Crews stumbled upon the opportunity to bring about his new establishment in Northeast Portland’s King locality — a traditionally African-American region named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — he was instantly smacked with a wave of sentiment. Kennedy and Crews view their re-entry to the landmark Albina district as more than emblematic, but as an effort to “purchase back the block.” “It was like — oh wow, I can actually come back to the neighborhood where I used to ride my little dirt bike … and had my first fistfights,” said Crews. “I get to come back to the neighborhood I was systematically displaced out of.”
Green Hop is about a lot more than music, though. Golden-era masterpieces from the likes of Wu-Tang Clan and DJ Kool Herc spin back-to-back with fresher staples like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. Presently, only 1–4% of marijuana dispensaries are controlled by Black entrepreneurs — a figure made more unnerving, Kennedy stresses, by the fact that African-American persons make up roughly 40 percent of weed-related incarcerations.
BBM – Black Businesses Matter
Crews spoke of his crusade: “It’s to show the young people we’re coming back. We’re here to re-invest back into the community we were taken out of.” Crews and Kennedy’s move follows a burgeoning thrust for hip-hop in all its applications to be accepted in Portland as a cogent business vehicle, particularly after a 2015 report concluded the city needed to enhance its fellowship with the hip-hop community after many years of friction. The duo says it was vital for elected officials to perceive their community in order to formulate long term relationships.
Green Hop carries albums by both national and local acts, another salute to the now-inoperative One-Stop records. A passion of local rap is apparent in Green Hop’s weed products, too; in addition to containing locally influenced strains like Albina OG and Killingsworth, Green Hop plots to dub specific strains after its beloved Stumptown wordsmiths. Crews facetiously spoke: “I won’t reveal the names right now…” He sees the establishment as a possible overpass to the national urban music market as their business rises, highlighting domestic talent — which he deems some of the best the art form has to offer.
Green Hop threw a block party in front of the dispensary some time back. World-renowned twain Dead Prez headlined the event, with support from some of the Rose City’s top talent, including Risky Star, Blosson, Fountaine, and “King of the Northwest” somewhat-retired HANIF (b.k.a Luck-One), amongst others. At long last, Green Hop, if you query Crews and Kennedy, is about representation that’s needed gravely. Crews added: “We’re just repping — repping us, and being unapologetic about it.”
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