Cannabis and the Environment

Written by Alexandra Arnett

You may notice a lot of farms throwing around the term ‘sustainable farming’, but what does that actually mean? Sustainability is defined as the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. But is sustainability really sustainable? The purpose of sustainability is to maintain. Maintaining what was already there is simply not enough when looking at the bigger picture. As hard as we may try to maintain, the biodiversity of the planet is still suffering from our actions, thus we must make efforts to restore this biodiversity. Methods such as regenerative farming include taking part in a diverse bioecological system and giving back to the earth. Practices include planting complementary plants alongside your cannabis, growing various crops in the offseason to protect the soil, composting, using natural soil and avoiding chemical additives. Some farms have even been successful in dry farming cannabis plants which means they don’t use supplemental irrigation systems for their plants. Now, in a place like Oregon, this may produce cannabis that ends up molding, but for drier climates, this practice does show some promise.

Regarding “organic” cannabis farming, the USDA actually does not certify any cannabis as organic as it is illegal under federal law. Hemp, on the other hand, can obtain a USDA Organic certification. In an effort to obtain similar “organic” certification for cannabis farms, various organizations have been established that helps to ensure farms follow specific “sustainable” standards. Some of these organizations that work with farms in Oregon include Dragonfly Earth Medicine, Certified-Kind, Sun+Earth Certified and Clean Green Certified. Each organization has different requirements for getting certified and some are more stringent than others in regard to certain farming practices. [The various rules for each are linked above.] There are also a number of farms that make claims about having “organic” practices, but the reality is that we can’t be certain. In addition, everyone has their own idea of what “organic cannabis” looks like. Farms should make an effort to practice regenerative farming methods in order to give back to the earth.

I know we would all like to think that growing cannabis does no harm to the planet. But the reality is that growing cannabis in a way that benefits the environment wholly takes much more effort than simply choosing to grow outdoors. There are three main environments in which cannabis is commercially grown: indoor, outdoor and light-deprivation greenhouse. Some farms just grow cannabis using one of these methods, others may implement multiple methods if accessible. Typically, cannabis plants are grown in soil, either directly in the ground or in a planter pot. However, indoor cannabis growing operations may often use a hydroponic method of growing. Hydroponic growing involves suspending the roots of the plants in buckets of water and a medium such as perlite or coconut fiber.

Out of all the growing methods, outdoor growing is the one that would require the least energy and water. Greenhouse growing methods are also another good choice if you may be dealing with inclement weather for growing cannabis. Indoor growing and hydroponic methods are the most wasteful, in both energy and water consumption, especially when the methods are combined. If you want to choose the best method for the environment, growing cannabis in the earth’s natural soil provides a number of benefits to the earth and uses the sun rather than artificial lighting and energy.

While there is an overall lack of research on the effect indoor cannabis cultivation may be having on the environment, in 2020, one researcher Evan Mills published an in-depth follow-up study to a 2012 paper on cannabis energy use and cost. According to his data, indoor cannabis cultivation produces up to 15 million metric tonnes of CO2 per year and can cost upwards of $6 million a year. To compare this, Oregonians produce around 20 million metric tonnes per year in transportation emissions. However, there are ways to mitigate some of the negative effects of indoor cannabis cultivation there are a few steps that can be taken. Implementing things such as renewable energy sources, LED lighting, reusing water through reverse osmosis and even collecting rainwater for use are all ways indoor cannabis cultivators can help lessen their impact on the environment. 

Let us not forget though that there can be negative effects to the consumer if cannabis is grown in less than ideal environmental conditions. Not only does cannabis pull toxins out of the soil it is grown in, when it is grown outdoors there is a chance for dirt and other allergens to contaminate the plant. Overall, knowing your grow is the most important thing you can do to ensure you are getting the most quality product on the market.

Seth Rogen: Weeds Renaissance Man

featured image pottery by Kaylynn Wohl as inspired by Rogen

Written by Kaylynn Wohl

If anyone champions weed within the celebrity light, it’s Seth Rogen. Since breaking out from his late adolescent role in Freaks and Geeks, we’ve seen him in stoner comedies like Pineapple Express and Superbad with his contagious and blazed whole-bellied chuckle. He step-by-step taught us the ways of the cross joint and gifted us with “Bound 3,” a sensual parody featuring his close friend James Franco. The cannabis community is now witnessing Rogen’s evolutionary creations outside of cinema culture with his new (to the United States) company Houseplant.

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s cannabis lifestyle brand launched two years ago in Canada. With simplicity in mind, they started with three flower strains: sativa strains Pancake Ice (33.32% THC) and Diablo Wind (26.29% THC) and indica strain Pink Moon (26.45% THC). Eighths of an ounce of Houseplant’s strains are suggested at $60 and are currently available in California through delivery services. The strains come in unique aesthetically pleasing containers that accompany info graphics and oversized striking matches. 

“All our strains are named after weather systems like we did with Pineapple Express,” Rogen described in a Twitter thread. 

The ‘house’ aspect of the brand entails weedy house goods from luxury table top lighters, car lighters, vinyl record sets, and even ceramic ashtrays and vases designed by Rogen himself. A triple LP vinyl box set was catered to the individual experiences of sativa, indica and hybrid strains to create a unique sound experience. Each session reflects the beat and vibrations of whatever mood is smoked. Despite the $95 price tag, fans of both Rogen and cannabis have raved with positive reviews. To combat the frequent site crashes and quick product sell outs after the initial launch, Houseplant offered users to enter an email address to be notified with a designated access link that had a 10 minute grace period.  

While Canada legalized cannabis in 2016, the fight continues in the US as acknowledged by the company’s website impact page. Houseplant’s ethics and political standpoints are made clear through deliberate discourse surrounding the environmental impact and the ongoing legal battles within the cannabis industry. Supporting any cannabis company that openly discusses injustices and imbalances within the industry feels just as good as smoking the strains themselves.

“We feel strongly about educating people about cannabis, a plant we love and believe substantially benefits society. We will always use our platform to educate people about the devastating history of the War on Drugs and help end the senseless, racist cannabis laws that, despite progress, still exist today. We won’t stop until every adult in America is able to enjoy cannabis without fear of being labeled a criminal,” reads the Houseplant website. 

In more recent years, fans of Rogen’s acting career have additionally been able to adapt their support towards his artistic pottery endeavors. This stoner’s connection to the herbal earth, fostered by loving cannabis, has expanded through connecting his hands to the earth material of clay. This passion for ceramic art pours over into Rogen’s fans who previously may not have expressed interest in pottery. The global ceramic culture and community benefit from this artist’s teachings of the alchemical world of clay. 

As a fellow ceramicist (or pothead if you will) I have witnessed immense growth in Rogen’s pottery. The evolution of his ashtrays is an inspiring phenomenon where I’ve even created similar pieces out of awe for his clayed mind. His signature style includes a short cup shape ashtray with a two-to-three inch-long tray added to the lip for easy secured display for any stick-shaped smoke. He provides a walk-through on how he creates these pieces on his Instagram, leaving out secrets only other potters can spot. After mastering these designs with over a year’s practice, Rogen has since created molds in order to mass produce his unique ashtray set. Pottery molds for slip casting are created with plaster where liquid clay is poured in then out to create a shell of the desired shape. 

Rogen’s exploration of sculpting bodacious vases and vessels melds with psychedelic glazes in highlighter hues. Required by a deep understanding of raw chemical interactions, some of his colored creations vibrantly replicate heat maps and splattered zombie vomit. Instances where the unglazed portions of the vessel pop with electrifying color are created by wedging oxides into the raw clay body. Rogen’s particular methods have been vaguely shared with his audience while his pottery updates usually only accompany a brief caption of “I made these.”

Aside from all the aforementioned dope shit this Canadian-American cannabis influencer has provided the weed community, Rogen wrote a book called Yearbook which is scheduled to be released in May. This novel is a series of true stories and humorous essays that I imagine will pair excellently with my blunt of Blue Dream. 

Endocannabinoid Deficiency and Cannabis Use Disorder

an opinion piece written by staff writer Alexandra Arnett @calyx.alex

It is my opinion that psychiatrists and psychologists may be misdiagnosing some people who use cannabis with Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD). Now, my argument is not that people cannot misuse cannabis or cannot be addicted to it. Instead, I want to focus on how some symptoms of endocannabinoid deficiency can fit in with the diagnostic profile of Cannabis Use Disorder. It wasn’t until recently that cannabis education for medical and mental health professionals became more common, and maybe even more desirable to those professionals. Let’s start with some basics. Cannabis Use Disorder is defined as having 2 or more of the following symptoms; 

  1. Cannabis is often taken in larger amounts over a longer period than was intended.
  2. There is a persistent desire or insignificant effort to cut down or control cannabis use.
  3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain cannabis, use cannabis or recover from its effects.
  4. Craving or a strong desire or urge to use cannabis.
  5. Recurrent cannabis use resulting in failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home.
  6. Continued cannabis use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of cannabis.
  7. Important social, occupational or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of cannabis use.
  8. Recurrent cannabis use in situations which is physically hazardous.
  9. Cannabis use is continued despite knowledge of having persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problems that are unlikely to have been caused or exacerbated by cannabis.
  10. Tolerance, as defined by either:
    1. A need for markedly increased amounts of cannabis to achieve intoxication and desired effect, or
    2. A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of cannabis.
  11. Withdrawal, as manifested by either:
    1. The characteristic withdrawal symptoms for cannabis, or
    2. A closer related substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Again, I am not saying that cannabis is not addicting or that people don’t misuse it. It is very understandable for criteria such as failing to fulfill major obligations due to your use of cannabis to be cause for a CUD diagnosis. I generally agree with criteria 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9. The reasons I didn’t include 1, 4, and 8 are because I think that they can be easily misinterpreted in sessions, however, they do have standing when paired with other criteria and situations. For criteria 10 and 11, this is where I think endocannabinoid deficiency can provide a different explanation.

Cannabis tolerance is still a new research topic. It is very dependent on one’s own endocannabinoid system, for example, some people have developed a high tolerance in order to function on their dosage of medication. Some doctors may misinterpret this high dosage use of cannabis to indicate the cannabis tolerance is negative. One withdrawal symptom of cannabis is stated to be a lack of appetite, but what if that is the reason you choose to medicate with cannabis? Other withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, depression and irritability, several of the many reasons why people choose to medicate with cannabis in the first place. Therefore, it would make sense that these symptoms would occur when cannabis use is stopped. However, therapists and other mental health professionals often stigmatized the use of cannabis and may misdiagnose their patients, creating a problem that does not exist.

Humans have two major endocannabinoids, anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Research has found that the endocannabinoid system in humans plays a large role in several bodily processes and functions, including ones that occur in the above-mentioned conditions. The purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain homeostasis. When someone is deficient in certain endocannabinoids, this can cause dysregulation of that homeostasis, which in turn may be the possible cause of several conditions and symptoms. Endocannabinoid deficiency has been suggested to be the cause of several types of disorders that before have not been found to have a specific cause. Conditions such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, glaucoma, bipolar disorder, and more have all been suggested to be linked to endocannabinoid deficiency. 

As an example, let us take a brief look at migraines and the endocannabinoid system. From 1843 to 1943 when cannabis was put on Schedule I, cannabis was one of the main treatments for someone suffering from a migraine. While there are limited human clinical trials, the case studies and survey research that have been conducted have shown that cannabis use may help to treat migraines. From the research that has been done, individuals who suffer migraines show decreased anandamide and 2-AG levels. CBD acts via the TRPV1, a specific cannabinoid receptor, and also limits the production of the enzyme fatty acid amidohydrolase (FAAH) which is responsible for the breakdown of anandamide. THC on the other hand activates the CB1 receptors which may help treat migraines by potentially inhibiting the trigeminovascular system which plays a huge role in migraines and headaches. Supplementing with cannabis, THC and CBD can help bring the endocannabinoid system back into homeostasis. 

In addition to phytocannabinoids, there are things that an individual can do to naturally boost the body’s endocannabinoid system. We call these “cannabimimetic agents” and they include activities such as exercising, eating foods, or taking supplements high in Omega-3 fatty acids. 

Activities such as these help to boost your body’s endocannabinoid system without using any part of the cannabis plant. While you may be able to boost your endocannabinoid system without cannabis, there are still many unknowns when it comes to treating things like migraines, fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, and more. If using cannabis helps mediate symptoms than your standard pharmaceuticals, then the concern needs to be focused on researching why cannabis is working to treat that disorder instead of stigmatizing and misdiagnosing patients.

References

Russo E. B. (2016). Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 1(1), 154–165. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0009 

‘Magic Mushrooms’ and drug decriminalization join forces to reconstruct Oregon justice system

words by Kaylynn Wohl, IG @kdizzler

Oregon is the first state to approve the legalization of ‘magic mushrooms’ while also decriminalizing personal possession of all other drugs. Measure 109 allows the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to lead programs by licensed providers to conduct therapy that uses psilocybin-producing mushrooms. Measure 110 decriminalizes previously illegal substances, such as small possessions of heroin, meth, cocaine. By reallocating portions of the state’s cannabis tax revenue, mental health resources are to expand while repositioning the narrative around drug addiction and supporting Oregonians who struggle with substance use disorder. 

Measure 109 does not allow at home manufacturing, consumption or distribution of psilocybin. In therapy sessions, it can treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction and other mental health disorders. Unlike pharmaceuticals which are taken daily with an array of side effects, psilocybin provides “breakthrough therapy” with plant based solutions. 

Drugs including fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, and all others are still illegal to possess, distribute and manufacture. The change lies within Oregonians no longer being jailed for small possessions; instead, they could be cited or fined up to $100, rather than “the existing misdemeanor of one year in prison and a $6,250 fine.” A person can avoid the fine by participating in a health assessment. Large possession amounts and trafficking still remains a criminal offense.

About 58 percent of voters were in favor of Measure 110. This progressive change in legislature addresses a major problem that about one in ten Oregonians struggle with, according to a report released by the Oregon Substance Abuse Disorder Research Committee. About $6 billion is spent annually on addiction through funding policing, jailing and healthcare. Measure 110 mandates expansion of treatment facilities through widening resources partly funded through the state’s cannabis tax revenue. Afterall, jail and prison are not rehabilitation resources.

“My main concern for 110 is really how much it is pulling away from schools and mental health treatment,” said Alexandra Arnett, another staff writer for Green Eugene. “I think it’s unwise to divert funds from either as education and mental health really go hand in hand with steering away from addictions.”

The remaining 42 percent of voters in opposition of Proposition 110 worry about what this means for Oregon schools, which receive about 40 percent of the revenue generated. 

Measure 110 will directly affect people of color within the local criminal justice system. Black people are statistically and systemically more likely to be arrested for drug related offenses, and Measure 110 could benefit racial minorities who are disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. 

Discrimination is always present in the U.S. legal system, particularly within policing. Measure 110 reallocates portions of the police fund into the Drug Treatment and Recovery Services Fund and Addiction Recovery Centers (ARCs), which will offer 24 hour access to care every day of the year starting October 1, 2021.

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, “Nearly 80 percent of people in federal prison and almost 60 percent of people in state prison for drug offenses are black or Latino.” Decriminalizing drug possession could reproportion the representation of arrests and incarceration of people of color. More people will have access to treatment “when law enforcement resources are appropriately redirected to programs that help build healthier communities.”

It is estimated by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commision that Measure 110 will show a decline in over representation of convictions of racial minorities as compared to whites. Specifically, it’s estimated to show a 93.7 percent decline in Black convictions, 82.9 percent for Asians, 94.2 percent for Native Americans and 86.5 percent for Hispanics. 

Measures 109 and 110 join together to reposition the state’s participation in the war on drugs as Oregon continues to prioritize recovery for those who struggle with mental health. 

Is the MORE Act really ‘more’?

written by Alexandra Arnett @calyx.alex

Much of the cannabis community was elated to hear that the House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. I would like to preface this article by stating that the passing of the MORE Act by the House is indeed a momentous victory for the cannabis industry. The Senate, although not likely to pass it, have until the end of 2020 to vote on this legislation. However, the MORE Act is not without some major flaws that could do harm to the industry. In the days following the passage of the MORE Act, many cannabis and social justice advocates began speaking out about the changes that were made to the legislation before it passed the House. Throughout this brief article, I will highlight some of the positives as well as detail some of the flaws within this legislation.

One of the major things about this legislation, if it were to pass, is that it would completely remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This specific amendment to the CSA would be a game-changer for those who are currently conducting or who want to conduct cannabis research. In addition to the removal of cannabis from the CSA, the MORE Act ensures no person will be denied federal public benefits due to cannabis use or past convictions. The protection also extends to immigrants who may use cannabis or have cannabis convictions. The MORE Act also effectively changes how legislation refers to the plant, instead of “marihuana” the term “cannabis” would be used. Another positive aspect of the MORE Act would be the ability of cannabis businesses to work with banks and obtain business loans.

The biggest flaw in this legislation has three parts. The first is that you must be issued a federal permit to run a cannabis business, which can still be denied if the person is or has been involved in violations of federal or state laws related to cannabis. There are no provisions in the bill stating that those with permits issued in legal cannabis states will be automatically accepted. This means a higher cost to business owners who are starting out and another hurdle to jump through for those already running a state legal cannabis business. You can read the particular section here (Sec. 5923 (e)). The second is a particular section regarding the distribution of the Community Reinvestment Grant Program funds. Prior to being passed in the House, the text had a 7th provision in Sec. 3052 (a), which states where the funds must be allocated to help individuals harmed by the War on Drugs. This 7th provision stated, “services to address any collateral consequences that individuals or communities face as a result of the War on Drugs.” The Community Reinvestment Grant Program still provides help for those harmed via job training, reentry services, legal aid, literacy programs, youth programs, and health education programs. However, the War on Drugs systemically harmed many individuals and their communities in more ways than that. It’s also important to note that from the Opportunity Trust Fund, the Attorney General gets 60% while the Community Reinvestment Grant Program gets 40%.

The third major flaw is that the MORE Act does not exactly call for automatic expungements for cannabis crimes as soon as the bill passes. It allows them one year from the date of enactment to order expungements for those convicted in cannabis crimes. You can read this particular section here. While it does allow for those convicted of crimes to petition the court themselves after its enactment, this puts an undue burden on people who may not have the resources to do so. Those currently incarcerated for cannabis crimes still have to go through a sentencing review hearing before they are released. In addition, only non-violent cannabis crimes will be eligible for expungements and sentencing hearings. Now, we are not saying violent crime isn’t a bad thing, but we know all too well how the criminal justice system treats minorities. This is especially true when it comes to drug crimes. 

Now, we must also consider the financial impact on businesses and consumers if the MORE Act were to pass the Senate and be signed into law. With the current legislation as written, there would be an annual tax on cannabis businesses of $1,000 and an initial 5% federal tax on cannabis products to consumers that is set to increase to 8% within 5 years. In states like Oregon, California, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Washington, this can bring the total taxes in these states to anywhere between 30% and 50%. Washington cannabis taxes are currently 37%, by adding an 8% federal tax within 5 years, this would mean consumers would be paying 45% in taxes alone. This puts an undue burden on the working class and makes it unattainable for some who need it the most, such as people on disability with limited income. On top of taxes for the product itself and the annual business tax, there is another tax on the packaging used for the product. This specific tax can also be left up to the discretion of the Secretary. On another note, testing of cannabis can still be required for federal employees.

If you’re interested in keeping up with what’s going on in the fine print, Nina Parks is a great activist and cannabis entrepreneur to follow. Her Instagram and business pages can be found here: @nina_parks, @equitytradecertification. 

Madame Mary Jane’s Harvest Horoscopes

illustration by Renee Thompson @renee.eporita

Aries (March 21st- April 20th)

Aries, there will be a small change that will seem chaotic or stressful to you, like maybe your favorite budtender leaving or your favorite strain disappearing, but don’t get too strung out over it. Instead, go with the flow and embrace this new change and break your old routine by trying something new like an edible or concentrate. 

Fall Tarot Card: The Tower (distress, adversity, disgrace)

Taurus (April 21st- May 21st)

Taurus, now is the time to splurge on something you’ve always been curious about. Perhaps it is a bit more in price or THC content than you’re used to, but as long as you’re comfortable you should reach out for that special something. If you’ve never tried it, try getting a pearl and watching a spooky movie. 

Fall Tarot Card: Three of Wands (effort, discovery, strength)

Gemini (May 22nd- June 21st)

Gemini, if you’ve been feeling stuck lately take a chance and trust the recommendation of your favorite stoner. Have they been raving about a certain strain? Does your budtender swear by this harvest’s Blue Dream? Now is the time to get out of your funk and find out what all the ruckus is about.

Fall Tarot Card: The Chariot (providence, triumph, chance)

Cancer (June 22nd- July 22nd)

Cancer, when you find yourself feeling dull and worn out from your usual 420 routine, consider taking T-break and cutting out or lower your THC consumption. Taking a T-break can help you ‘clear the fog’ you’ve been stuck in lately and heighten your next experience when you want to reintroduce THC again. 

Fall Tarot Card: Knight of Wands (absence, departure, flight)

Leo (July 23rd- August 23rd)

Leo, when you want to treat yourself to something new, think about trying an activated beverage. These drinks can be a great way to experience the modern advances of the cannabis industry and if you’ve ever wondered what a canna-twist on drinks like lemonade, soda, and beer taste like, bring it up to your favorite budtender. 

Fall Tarot Card: Temperance (moderation, frugality, economy)

Virgo (August 24th- September 22nd) 

Virgo, remember that the transition from summer to fall is harder for others. If you’ve been feeling slightly depressed or sluggish, try a fruity sativa like Grapefruit. You can also try doing activities in sunlight and exercising, like smoking a joint after an autumn walk or hike.

Fall Tarot Card: Nine of Swords (disappointment, despair, sluggishness) 

Libra (September 23rd- October 22nd) 

Libra, if you are ready to try something stronger than your usual THC treat, maybe it’s time to try concentrates. In my experience, concentrates made from OG strains are usually easy to find in the fall time, but this can change from harvest to harvest, so ask your budtender what they recommend next time you stop in on Shatterday. 

Fall Tarot Card: The Emperor (power, stability, reason)

Scorpio (October 23rd- November 21st)

Scorpio, this fall I recommend trying out more indicas. You’re in need of that calm, peaceful feeling that indicas are famous for producing. Now might also be an excellent time to get into making art or carving a jack-o-lantern. My personal favorite indicas have always been in the Kush family, mostly because there always seems to be fun combinations. Maybe you can try a few out and find a new favorite. 

Fall Tarot Card: Four of Wands (harmony, peace, prosperity) 

Sagittarius (November 22nd- December 21st) 

Sagittarius, this season you should spend your time diversifying your cannabis palette. One easy way to do this is to take advantage of gram specials. Now is a good time for you to settle on a favorite dispensary, or at least take this as an excuse to branch out more in your consumption habits. 

Fall Tarot Card: Three of Swords (removal, division, dispersion) 

Capricorn (December 22nd- January 20th) 

Capricorn, for this spooky season, I recommend experimenting with mild or low THC strains like R4 or Charlotte’s Web and focusing on mindfulness. But if you are thinking about trying more than one strain out this fall, try and keep a journal about your favorite CBD strains and how you interact with them. 

Fall Tarot Card: Eight of Cups (mildness, joy, modesty) 

Aquarius (January 21st- February 19th)

Aquarius, as someone who tends to be off in their own world, I would suggest at some point this season using a canna-bath bomb. Especially if you find your thoughts being more tangled than usual. Taking a nice canna-bath can give you time to mull things over and treat sore muscles. 

Tarot Card: Ace of Swords (love, triumph, excessive)

Pisces (February 20th- March 20th) 

Pisces, this fall is a time for you to return to your roots. For many of us, this means smoking a joint. This could also be a good time to go back to your first favorite strains if you’re feeling nostalgic. Whatever brings you back to your favorite moments, and if you haven’t learned yet, try rolling your own joints or carving your own apple pipe. 

Fall Tarot Card: The Hierophant (tradition, alliance, goodness)

Resources for Black Lives Matter, COVID-19

Green Eugene condemns police brutality and stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of George Floyd, who was murdered on May 25, 2020 by Minneapolis police. His murder was not an isolated incident. It is crucial that we take this moment in time to use our platform and provide space for voices that have been silenced for too long. People of color are terrorized with systematic oppression and racism, and are dying at rapidly higher rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. We see you. We hear you. We are with you. 

Below are resources and links to provide support and education for the BLM Movement and COVID-19.

Resources for Supporting BLM: 

Resources for COVID-19: 

Cannabis Names Tribute

written by Alexandra Arnett @calyx.alex

With the start of a new decade, the cannabis industry has suffered some very tragic losses, all of whom deserve recognition. We would like to take a moment to highlight just some of the greats we have lost this year. 

Dave Bowman (born Montgomery Ball) aka Subcool of The Dank, formerly of TGA Genetics/Seeds, was the first cannabis pioneer to pass at the beginning of 2020 in February. This loss was felt throughout the entire cannabis breeding and growing industry. Along with his team at TGA, Subcool was the creator of strains such as Jack the Ripper, Space Queen, Green Queen, Jack’s Cleaner, Querkle, Cuvee, Vortex and Strawberry Daiquiri, and had an influence on many more cultivars. Many of his cultivars have won cannabis industry breeding awards over the years. In 2017, Bowman was awarded the Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award for being a dedicated activist in the cannabis industry. Bowman suffered from Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a genetic condition that raises a persons’ risk for lung and liver disease, and emphysema which causes shortness of breath. These last 5 years Bowman had been dealing with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and passed peacefully in his sleep due to complications.

In April, the industry lost one of the youngest cannabis pioneers. Charlotte Figi was a 13-year-old who was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome. Born in 2006, Charlotte had her first seizure at the age of 3 months. After 6 years of trying an array of western approaches to medicine, Charlotte’s mom began looking into CBD. Charlotte’s mom connected with the Stanley Brothers in Colorado who began supplying their CBD oil to treat Charlotte’s seizures. After successfully treating Charlotte’s seizures with this CBD oil, the family packed up and moved to Colorado, one of the first states to legalize recreational cannabis. The success of Charlotte’s treatment with CBD oil sparked a huge movement in the industry. She appeared with Dr. Sanjay Gupta in 2013 for the film Weed to help bring awareness to using cannabis as medicine, especially for children. In 2014, the Stanley Brothers renamed this high CBD cultivar to “Charlotte’s Web”, in honor of Charlotte. This was not the only legacy Charlotte left in the cannabis industry. Charlotte’s mom was also instrumental in helping bring to light the benefits of CBD oil and pushing for legislation. In 2013, she co-founded the Realm of Caring, a non-profit organization based out of Colorado that helps provide cannabis oil to patients and conducts observational studies.

In May, the industry lost two very important people. On May 6th, cannabis breeder Joesy Whales (aka Don Peabody), co-founder of breeding company GG Strains, passed away in Las Vegas after complications from a fall. Along with his business partner “Lone Watty,” who passed last year, Joesy bred strains such as Original Glue (GG4), New Glue (GG5), Sister Glue (GG1), Purple Glue and Glue Chee. These strains, namely GG4, have become a staple in the cannabis industry. 

On May 14th, the cannabis industry lost Mikel Weisser, a dedicated cannabis activist. Weisser was the director of Arizona NORML and also helped start the Las Vegas NORML chapter.

Please take a moment to honor those in the industry that we have lost. Never forget what each one of them was fighting for: that cannabis is medicine and it should be legal. 

Putting “Marijuana” In The Ground

written by Skyla Patton, photographed by Nina Compeau

Cannabis has a world of controversy surrounding it on all fronts, whether it be legalization, decriminalization or social acceptance. While people immersed in the industry work tirelessly to strip the cannabis plant of it’s shrouded stereotypes and narratives, other problematic aspects can slip through the cracks as we try to deal with the big picture. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find the dark roots of a commonplace term in the cannabis industry: marijuana. 

Weed, dope, grass, herb, cannabis, cannabaceae, mary jane, the good green stuff; casual and professional slang thrown around to describe cannabis. Even with the plethora of language that surrounds cannabis, marijuana is the title that has remained dominant over the years. It’s suggested that one origin story of the term comes from Chinese “ma ren hua,” or hemp seed flower (cannabis is the genus of cannabaceae, or hemp when referencing non-drug usage). Underneath the seemingly innocent and casual lingo of marijuana in America lies a trail of xenophobia, racism and societal injustices. 

At minimal face value, the word has contributed to the furthering of harmful and inaccurate stereotypes throughout history. The word “marihuana” (also spelled marijuana) was weaponized in the early 1900s with the rise of immigration from Mexico and the consequential steady employment in available cannabis fields for Hispanic workers. Prior to this, cannabis had been marketed by pharmaceutical companies as a sleep aid and pain reliever and it came in a liquid form. This product was most widely available to the wealthier (and whiter) population, but lower socioeconomic classes had significantly less access to this form of cannabis and were more likely to smoke cannabis flower. Even though the various classes and races generally use cannabis at the same rate, people of color and impoverished communities are systematically targeted for it. This dynamic of class-based privilege is still represented today in the gentrification of high-end dispensaries developing locations in communities that still actively suffer from consequences of the war on drugs. 

Following the wave of immigration, the upper classes of America quickly associated the disparate increasing financial depression and social strain with Hispanic and black communities, seeking somewhere to point a finger of blame. This included their well-known cultivation and consumption of marijuana, rapidly snowballing into an ordeal of systematic racism perpetuated with stereotypes that would have long-lasting consequences on both marginalized communities and cannabis. This downward spiral initiated the path for cannabis to exist as Schedule 1 Drug to this day, defined by the DEA as “drugs, substances or chemicals with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Elites and politicians of the time, such as Harry Anslinger—the ‘godfather’ of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics of which he served for 32 years—used the unabashed xenophobia and racism of the nation to racialize marijuana and paint an image of violence, crime and fear over both the plant and the communities cultivating it. 

This stereotype spread like wildfire through the United States and white America ate it up as quickly as they could. Images of pot-smokers rapidly evolved from a wealthy white party appetizer to degenerate, dangerous criminals and offenders who were determined to rob the rest of the world of their nice things and sanity. Marijuana took up a new “exotic” persona, and Reefer Madness or The Devil’s Lettuce took hold. 

Narratives spun by politicians such as Anslinger included forming an addiction to marijuana and resulting violent tendencies (including murder or assault), communist brainwashing, and the (dark organ music playing here) furthering of racial equality. Anslinger was quoted in a statement saying, “the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races… reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

These stigmas pushed the images of violence and racism that championed the prohibition of cannabis—not dissimilar from the prohibition of alcohol which would follow a few decades later—which many still struggle in navigating today. It also largely contributed to the deep-seeded institutionalized racism that has carried over to today in casual industry usage of the word marijuana and rampant injustices against minorities within the cannabis community.

While many individuals, either as casual consumers or active participants in the industry, are catching on to the dark roots behind the word marijuana and switching to the friendlier formal term cannabis, it’s important that we get the facts straight. The continual use of terms that are outdated, inaccurate and harmful to any grouping of people is simply another avenue of furthering oppression and institutionalized racism, regardless of historical erasure of meaning and connotation. While it’s important to note that many still debate the origins and etymology of marijuana, it’s also crucial that we as a society are able to identify harmful microaggressions as we see them and address them unequivocally to best protect all members of the communities we’re in.

The pursuit of intersectionality in our verbiage is particularly important to focus on if you happen to be of a community that is in no way disadvantaged by racial or socioeconomic stereotypes and systems—AKA, check your privilege and go from there. Outside of adjusting our vocabulary and understanding the deeper meanings behind the words we use, the next step is to educate the cannabis community on the harms of the drug war and the true science behind the plant. 

For more information on cannabis and its relation to race, check out Race and the Drug War by drugpolicy.org or The War on Marijuana in Black and White, an article published by the American Civil Liberties Union. 

Cannabis Changed My Life: A Journey to Cannabis Journalism

words by Skyla Patton

My life changed when I started experiencing pain, like real pain, when I was about 13- which, if you’ve ever been a 13 year old cis-gendered girl, is the worst time for just about everything. On a vacation to Washington to visit family, the dreaded mother nature finally visited. My periods were horrific, and I learned quickly that while they are unpleasant for everyone, I had particularly bad luck. For the next several years, I suffered through one week a month where I could barely get out of bed because of the fire in my gut or missed whole days of school because my skin was so bloated and sensitive it hurt. The worst of all, though, was my breast pain – I couldn’t sleep if I wasn’t on my back, and the pain didn’t stop when my period did. It was there, all the time, every day. I had to wear heavy-duty sports bras to dull the pain down, couldn’t participate fully in PE and had to have special permissions to carry ibuprofen around in my backpack.

“You’ll be fine, sweetheart. Discomfort is normal for growing girls,” hummed my women’s doctor during one of our first appointments. This was far from the last time I heard these words. Practitioners across the board ensured me that my blistering breast pain was over-exaggerated and something I simply had to deal with, a curse of womanhood. For years of my life, I believed them; I suffered through the discomfort, I took the prescription medication and I pushed through yoga classes everyone swore would eliminate my pain.

I discovered cannabis several years after mother nature wreaked havoc on my bodily happiness. Growing up in a community that was heavily immersed in cannabis culture already, even in the early 2000s, it didn’t feel like an entirely alien path, but it was absolutely considered a leisure activity. I took my first puff in a way I imagine to be similar to everyone else’s: on a camping trip, surrounded by good friends and (luckily) a lot of delicious snacks. However, that first puff changed a part of me I will never forget: my aches faded, my mind relaxed and for the first time in years, my boobs took a chill pill. I slept on my side that night on my air mattress for the first time in over four years and it felt. so. good. Weeks later, a family friend offered me a CBD/THC combination salve, Rub by Whoopi and Maya (yes, the Whoopi Goldberg and Maya Elisabeth—shout out to powerful women in business), designed specifically for menstrual pain, and I was sold. The ability to live a day of my life without continual discomfort or constant thinking about that discomfort was an overwhelming feeling of relief and gratitude. I was not interested in letting this new freedom go: I was hooked on cannabis.

This introduction to cannabis was also my introduction to a culture and world that was so much more complex and interesting than passing a blunt around while watching Survivor. I immersed myself in the intricacies of the growers around me, the labor of love of gardening medicinal plants, and the varying differences between recreational and medical cannabis users. I have been a declared journalism major since the age of 8, and started writing for The Emerald in my freshman year after being connected by a friend. The neurons in my brain lit up when the idea of a cannabis magazine was brought up during our weekly meeting for Emerald Essentials; and thus, Green Eugene was born. This was an opportunity for me to connect my interest with cannabis culture to my passion for journalism, and I jumped on the pitch right away. Writing stories for Green Eugene opened up my mind to new possibilities and the massive potential that a cannabis magazine could have; I want to erase the stigma of cannabis use, enlighten the public and blaze the trail of cannabis journalism.

When I became a regular consumer of cannabis, the stigma of cannabis use pushed back, hard. I felt the harsh connotation of being a cannabis user: suddenly I was lazy, unmotivated. The door to other “hard” drugs had somehow magically opened through the gateway of smoking pot. These stigmas confused me as they were so different from the stoners I had grown up and interacted with; business owners, loving parents, talented artists and many more. I’ve been a proud and active member of Rotary International since the 6th grade, and suddenly I was fearful of these huge, older-generation role models in my life turning mutinous because of my choice of healing. The same Rotarians who insisted that their stereotype (stale, male and pale) was inaccurate (it is) continued to believe that the stereotypes about cannabis users were fact (they’re not). This tug-o-war of stereotypes hurt me and took years to overturn in my own mindset.

Stereotypes are harmful, inaccurate and oftentimes born out of a fear of the unknown, a fear of change. A huge goal of mine and many others in the cannabis industry is to push the stigma against reefer madness out of the limelight and replace it with a sentient of healing, growth and innovation. Cannabis  made me feel better, and that was a simple enough reason for me.

For all of the period-havers, young or otherwise, out there who are grappling with intense pain: your pain is not something you have to live with. Your doctor should listen to you when you say you hurt and they should not dismiss it because of your time of the month. Listen to your pain, seek out your answer (cannabis related or not) and do not take no for an answer during the pursuit of relief.

I live for producing this awesome publication for y’all, and it’s an honor to be able to share my story on a platform I’m so proud of. Cannabis, for me, was transformative, offering pain relief and the ability to live my life without daily discomfort. It was also a launchpad into a career that I love and truly feel I can stand behind. My hope is that other female-identifying ladies like me can learn to do the same: demand that the world believe your pain, push past stigmas that hold you back and use that same attitude to make a path for yourself. You can do it.
(Disclaimer: I was able to shrug off stereotypes and make it to where I am today due to my undeniable privilege as a white, middle class woman. Mass incarceration for cannabis possession, violence and discrimination affects people of color every day in our country and is being lost in the waves of legalization and commodification. We cannot endorse legalization without demanding decriminalization. Visit http://www.drugpolicy.org/issues/marijuana-legalization-and-regulation for information on decriminalization and how to get involved in your area.)