Niche in the Neighborhood

written and photographed by Annie McVay, with additional photos provided from the Oregon Historical Society and Lane County History Museum

Have you ever wondered about the history behind the building a dispensary occupies? Featured below are two local dispensaries with rich background stories you may not have heard before. If any readers out there know of any others, please share them with us @greeneugenemag!

Jamaica Joel’s – 37 W. 13th Ave. Suite 201

photo provided by Lane County History Museum

The building Jamaica Joel’s occupies has a genuinely unique Art Moderne and International Style architecture, popular in the post-war era. The use of aluminum railings, curves, and reinforced concrete may remind you of similar building characteristics from the Fallout video game series. According to the University of Washington’s Pacific Coast Architecture Database, the building design was the first independent commission done by Harry Robert Wilmsen, a local Eugene Architect. Earnest W. Ellis started his photography business in 1920 and requested the commission from Wilmsen. Ellis moved his studio there once construction was finished in 1947.   

Ellis owned the building until he passed away in 1976. Thankfully, Kennell Ellis Photography continues to live on today. The plethora of photos of the building from the 40s exists today precisely because of the Kennell Ellis studio. Upstairs, there was Gredvig Beauty Studio and the Kennell Ellis Photography Studio. Below was Morse’s Women’s Wear, which must have realized how much the curved glass display window added to the elegance of their women’s clothing. The striking Kennell Ellis neon sign continues to decorate the building today.

Locally owned and operated, Jamaica Joel’s truly is a dispensary for the people. Before COVID-19 put a halt on public events, the dispensary even hosted “Joel’s Jams” and featured independent hip-hop artists such as Zion I. Using the dispensary as a venue to spread creativity, art and ideas for the people is something we all hope to see again in the future! Remember to support your local dispensary so they make it through these tough times. 

Cannabliss & Co The Sorority House – 588 E. 11th Ave

photo provided by Lane County History Museum

The Sorority House was built in 1902 for the historically well-known banker, attorney, and State Legislator Windsor W. Calkins. Given the distinctive Queen Anne Style architecture and prime location, the Calkins house is surely as hard to miss these days as it was back then. The fanciful conical-roofed corner tower, wrap-around open-air covered porch, stained glass window panes, and the plethora of ornate interior woodwork are all staples of the Victorian Era architectural style. The Queen Anne Style was popular from 1880 to the early 1900s. Windsor, following family tradition, modeled the design off his childhood home in northern Minnesota. The Calkins family never could have guessed what a delightful dispensary their home would become!   

Way before Green Eugene took an interest in this dispensary’s rich history, another student from the University of Oregon had acknowledged the home’s unique value. Kimberly Goddard, at the time a graduate student at the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, prepared the form to have the Calkins house registered nationally. Previously, Eugene citizens voted on keeping the house in the community using  taxpayer money, but the measure failed. Then in 1976, the home was titled a City of Eugene Historical Landmark. Thanks to Goddard, on December 9th, 1981, it was published in the National Register of Historic Places. The Calkins house is one of the last of the elegant homes from this historical period, even outliving the famed Patterson house featured in Animal House.

While the official documents state the Calkins house site was acquired through part of Hillyard Shaw’s first donation of land to Eugene in the 1860s, it is essential to acknowledge this land first belonged to various Indigenous Peoples. Earlier agreements in the 1850s made by the Congress-appointed Willamette Valley Treaty Commission did not end with any Indigenous Peoples agreeing to leave the valley. Unfortunately, these agreements were not ratified because they did not make the tribes relocate East of the Cascades. By January 1855, after constant encroachment, harassment, and diseases brought by American settlers, the Indigenous Peoples signed the Kalapuya Treaty (also known as the Willamette Valley treaty). The Kalapuya, the Clackamas Chinook, and the Molala peoples were removed by force from the Willamette Valley during the following winter.   

In 1886, the property passed from Robert Scott to Mary Scott, who then sold the land to Windsor Calkins on April 17th, 1902. The house continued to stay in the family after Calkins died in 1945, leaving the property to his daughter, Jeannette. In 1975, Thomas and Nelly Link and Anne Kimball bought the house, saving it from otherwise slated demolition. The new owners began many restoration efforts, such as fixing the foundation, porch, siding, roof and replacing support beams plagued with dry rot. The original hardware found in the house was also reused, and missing pieces were replaced with vintage hardware from the period. They later opened the Calkins house as a bed and breakfast, which required few alterations to the building’s authenticity.  

Cannabliss & Co acquired the property in 2016 and dubbed this new location ‘The Sorority House.’ Besides the sign in the spacious and sprawling front yard, many would think it was just that, especially given its prime location near the University of Oregon campus. Cannabliss & Co did an exceptional job in this first year of business, impressing so many customers that The Sorority House took first place for best dispensary in Emerald Media Group’s 2017 Best of Campus. The Emerald Essentials article featuring this accomplishment by Delaney Rea noted how knowledgeable the budtenders were and the wide selection of products – both of which are still true today!  

Knowledge Over Stigma: River Valley Remedies

words by Delaney Rea | photo by Michael Davies

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“Destigmatize.” It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot in conversation about the cannabis industry. We’ve all heard canna-advocates express their desire for wider acceptance and deeper understanding of the plant, but how does it become a reality? What tangible steps can be taken toward reaching recognition of the full form and function of cannabis? According to River Valley Remedies, the answer is simple: education.

First, a brief history: River Valley began operation in 2015 as a medical farm in Salem. Marion County, which the capital city resides in, was one of the areas that opted out of recreational sale. While this made the idea of sale in the area a non-starter, another Oregon city lay waiting in the wings. On the eve of 4/20 this past year, River Valley opened shop as a dispensary in Eugene.

Natalie Raulin, River Valley’s resident marketing guru, is one of the core staff who helped the Eugene venture find its initial footing. Raulin’s mother, a midwife from Scotland, introduced her to a healthy dose of medical knowledge as a child. Much of this involved non-Western, medicinal plant practices. This background, along with her chemistry studies, fits River Valley’s approach like a glove.

“[Non-Western] medicines have been around for thousands of years. We wanted to present that tradition to Eugene,” says Raulin.

She’s far from alone. Much of the River Valley team comes from a background in plant medicine, which helps them cater to customers’ medicinal needs. With a pre-existing population in Eugene that was open to non-traditional medicine, it hasn’t been a challenge for River Valley to convince the community of the utility of their products. They essentially operate like a classic apothecary, guiding their patrons individually to make effective use of their services, whether they be medical or recreational. However, this isn’t to say that the dispensary deals solely in cannabis-based remedies. In fact, much of its herbal section doesn’t include cannabis-based products at all.

To help the community better comprehend the benefits of cannabis, River Valley has made concerted efforts to provide them with proper education. As Raulin puts it, the public has a habit of simply looking at the indica and sativa properties of the flower they choose to consume. An approach like this can allow only a skin-deep experience. River Valley combats this with workshops, panels and more events that encourage deeper, more informed interactions with cannabis. Raulin also writes a monthly Q&A with cannabis experts for the Eugene Weekly, which helps River Valley reach a broader portion of the Eugene community.

Educational events occur every month at River Valley, including workshops on how to grow mushrooms and how to create your own tinctures. Tinctures, which are alcohol-based cannabis extracts, were a primary form of cannabis medication prior to the enactment of cannabis prohibition. They serve as an entry point for many users to smokeless cannabis use. River Valley has hosted recurring tincture making workshops, and the events are among their most popular with community members. Since initiating the series, River Valley has only seen attendance to its various events grow as more people become interested in broadening their cannabis knowledge.

“Two months into the business, we had around 20 people showing up. Now, we see more than 100 attendees at [events like] our psilocybin talk,” says Raulin.

Psilocybin, a naturally occurring compound produced in over 200 strains of mushrooms, is another type of holistic medicine River Valley aims to bring to those in need. Research suggests that the compound could be effective in treating depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Currently, there are restrictions in place that restrict them from offering products that use the compound. However, that could change in the near future.

The Oregon Psilocybin Society (OPS) is a group working to bring awareness of and access to psilocybin in Oregon. OPS works in response to increasing research surrounding the safety, benefits and risks associated with controlled psilocybin consumption. Currently, the group is working on the Psilocybin Service Initiative (PSI), an effort for which they are trying to land a spot on the 2020 Oregon general election ballot. If passed, the measure would create access to psilocybin services in Oregon. By holding events that address subjects like psilocybin, River Valley helps raise awareness about the compound.

Coming up, it won’t be a simple task for River Valley to achieve its goals. Oversaturation in the market will prove a challenge to overcome. “There’s a shop on every corner on our street alone,” says Raulin. “We don’t want to compare ourselves to other stores, but we are aware that they’re there.” Despite the competition, Raulin says they don’t want to see competitors fail. They encourage efforts by other locations to provide similar education, with success of the overall industry reflecting well on them in the long run.

So how does River Valley set itself apart? Developing strong relationships with farms is a start, especially as the farms themselves face an uphill battle to move their product out of their warehouses and into the hands of consumers. According to Raulin, there’s an excess level of unused flower in farms around Oregon that far exceeds the amount of consumer demand. River Valley has experienced a resulting influx of farmers attempting cut deals to unload their product. By making it a goal to avoid the lure of this cheaper, typically lower-quality product, River Valley strives to maintains the integrity of their existing farm partnerships and continues to deliver superior-quality flower to their customers.

Moving forward, River Valley aims to continue expanding their event offerings. For example, they just started their terpene presentations series, which will run through the rest of the year. Additionally, they want their education to reach beyond the existing cannabis consumer base.

“We want the whole community to be educated, not just [our patrons],” says Raulin. “We want to put our hands wherever we can help.”

River Valley Remedies’ hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. They are located at 1985 W 7th Ave. Visit them online at RiverValleyRemedies.net, and learn more about OPS at Opsbuzz.com.

 

Why Terpenes Matter

words by Anna Glavash

What do lemons, pepper, lavender, eucalyptus, mangoes, lilacs and hops all have in common? They all smell fantastic because they all contain terpenes.

Visitors to the “terpene experience booth” at the Cultivation Classic cannabis competition in Portland on May 12 could experience smells—and some tastes too—in an interactive display of snacks and bouquets. The booth belonged to Green Leaf Lab, an analytical cannabis testing lab that offers terpene testing services. The idea was to demonstrate where terpenes are commonly found. In fact, Amanda Day, aka @terpodactyl_, social media coordinator and former budtender for TJ’s Provisions, says “terpenes exist in every living plant.” This includes the cannabis plant, and cannabis users have been hearing more about terpenes lately.

According to Green Leaf, terpenes are aromatic molecules found in plant resins. They account for the vast array of smells and flavors found in cannabis flowers and extracts. You know that citrus smell, or the cheesy one, or the piney or diesel aroma of your favorite strain? It’s all terpenes, and it turns out they affect more than just smell and taste. Though information about terpenes has been around for as long as aromatherapy, cannabis users are beginning to learn more about the effects of terpenes on their experiences with specific strains.

So why would you want to know a strain’s terpene profile? Day says, “Whether you’re looking for a recreational experience—you want to giggle or have a good time or feel kind of loopy or have a ‘traditional high’—or if you go in looking for something to help with your anxiety or sleep, terpenes are a huge part of that. It absolutely is not reliant upon the THC, CBD, THCA, CBN or any other cannabinoid, for that matter.”

There’s a perception in the recreational market that higher cannabinoid content means a better high. This has led to customers shopping by THC percentage and preferring more potent strains. Testing for cannabinoid potency is required for all cannabis products, but terpene profile testing isn’t. Day says THC content is only one part of the experience of a high, and that other cannabinoids, along with the unique terpene profile of a strain, create something known as “the entourage effect.”

If you haven’t heard of it, the entourage effect is the theory that all of those components work together synergistically to produce the experience of a high. Though there isn’t a lot of research available on it, the theory has been bolstered by the studies of Dr. Ethan Russo, which suggest various ways terpenes interact with cannabinoids to create a whole experience greater than the sum of the parts.

“Many of us have tried a cannabis product that may have had 25 percent THC, but not had that same wonderful experience as with another product that maybe had an 18 or 19 percent THC,” says Anthony DiFalco, sales director for Green Leaf. This is due to the entourage effect, and the other components of the product, including terpenes, which can produce a more pleasant effect depending on the user.

With all the different combinations out there, how to know what’s optimal? “The nose knows,” Day says. She explained that TJ’s doesn’t advertise cannabinoid percentages up front and instead turns their jar labels backward so that when people come in, they’re shopping with their eyes and noses first and not by potency. “Smelling something and really thinking it’s pleasant might be a good way to start,” Day recommends.

There’s an incredible amount of information available about terpenes that we’re already well-acquainted with, like linalool. “The linalool that’s in lavender that calms you down is the same linalool in the cannabis strain that puts you to sleep. It’s important that people realize that connection is there and that information is already out there,” Day says.

So how can you go about finding it? Get curious and do your research. Though some dispensaries are now listing the most prevalent terpenes in the flower they sell and producers of extracts and edibles are starting to add them to labels, terpene content is far from being universally advertised. Unlike when your server walks you through the tasting notes in each bottle on a wine list, most budtenders aren’t trained to talk terpenes with customers.

To spread knowledge, Green Leaf makes profile cards for specific strains and makes them available to producers. The producers can then share them with dispensaries or directly with consumers. Day recommends checking Leafly.com or following labs on social media to get informed about strain profiles. In theory, dominant terpenes should be consistent across a strain no matter who grows it.

DiFalco says many farmers and smart consumers understand the value of knowing a terpene profile, but when it comes to dispensaries, the challenge is “bridging the gap.” His goal is to get them to talk about terpenes more, and he says consumers play a big role in this. He’s trying to educate consumers to ask more questions at the dispensary. Stay curious, and you just might learn something.

To learn about specific terpenes, check out River Valley Remedies “Terpene Series” on the last Sunday of each month. These educational talks are free to attend and are presented by Maria Worsley of Medicine Farm Botanicals, who’s very knowledgeable about existing research on terpenes and their effects on the human body. She focuses on a different terpene each month—beta-myrcene in April, alpha-pinene in May.

Find Your Adventure With WYLD Gummies

Words by Skyla Patton | Photo Contributed by WYLD Canna

What are your Sunday plans? Relaxing at home? Going on an adventure? Soaking in a hot tub? Whether you’re an adventurer or a movies-with-popcorn type, the possibilities are endless with a delicious WYLD gummy to enhance your experience. Made with all-natural fruit, these fun-sized infused snacks guarantee a good time. Check out these suggestions to choose which fruity ride you want to go on this weekend.

Relax with Marionberry Indica

All the candles are lit, the lights are dimmed and your favorite bath bomb is bubbling away in the tub. You’re prepared for the distressing of a lifetime. Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read, put on some soothing piano music and sink into the flavor of the “cabernet of berries” with a glass of actual cabernet on the side. If you’re looking to kick your feet back and relax all day long, Marionberry is the gummy for you. Enhanced with indica to soothe all your troubles, this classic flavor will blissfully melt your day away.

Trekking with Raspberry Sativa  

The sun is just climbing over the treetops, birds are chirping and it’s ripe time to climb another mountain. Pack up your bags and lace up your hiking boots—Spencer Butte is calling your name. Don’t forget the granola bars and raspberry gummies to make the climb a full outdoor zen experience. Enriched with sativa, this chewy snack will give you the energy boost you need to conquer the day.

Soak in the Springs with Pomegranate 1:1

The hike to the Terwilliger Hot Springs is hardly a hike at all and even the sorest of joints will be able to relax in the natural mineral rich pools. It’s the perfect day trip to satisfy the craving for adventure without a strenuous workout or long drive. Be sure to bring a neck pillow, a nice fluffy towel and WYLD’s newest gummy, Pomegranate 1:1. Half sativa and half indica, this chewy snack is the perfect addition to your mellow soak in nature’s tub.

Take a Walk by The Ocean with Strawberry CBD

It doesn’t get any better than a sunset on the beach with your favorite person, a cup of hot cocoa and a few cannabis gummies as a snack. Florence is a quick but beautiful 90 minute drive away, and the ocean is welcoming you with blue skies and peaceful waves. Lucky for you, there’s plenty of dispensaries on the way to pick up a pack of strawberry gummies. Packed full of relaxing CBD, these treats are the perfect way to relax your muscles and let tension melt away with a little help from the ocean air.

Budtender Spotlight: Tyler Banks

How and when did you become a budtender?

It was the summer of 69… Wait, scratch that! That was the moon landing… albeit how I became a budtender did feel like a story that was written in the stars. It was a mystically magical combination of waiting, timing, and experience. Some longtime friends came to me with a job offer and an idea to open a dispensary. Moss hadn’t even been born, still a twinkle in their eyes, yet I knew this was going to be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Two and a half years later I’m still working the most emotionally rewarding job I’ve ever had to pleasure of partaking in. My skill set of working in all avenues of customer service, for 17 years, had really paid off.

What was it like the first time you got high?

I’ll never forget that first time I got high. My step-brother and I felt it necessary to venture as far away from the house as physically possible. Once we made it to the other side of the pond on my parents property, we sat behind a tree, fired up my new Zippo, and sparked a party bowl big enough to get 10 people high! I can still remember the sensory combination of lighter fuel and ditch weed terps. We coughed our lungs out, every hit, and proceeded to space walk our way back to the house. Time slowed way down, my body felt extremely heavy, and we managed to polish off an entire box of strawberry shortcake popsicles. I blasted off to another world with my new best friend, Mary Jane.

What’s one funny or weird customer interaction you’ve had?

You never know when they’ll strike, but as soon as they ask you a question, and don’t wait for a response, you know you’ve entered the Twilight Zone! No matter how much information you provide, all they can hear are their own thoughts. I dub them the “thinking out-loud” customer. Most of the time my silence can snap them back into reality, and we find something they didn’t even know they wanted. Win win! I get a lesson in patience, and they get a solid recommendation.

How do you approach recommending a product to a customer?

I’ve found that it’s a two way street. I like to begin by asking a few questions of my own. “What time of day do you like to consume? How would you rate your tolerance to Cannabis? Are you looking for any specific effects?” Gathering information about a customer gives me a head start to effectively finding something I think they’ll enjoy. Because strains react differently to each person, I try my best to ask enough questions, not to overwhelm, but to ease them into making their own decisions.

What’s one stereotype about cannabis users that’s true?

What’s one that’s false?

Can they find joy in the simplest things? TRUE! My Cannabis of choice soothes inflammation and pain, slows down my thought patterns, and mellows the mind enough to truly enjoy the little things in life. Not the annoying little things, the magnificent eccentricities that get lost in our hyper analysis of the world around us. Take some time to slow down and appreciate the sloths pace for a change. What more can I say? The sloth life chose me.

Do all Cannabis users like watching Bob Ross? FALSE! Not all stoners enjoy the soothing sound of his voice, the way he creates something from nothing, life lessons taught via “happy little trees”, and squirrel buddy shenanigans. On second thought, I take it back! Everyone, stoner on not, loves Bob Ross.

What do you look for in a strain?

Terpenes. More often than not, if I enjoy the smell of a strain, I’m going to enjoy the taste and effects. My relationship with the Cannabis plant and this process, has not led me astray. I do tend to lean towards a more mellowing mood, so terpenes like Caryophyllene and Linolol are some smell profiles I seek out.

What’s special about this shop?

Moss Crossing is not only a soothing place to chat it up and buy a blunt, it’s a hub for information, and a springboard for squashing stigmas. They value our opinions, treat us with equality, and nurture a compassionate environment that enables us to approach the day with patients and kindness towards whomever walks in the door. Also the laid back vibe and decor of the shop won a DOPE Magazine Industry Award for the “Best Atmosphere” in all of Oregon! Stop by, if not for some education, just to say HIGH and see what we’re all about.

Best part about the job?

Worst part?

Best: The people! Experiencing first hand how Cannabis is benefiting a customers daily life is one of the most rewarding things about being in this industry, and that’s just the customer side of things. My co-workers, the owners, vendors, growers, extractors, bakers, crafters, so many wonderful people involved in making Oregon one of the BEST States to find something safe to consume! We are one of the few states that requires ALL products to be free of pesticides and mold via rigorous analytical testing. Go Oregon! Keep’n it green!

Favorite way to consume?

The best way to consume is to find what works best for your lifestyle. I’d say my favorite way to consume is the “combination method”. I start most days with a baseline level of Cannabis derived CBD, taken in a tincture or mint, to squash any pain or inflammation I’m experiencing. I have some screws and hardware in my femur from a car accident I was in a number of years ago, so CBD’s have become a big part of my herbal treatment. Then, depending on what day it is, I generally get my THC sometime in the mid to late afternoon with a gummie, chocolate, or infused beverage. I usually save my smoking rituals for the evening time with a hit of the bong, Hemp wrapped Moss Crossing rolled blunt, or CO2 oil vape pen. Ultimately I don’t dislike any of the methods of consumption, so I do tend to mix things up if I’m feeling fancy.

What’s your favorite munchie food or favorite thing to do while high?

Favorite munchie? Salty and sweet, or anything crunchy, and chocolate. Yeah, chocolate.

Favorite thing to do while high? Playing mentally challenging games. Something like “Cards Against Humanity” is a great balance of social interaction and sparks my mind enough to enjoy cleverly crafting a properly inappropriate winning card. I also thoroughly enjoy zoning out to nature documentaries, making abstract art while listening to psych rock, playing kickball, and brainstorming the answer to the universe. So far I think it might be 42.

What accessory or paraphanelia do you like to use?

Hempwick has quickly become one of my favorite accessories. It enhances the smoking experience by removing butane from the inhalation equation, and allows for a more accurate sensory experience. No fuel equals more natural flavor. Just make sure you’ve fully extinguished your hempwick between uses. My favorite paraphernalia has got to be the Launch Box from Magic Flight. It’s a dried herb vaporizer that has a lifetime warranty, numerous accessory upgrades like: a grinder that fits perfectly on top to funnel herb right in, a water bubbler that attaches with a hookah hose, and a home use cord that plugs into a wall outlet so you don’t have to drain the batteries. It is the most simplistic portable flower vaporizer on the market. #availableatmosscrossing 😉

When I’m not here, I’m…

Lucidly traversing a dreamscape created by my subconscious mind OR discovering a new band I had no idea I couldn’t live without.

Are you high right now?

Yes indeedy.

 

February’s Strain of the Month: Grape Ape

Words by Skyla Patton | Photo by Trevor Meyer

If you’re looking for something to mellow any harsh vibes but also give you a spark of productivity, the infamous Grape Ape is the strain for you. February’s endless downpour of rain and chilly weather can get the best of anyone, especially with seasonal depression and the common cold going around. This smooth flavor will help you relax without causing sleepiness or lethargy, which indicas can sometimes do.

Grape Ape’s aroma is reminiscent of—you guessed it—a sweet grape smell. A distinct grape flavor is there to match, commonly described as similar to grape candy or soda. Descendant of Afghani and Skunk Number One, this strain will help you come to a calm focus, or with a few extra puffs, a relaxing afternoon nap. If the sweetness of this fruity strain hasn’t enticed you already, it’s dense buds rich with spiraling trichomes and brilliant purple color will seal the deal. This strain is popular up and down the Pacific Northwest, but is commonly grown in Northern Washington, where it is considered one of the best local strains around.

Along with most indicas, these sweet nugs will give you a relaxed, calm energy that lasts for several hours. It is known for relieving anxiety, aches or pains and overall stress. It also is one of the best strains for hitting the hay early or easing the sleepless nights caused by insomnia. On the downside, there is a reputation for leaving smokers with dry eyes or mouth—nothing a tall glass of water won’t fix. Overall, Grape Ape is the perfect strain to calm yourself down or relieve the soreness of an injury. Pair it with a bubble bath, movie night with your friends or even simply as a form of relaxation before bed.

Grape Ape is a popular strain, and is available at most Eugene dispensaries. Check out local locations for deals, coupons or even monthly strain discounts. Twenty After Four offers TGIF complimentary house rolls with the purchase of an eighth ($40), and TJs on Willamette hosts Munchies Monday where edibles are all 15 percent off.

Budtender Spotlight: Kyrsha Witherspoon

Interview and Photo by Anna Glavash

How and when did you become a budtender?

Two years ago, I started at Twenty After Four. I was wanting to get out of the retirement home I was working at, and I was recreationally smoking because of my social anxiety. I had a friend that was working at Twenty After Four, and she said it would be a good fit for me. She thought it would help me to step out of my comfort zone and tried to work there, and it did help me a lot.

First time you got high?

I was overwhelmed. I had a group of friends with me that had already been smoking, and they kind of played jokes on me. It also opened me up to different perspectives. We got to talking, and certain things that I wouldn’t normally be too open about, I was able to talk about more easily.

Funny customer interaction?

I’ll have people come in and say, “It smells good! What do you have in here?” They’ll act like they don’t really know what they’re stepping into, which they probably don’t, but it’s funny to break the ice by saying, “Oh, I got weed here.”

What is a stereotype about cannabis users that’s true and one that you think is false?

The one about being more open to ideas is true. I feel like a lot of people that haven’t tried cannabis are more narrow-minded, but being a part of the industry, I’ve noticed how people actually listen to other people’s ideas and are open to them.

One that isn’t true is that everyone who smokes is lazy. I honestly will wake up, smoke a bowl and start my day. That’s just something that goes with my morning coffee. It’s a ritual. Some people probably think that you can’t get stuff done because you’re smoking all day. But I would say I can use it and be productive as well.

What do you look for in a strain?

I like to be able to function throughout the day, so I lean towards sativas and hybrids. Pineapple or fruit flavored strains are the ones I like, and I definitely use my nose.

What’s special about this shop?

The company motto is “Treat Everyone Like Gold.” When you step in here you’re going to be treated like anyone else, whether you’re the CEO of a company or a person that just wants a joint. Some other shops that I’ve been into just want to get that sale. It’s different here. We want to see what needs we can help you with. We pay a lot of attention to that aspect and it goes a long way.

Favorite way to consume?

I like to smoke out of glass. I have an Empire bong at home. I used to like to roll up blunts but then I got more educated on the stuff I was using, so I stick to more Raw papers and glass now.

What do you do when you’re not here?

Usually I’ll hang out with my family. My cousin is one of the only people that will actually sit down, smoke with you and talk about whatever. Anything that I want to talk about we can just smoke down and talk about it with a bowl.

Are you high right now?

A little bit!

Elev8 Cannabis has been open for nine months. They’re open M-F 8-10 and 10-10 weekends at 2055 West 12th Ave.

Hemp Press: Saving the World One Sheet at a Time

Words by Kelsey Tidball | Photo by Sierra Pedro

Did you know that more than seven billion trees are cut down each year to provide us with paper products alone? Did you know that instead of cutting down all those trees, paper can be made out of hemp? And did you know that hemp paper is sustainable and can be entirely tree-free? Matthew Glyer has spent years of his life grappling with these questions, and when he opened Hemp Press in 2013, he became the proprietor of the first exclusively hemp paper print shop in the nation. Hemp Press is the only printing company of its kind, and it’s located right here in Eugene! The company specializes in creating and designing hemp-based packaging for hemp and marijuana-based products, labels, business cards and their trademark Crutch Cards.

“Hemp paper is controversial,” Glyer says. “The paper mills don’t want to make craft paper and the printers don’t want to print with it.” Glyer says this is mostly due to the fibrous nature of craft papers and the particularity of hemp paper, which is made from the core of the hemp plant.

“Most printers run the risk of having a piece of hemp break off and completely ruin the machine, but ours is equipped for that.” It took Glyer four years to figure out how to print on hemp paper, and now that he has cracked the code, he sees the opportunity to incorporate hemp paper into the economic and agricultural norm.

“Our big goal is to keep manufacturing in the United States and to source the fiber from the United States,” Glyer says.

Previously, the primary source for hemp fiber was Canada, where the government both subsidized and funded the industrial hemp industry. However, since the funds for hemp research and production dried up a few years ago, hemp growers and enthusiasts in the U.S. have been searching for a way to bring the industrial hemp industry to native soil.

“Currently, we do not really have the infrastructure in the U.S. to process hemp fiber,” Glyer says, expressing a desire to inspire farmers to actually grow hemp. However, the farmers need a guarantee that the hemp crops they grow will be turned into products that people will regularly buy and use. This is a promise that is becoming easier to make with the introduction of hemp clothing, beauty products and supplements to mainstream grocery stores like Costco and Whole Foods.

Glyer and his colleagues want to turn hemp into a mainstream agricultural commodity, and they hope their printing business will help people see that hemp is a useful and sustainable crop that could help save the planet.

Historically, hemp was widely used to produce products such as rope, clothing and even classic Henry Ford automobiles. However, following Prohibition, the hemp industry was shut down due to its association with marijuana and other illicit substances. This history of government restrictions makes it exceedingly difficult to restart the industry in the U.S. today.

“Part of getting hemp back in the market is branding,” Glyer says. “Hemp-based branding ought not to scream ‘weed,’ so our branding services aim to produce more subtle designs that connect with a broader market.” Hemp Press prints packaging for beauty products, lotions, smoking accessories and other marijuana-related businesses.

“Ultimately, hemp is good for the planet,” Glyer says. “That’s why we need to keep growing it and keep making everyday things out of it if we can.”

He’s right—hemp is naturally resilient, thus eliminating the need for most pesticides and herbicides. According to a study done by the American Chemical Society, hemp also cleans the soil, absorbs CO2 from the soil as it grows and can be used as a substitute for many non-sustainable products. This includes traditional plastics, building materials, and—of course—paper.

Instagram: @hemp.press

Website: www.hemp.press

Email: contact@hemp.press

 

Like Honey To Bees: Cannabis Extraction from Flower to Jar

Words by Anna Glavash | Photo by Sierra Pedro

If you’ve ever dabbed or vaped cannabis oil, you’ve probably wondered, “How did the cannabis flower become this golden substance?”

Cannabis extracts have come a long way since the dangerous days of open blasting and black-market butane hash oil (BHO). Today’s extraction process is done by highly trained experts in lab coats with state-of-the-art equipment, and the product is put through rigorous tests before going onto dispensary shelves. With so many quality extracts now on the market, it can be tough to choose. Here’s a look at how two innovative local extractors produce premium cannabis oil.

Hydrocarbon Extraction

Willamette Valley Alchemy (WVA) makes a range of top-shelf cannabis products including edibles and solventless concentrates, but specializes in hydrocarbon extracts, which is cannabis oil that’s been separated from dried plant material using a hydrocarbon solvent blend.

The process usually begins with trim or flower that didn’t make it to market for one reason or another, such as small batch or small bud size. WVA mostly works with farms that are Clean-Green certified, which is the cannabis industry’s version of the organic standard. All their products are co-branded, so you know which farm and flower it was made from.

WVA sources locally-manufactured lab equipment from Cascade Botanicals and Sweet Leaf Extractors. They use a passive closed-loop system which allows them to recapture almost all of the solvent for reuse. They clean the equipment obsessively to minimize any contamination, and double-distill their solvents to ensure they’re ultra-clean. Because the flower they source is top-shelf, they only use the highest quality gas and equipment they can get to honor the plant. “We treat everything like gold,” says WVA Head of Production Adam Chase.

Picture yourself in Walter White’s lab from Breaking Bad—and not the one in the Winnebago. Chase may not be a chemistry teacher, but he’s no less meticulous. Here’s what happens in the spark-proof room where the oil is extracted:

The dry plant material is packed into a column through which a liquid gas is pumped. They use a proprietary blend of solvents including butane and propane to separate the cannabinoids from the plant. The gas is chilled to -100 degrees using dry ice.

Once it’s been run through, the solvent is distilled out using warm water and what’s left is the oil. Once filtered, this oil is poured off and put into a vacuum oven for several days to cure. The negative pressure lowers the boiling point of the residual solvent, which slowly bubbles out. The low temperature allows the oil to retain maximum cannabinoids and terpenes for the most similar user experience to smoking the actual flower.

When all the solvent is gone, the product is sent off to be independently tested, and when confirmed that it’s free of solvents and pesticides, it’s packaged onsite. Test results, including THC percentage, are printed on the label.

The extract might be packaged in a resealable plastic pouch or weighed out into tiny glass jars, depending on its consistency. Though the process is the same, different flowers produce different results. Chase likens it to a unique personality: “The lifeforce of one plant is going to be different from that of another plant, even it’s the same strain grown in the same region.” This can range from a very stable “shatter” to a “sauce” or somewhere in between: “budder” or “wax.” Higher terpene content produces a more flavorful but also more volatile, less stable oil. All of these products are best refrigerated.

Chase and co-owner Brice Sherman built WVA to produce exactly what they wanted to smoke and share it with the community. His favorite part of the job? “It helps people who have medical conditions, and it makes people happy. If somebody had a shit day at work and they got home and they had their partner yelling at them, and their dog bit them when they walked in the door but they have their WVA dab ready, and they take that dab and they’re good, that is the most satisfying part. ”

CO2 Extraction

Critical Source (CS) is focused on full-spectrum CO2 oil formulas, but take a very different approach from other vape pen producers. Cartridges are popular for their convenience, but the flavor or effects can be compromised by a quick and dirty extraction process. The goal of CS’s full-spectrum extracts is to replicate the experience of smoking the real flower, but in cartridge form. Not only should the experience feel more authentic, “the effects can last substantially longer than distillate products,” says founding partner Kenan Hester.

CS’s CO2 extraction process is focused on retaining dimensionality and bioactive compounds of the flower through terpene profile preservation and cannabinoid profile retention that’s true to the cultivar—capturing the plant’s unique essence, if you will.

Initially created for the medical market, their extracts are made using CO2 in place of a hydrocarbon solvent. Although more expensive and time-consuming, CO2 is considered among the safest ways to produce and consume extracts. Hester says, “Great extracts that target therapeutic value should capture everything that you want from the plant and strip away everything that you don’t want.” The good stuff is those bio-active terpenes and cannabinoids. In post-processing, they aim to exclude plant compounds like waxes and lipids that can cause irritation in the lungs.

The process goes like this: The flower is put into the extraction chamber and saturated with low-temperature, low-pressure “subcritical” CO2. First, the terpenes are isolated in a liquid form and put aside. Then temperature and pressure is ramped up to “supercritical” levels, and the CO2 extracts the cannabinoids in a process similar to steeping tea.

The system’s patented back-pressure regulator gradually drops levels back down as the solution travels to the collection point, where CO2 and raw extract are separated. The CO2 vapor rises and is recycled back into the system. The raw extract left behind still contains those unwanted plant waxes and lipids, so it’s then homogenized with ethanol and put through a process called winterization to remove them.

Many CO2 extractors aren’t able to isolate the terpenes at the first stage, so they get winterized too, which can destroy them and create a generic flavor and character. Others may spend 2-4 days winterizing, but CS lets theirs go for 10-12 days until absolutely nothing else can be removed, giving their cartridge a very smooth hit.

Finally, the terpenes are reblended with the cannabinoids to achieve the finished product. CS never uses food-grade or bulk-cannabis derived terpenes, so you can be sure everything in the cartridge came from the same source and vaporizing it will mimic the experience of smoking the flower itself.

Hester likens this process to wine blending and says a little goes a long way. “You can have a Cabernet and Merlot blend that has only 1% Merlot, but as soon as you add that in, it can completely change the entire experience.” Similarly, using just a tiny bit of the original terpenes has a huge effect on the character of the extract.

When Hester founded the company in 2014, the market had a lot of great hydrocarbon extracts, but CS saw a need for more connoisseur-grade CO2 extractions. Though the barrier to entry in this method is much higher, CS wanted to advance the quality and availability of options for patients. It maintains these standards of quality in its recreational products and has just launched a premium line of co-branded vape cartridges called Kalapooya Fire. This brand seeks to honor the history of the Kalapuya people, from whom the culture of eco-stewardship in the Willamette Valley originated hundreds of years before the modern cannabis industry. Kalapooya Fire seeks to source from farms that emulate the sustainable practices of the Kalapuya people. To honor this legacy, they’re also launching a scholarship which supports Oregon Native American students who study chemistry & horticulture at the University level.

The Greener Side: Eugene’s Longest Running Dispensary

words by Delaney Rea | photo by Trevor Meyer

When Joe Hopkins moved to Eugene in 2012, Tracktown USA wasn’t his first choice. His family was more drawn to the city of Bend – the snow offered in that part of the state was particularly enticing. However, what ultimately made Eugene the place to go was a different kind of market – the marijuana dispensary market.

Hopkins and his wife, Chelsea, saw a need in the city for a quality provider of cannabis products. That’s why they started The Greener Side, the dispensary that they continue to own and operate. When they started their business, the state legislation hadn’t yet legalized the sale of recreational marijuana. Because of this, The Greener Side started out as a strictly medical dispensary. With this license to sell, the dispensary was welcomed by the cannabis-friendly communities of the city. It’s been on the strength of that community that the business has continued to thrive, making it the longest-running dispensary in Eugene.

However, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Eugene’s senior cannabis supplier. On May 23, 2013, only months after opening, The Greener Side was subject to a government raid. Although they were authorized to sell marijuana to medical patients by state law, federal law had the jurisdiction to intervene. What began as just another day in the cannabis industry saw the arrival of police, who arrested the entire staff. According to Hopkins, his personal home was also raided, private phones were confiscated and the bank accounts of the business were promptly closed. Hopkins’ wife was released that day, and they reopened their business within the next 24 hours. Though the business itself fought to overcome this obstacle, Hopkins said, “support from the community helped us keep going and kept our fire fueled.”

The legislation passed by Measure 91 to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana in 2015 brought relief to the fear of further raids occurring. “We’re extremely happy to be working in the legal market,” Hopkins said. When the new legislation took effect, The Greener side began selling their products recreationally. Soon after, Hopkins saw the customer demographics patronizing his store start to change. 21-year-olds started to come in on their birthdays for their first stop of many. Senior citizens, intrigued by the new market, began purchasing more and more cannabis product, finding it to be an effective medication for many ailments. Hopkins even met a woman who could recall a time before marijuana prohibition, when she had the same freedom to buy that she does now.

Hopkins has seen the normalization of marijuana as a necessary step for the industry since before the days of The Greener Side. Starting out, he decided to change the negative stigma that many people have associated with weed through the actions of his business. Since 2013, The Greener Side has hosted an annual charity golf tournament. This event has raised over $10,000 in the past four years, with the proceeds going toward multiple sclerosis.

As a member of Eugene’s Chamber of Commerce and the International Rotary Club, Hopkins has put his foot in the door of local business to make one thing clear: dispensaries are a credible business model. “It’s pretty awesome that I can go to any Rotary Club meeting in the world now, and I’ll be there for cannabis,” he said. “I can talk about my cannabis openly and proudly now.”

Being the oldest marijuana dispensary in Eugene and Springfield means that The Greener Side has persevered while seeing competitors come and go. While he welcomes the competition, Hopkins recognizes why many of them don’t last, attributing the ongoing success of his business to its commitment to customer integrity. “Changes to the industry don’t affect our protocol,” Hopkins said. Putting the customer first and staying consistent with the quality of the products they offer has earned the business a more loyal following than newer dispensaries that simply follow the latest trends.

Part of the customer loyalty that The Greener Side offers is daily deals that make marijuana consumption more affordable.  “Presumptions are left at the door,” Hopkins said. “When people come in here, they’re all coming in for the same thing. That’s something to better their life.” There are plenty of deals at The Greener Side to help improve customers’ lives. Mondays bring 15 percent off all edible products, and Tuesdays offer 10 percent off any purchase of $40 or over. On Wednesdays, customers can get $5 off the price of The Greener Side’s top-tier strains. Thursdays offer 15 percent off all products based in CBD, the cannabinoid with relaxing effects, and Fridays bring 20 percent off the purchase of seeds. Additionally, The Greener Side has a free membership program that customers can use to get further discounts and win periodically offered prizes.

Ultimately, the successful business Hopkins has built is only the beginning of the company’s potential. On Nov. 10, The Greener Side opened a new location in Detroit Lake, Oregon. Hopkins hopes to next franchise out into the greater Eugene and Springfield area. With an emphasis on customer loyalty, commitment to superior quality and a business model that has proven longevity, the future of The Greener Side looks bright.