Hotbox Farms, one of Oregon’s largest marijuana dispensaries, is a name to remember as many states near recreational legalization for marijuana. Started by high school friends, Steven Meland and Jeremy Breton, Hotbox Farms is a vertically integrated cannabis company located in Ontario, Oregon. Their story is not just a great example of how far great entrepreneurship can go, but also the positive impact dispensaries can have on communities.
It all started with Breton’s passion for growing cannabis. Although recreational use was not quite legalized in Oregon, Breton was growing for the medical industry until he decided he wanted to start growing cannabis for personal use. At a time when Oregon was inching closer to legalizing marijuana for non-medical cultivation, Breton contacted Meland for help to get full credentials to be able to sell legally. By 2016, the duo received all licenses, and HotBox was launched, becoming one of the first dispensaries to get licensed for recreational marijuana in the state of Oregon.
When first preparing to open up the dispensary, both Breton and Meland wanted to get as close to the Idaho border. They settled on Huntington, Oregon, a small town with only a population of 353 people at the time. However, before Hotbox could officially open its doors, the people of Huntington were to vote on whether the town wanted to permit dispensaries. The result was a dead tie and the winning vote went to the mayor, who luckily voted yes.
Hotbox was one of two dispensaries allowed near the Idaho border and was able to serve a population of around 1,000,000 people, with “1,200 to 1,500 people lining up each day.” Soon enough, HotBox became one of Oregon’s highest grossing dispensaries. The company brought in 3% tax for the local city, and helped the city earn $1.2 million in tax revenue, increasing their initial operating budget.
In Ontario, Oregon, a town closer to the Idaho border with 10,000 people, started seeing the tax revenue Huntington earned and had their own vote to allow dispensaries in their town. The town voted yes, and Hotbox Farms moved from Huntington to Ontario. To celebrate their new location, the Hotbox team wanted to come to the new town “with a bang,” by doing something memorable for the community that would make them “stand out from the rest of the dispensaries.” They organized a customer appreciation concert and booked rapper Snoop Dogg to perform, drawing thousands of people to their grand opening.
The launch of Hotbox Ontario was just another milestone for the company. Although owners Breton and Meland started with no experience, their hard work and perseverance are truly what keeps them going, as they constantly challenge themselves with a “relentless pursuit for perfection.” By always working on bettering themselves, they always find themselves headed in the right direction. One important lesson that they’ve learned is, “As long as you support the community, the community will support you back,” and it is that positive impact that remains one of their biggest motivations.
Hotbox’s future plans include working on developing a framework to be able to expand their presence into states starting to legalize recreational marijuana, while also expanding through Oregon. Their priority to communities is a focus they will not lose.
With the motivation to wake up every day and the passion for what they do, Hotbox also takes great pride in its products. They offer a variety of marijuana-infused products that include pain lotion and creams, and your typical brownies and cookies. They have become especially creative with infusing THC with sugar, with their sugar-based products including cotton candy, pixie sticks, popsicles, and different flavor gummies (peach-flavored being a very popular choice). Check out their website, especially if you’re from Oregon since they ship their products only in-state.
Currently operating successfully in Ontario, it’s great to see how far “two guys in a garage that had a dream and an idea” can go.