Grass not always greener: Pot bust publicity hurts innocent shop

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Dominic Grasseth started hearing about "The Greener Side" 4 or 5 times a day last March when people would call his garden supply store "The Greener Side of Life" and ask about buying marijuana.

Then police raided "The Greener Side" and charged the staff with distributing drugs by illegally selling medical marijuana in violation of Oregon law.

The story of the dispensary takedown took Grasseth's business with it.

"Having a store that specifically, blatantly sells marijuana and then takes most of my name is just causing me grief, great grief," said Grasseth, who has owned The Greener Side of Life for three years. "Just within a day or so of that story coming out, our walk-in traffic has just taken a dive by 50 to 60 percent probably. I mean, it's been a pretty legitimate hit, and it was just right after, so I don't really have anything else to attribute it to."

He has since called his attorney and is going to try to get the dispensary to change its name.

A representative for The Greener Side said they were unaware of the existence of The Greener Side of Life and referred the reporter to the store's attorney.

Grasseth is uncertain about how to weather the downturn in his business.

"Kind of painful scenario where I'm like jeeze I hope I can make it through what's left of my lease at this rate, pay for my house payment and that kind of thing," Grasseth said.

Meanwhile, he wants people to know: The Greener Side of Life isn't about marijuana. He even has a sign on the door that says "we will not assist anyone in the cultivation of marijuana, medical or not."

"We strive really hard to keep anything that has to do with marijuana out of here so that everybody's safe," Grasseth said. "People who come in and they're just trying to do gardening in their backyard, they don't want to come in and deal with people who are trying to grow marijuana."