Jim Hoyt had been in construction most of his life but at about the age of 50 he decided he wanted a change, something that could help the community.

So in 2000, Hoyt joined the Winston Police Department as a reserve officer. Hoyt worked as a patrol officer for four years, but his life would change profoundly again when he was stricken with cancer.

Cannabis was a major factor in beating the disease, and Hoyt saw it as a way to help other people.

In March of 2014, Hoyt and a partner opened a pipe store at 2576 NE Stephens St. in Roseburg. They were waiting for the city to allow medical cannabis, and when the city did in November of that year, they opened the 420 Club. It was the first legal cannabis store in Douglas County. Hoyt took over full ownership of the store in 2017.

“Our Roseburg location was chosen at the time because Roseburg was the only city at the time that would at least come to the table for the conversation,” he said. “Our first dispensary was on the second floor of our current location. We decided fast that we had to buy the building we were in and eventually move our dispensary to the bottom floor, as we had many medical patients that could not access our upstairs location.”

In 2017 Hoyt finalized the purchase of the building, and by March of 2018, 420 Club had its 2,500 square-foot dispensary licensed and was ready to go.

“It is an extremely competitive business but a good one,” Hoyt said. “It will get better when the federal government changes the laws, which will allow dispensaries to have bank accounts, and will change unfair tax laws. Now, dispensaries are considered an illegal business and do not receive tax write-offs and can only claim the cost of the product they sell.”

Hoyt also said the industry could help local communities financially. For example, when the county allows commercial farms and stores to operate it should generate millions of dollars in annual revenue, he said. Currently the vast majority of taxes collected from cannabis goes to the state, with cities getting a small portion of the revenue.

“To think that the county does not receive one penny of the money the industry generates is terrible,” Hoyt said.

As far as tips for those visiting a dispensary for the first time, Hoyt said start small and rely on the budtender — tell them why you have chosen to use cannabis and they will help narrow down products for you.

Also, don’t be embarrassed or reluctant to ask questions.

“There is no such thing as a dumb question. We want you to use the products successfully,” Hoyt said. “We find ourselves having to navigate a lot of old reefer madness nonsense, but we’re in this together … I like to think that our store is a friendly, safe place where people can come not only to get product but get answers on how cannabis can help them, including safe and responsible use.”

Hoyt said it’s difficult to forecast where 420 Club and the industry as a whole will be in five years. The industry will improve as people become more educated about the product and how it will help people with responsible use, he said. Hoyt also predicted that rules imposed on dispensaries that raise the cost of operation will ease, making it easier to remain in business and resulting in lower prices for the consumer.

“If I were to think positively, I would like to see a United States that has fair and sensible cannabis regulation on a federal level,” he said. “Brokers from Oregon flying to New York to work deals on bringing our beautiful craft Oregon grade A cannabis to dispensaries far and wide.”

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

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