A Brush in Both Worlds

Words by Renee Thompson, Lily Brennan, Kaylynn Wohl 

Green Eugene staff have the unique ability to peer into the realms of both cannabis as an industry and journalism beat, and also form their own perspective as creative artists of a multitude of different backgrounds. For the Arts & Cannabis Issue, we invited them to tell their story on this intersection here.

Renee Thompson

My cannabis journey started when I was in college, and emerged as a way to treat my anxiety and other health conditions. The first thing I ever tried was a tincture. But within a few months I was smoking out of pipes and bongs. As someone who had been making art my whole life, I was able to explore art in a new way. I don’t think that cannabis is something that works for everyone with anxiety, and I highly recommend seeking mental health support before trying any cannabis products. But once you make that decision to start using cannabis, you honestly might as well get into a hobby like making art. Especially if you are one that has trouble doing things while high. However, I don’t think one needs to smoke or ingest cannabis to be a great artist. Making art, sober or not, is it’s own experience. While I recognize that it is a helpful tool for others, I don’t feel like I need cannabis every time I create, it’s just fun. I also love the community of cannabis artists. Some people are more so in the canna-closet, but it’s always fun to swap cannabis and art stories. 

Ever since I could hold a pencil, I have been making art. I’ve made acrylic, oil and watercolor paintings as well as many mixed media hand-cut collages and many clay things. I was fortunate growing up to have a family that supported my art, and a Godmother who was going to UCLA for art history. She would let me play with old supplies, and even sneak me into a lecture or two. My parents have always been a big support, and always took me to museums and different festivals. So I grew up in a very art-friendly environment. When I was in school, I took every opportunity to take art classes. In my senior year of high school along with taking advanced placement art I was a teacher assistant for, you guessed it: an art class. However, it wasn’t until I took my second ceramics class in college that I got to experience making art while high.

My personal experiences making art while high have been excellent. Since I have been using cannabis for a while now, I feel comfortable doing intricate work. Sometimes it is hard to work on a piece when it enters a stage of being done. A misplaced stroke or cut could undo hours of hard work. This is especially true with ceramics, as it is an art process with several stages. But throwing clay on a potter’s wheel and getting lost in your own little world after smoking a joint with someone you love is a feeling unmatched by much in this world. While I didn’t make much cannabis-inspired art until I transferred to UO, the first piece I did create is titled High Tide. It is a 4”x6” hand-cut collage using a photo my grandfather took as a base. It combines recycled magazines and other ephemera and some golden paint. I think that the piece becoming cannabis-inspired came to me as a flash decision. Most of my collage work is based on flash decisions.

The first step is always looking through ephemera, magazines being my favorite. After flipping through and tearing out pages, I try and figure out what should go where. After meticulous cutting, everything is placed where it would be pasted, and I meditate on why I picked certain things. Placement and accumulated meaning is analyzed, and I do a second pass at my material to see if I can add anything new to the piece. Some people would think that using cannabis while doing art would lead to clumsy mistakes, but I find that it is easier to block out the busyness of the world and focus on art while high. Most of my collage work is inspired by my love of vintage things, reusing materials, and my mixed background. I love mixing together things you wouldn’t see side-by-side in a magazine but feels like you could. Things from the past are always being dragged back into the present, and to me it feels wonderful to make art out of things that people didn’t want anymore or were meant to be thrown away.

Like most artists, I feel like I go through phases. Drawing, painting, and sewing seem to always be in rotation, but I can’t wait to have access to a good clay space and quilting space. Currently I’ve been messing around a lot with digital work, and my roommate and I make pinback buttons and stickers. It’s been really fun to do as I was scared of making digital art for the longest time. I first started by making zines, and even tabled at the UO Zine Fest in 2019. It can be intimidating to enter a new phase, especially since it is so much easier to compare yourself to others on social media and such, but it’s always better to just bite the bullet and go for it. Who knows what phase will come next for me, but you can bet that it will be preceded and followed by a plume of skunky smoke.

If you’re interested in seeing Renee’s work you can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, or on her website.

         Instagram: @renee.eporita

         Twitter: @eporita

https://rethompson55555.wixsite.com/portfolio

Lily Brennan

The other day I was at Joann Fabrics just resupplying materials. If you’ve ever bought fabric from Joann Fabrics before, then you must know the dreaded question the workers ask you while measuring and cutting your desired items: “So, what are you making with this?”

I never know what to say. I always go with a safe white lie of, “Oh, you know. A costume.” Or even the occasional, “I’m making stuffed animals for a friend.” Those answers are much easier to swallow than the truth. The truth being that I’m making a six-foot-long orange octopus-esque creature with diamond-patterned skin, all of which I believe to be a guide of sorts to an afterlife.

Hard to swallow, right?

My name’s Lily Wai Brennan. I’m a multi-disciplinary textile artist, inspired by experiences I have with the in-betweenness of dreams and reality. These experiences manifest as critiques on queerness, the body, childhood speculation, and personal relations. I often imagine that my artwork exists in its own childhood TV show, and I’m the token human living in this absurd reality.

I’ve been making art professionally for seven years. I’ve probably been smoking pot for just as long. In ways they feel involved with each other. Since I make surreal, trippy work about losing touch with the borders of our realities, being high feels incredibly prevalent. Smoking is when all those borders really fold and push away, and you’re finally able to take a step outside of yourself. I crave those solitary moments where reality begins to morph before me. Senses are amplified, yet impaired. My thoughts race through uncanny scenarios. I’m at my best when I lose touch with it all.

When the media began blasting my eyes with the horrendous images of beaten Asian Americans earlier this year, I lit a joint and sat on my balcony. My body and its likeness to the images I was being fed felt hollow, and I knew I had to make art about it. So, I did. That day, as I smoked to calm my nerves, I decided to create a racial persona for myself, as an avatar to contribute to the Stop Asian Hate campaign. A few weeks later I presented a successful solo exhibition titled Yellow Kid, showcasing this new body of work I invented in my head when I was high.

I’ve never fully considered the role weed plays for me and my art, but in ways it does feel important. Not only does it manifest experiential inspiration for me while being high, but it also grounds me too. It is both an innovative tool and a coping tool. That being said, I never smoke while working. I prefer absolute silence and solitude as I slave away at my projects; any outside sensory puts me out of my focus. But, weed always comes in during my brainstorming process. So, if you’re ever stuck on any concepts, I high-ly recommend just relaxing and lighting up. 

You’ll be surprised at what you might uncover.

Instagram: @lilywaibrennan

https://www.lilywaibrennan.com/

Kaylynn Wohl

The first mediums explored in my leisurely art career included pen and ink, and acrylic and chalk/oil pastels. When drawing on weed, I often felt like I forgot how to draw, how to make straight lines, or how to accurately portray my vision. Whereas, pastels were a blast on weed. Getting messy and using my fingers was such a tactile exploration while learning to prioritize the process rather than the destination. Coating my hands in vibrant chalky hues and smearing them onto paper was such a wholesome joy. It wasn’t until 2016 when I tried clay on weed for the first time, and boy was I thrilled. Being stoned and all of the ASMR aspects of ceramics created a soothing environment that encourages me to trust the weird grasping tools attached to my wrists. The sound of dry clay scratching or the sound of the clay sludge sloshing around sounds much more appealing when high claying. Plus, it feels like a socially acceptable form of playing in the mud. Wheel throwing is a dizzying challenge where I’d get hypnotized by my spinning uncentered lump of clay. I try to stick to weed and clay on a motionless surface, where all ego must be left at the door. Regardless of being high or not, the clay will do what it wants to do and it’s best to listen and humble myself along the way. There is something comforting about smoking herbs and doing ceramics; both come from the earth. 

Our household is pretty weedy. After a solo silent session that increasingly got louder and more vivid, I realized we as adults were far better than our out-of-service-candle ashtray. I retired the once upon a time apple cinnamon candle and upgraded to using a “real” ashtray that is a functioning piece of art. 

Maybe it’s the little boy in me still giggling about genitalia, but I had the humorous desire to sculpt vagina ashtrays. After exploring the first few trials, my immature child self grew up and conspired the true reason to create these pieces. They’re meant to sit on your coffee table or on your porch or wherever one leaves their burnt bits. With guests who frequent this household utility, conversation spark after realizing what they’re ashing into. This unavoidable situation I frequently encounter has led me to witty and educational comebacks. I ask if they are uncomfortable with the piece and why. Would a penis be more comfortable for you? This question is tricky because the wrong crowd says yes and requests a custom made clay phallus. To be frank, the penis discourse is tiresome and unoriginal. I got to thinking, why isn’t all genitalia  taboo, or, better yet, why is the vagina more taboo? Within these questions lie the many implications of gender inequality. But for now, this is cannabis and ceramic cooters. 

My pieces are created to stir the pot, arouse the house guests, make some people uncomfortable but then reflect why, and of course to be a functioning vessel. Instead of continuing the hush-hush nature around the vagina while “penis” is shouted across the room, I hope to inspire conversation around body positivity. 

Kaylynn Wohl, staff writer and vagina pottery girl

Instagram: klaylynnsclay 

Budtender Spotlight: Skylar Nitesh from Eugreen Health Center

Written and photographed by Kimberly Harris

Skylar Nitesh, a Florida native, moved to Eugene about 9 months ago after saving up for two years to make the move. It was a dream of his to come out to the West Coast. Nitesh started working at the Eugreen Health Center in February 2021 and has already come to love his job as a budtender. Working in the heart of downtown each week allows Nitesh to meet a variety of people, and he already has a collection of weird stories. 

Were any of your past job’s cannabis related? If not, what type of jobs did you have before budtending? 

         I was a correctional officer for two years, used to manage a Papa Murphy’s and I worked in construction and retail before applying here. Before I applied to a few dispensaries, I met someone who was a manager at another dispensary, and he helped me punch up my resume with some tips to stand out from the crowd of applications. I enjoy work that makes me feel like I’m making an impact and working at a dispensary allows me to see how cannabis can benefit people. 

Did you have an influence or inclination to work within the cannabis industry? 

         Cannabis saved my life, after working as a correctional officer for two years, my mental health was broken from work-related stresses. I found salvation in support from my parents, listening to music and finding out about the benefits that cannabis can have on stress and depression. It’s slowly increasing my quality of life. 

         The cannabis industry is a unique opportunity. It’s very straight forward and finding a balance between work and life is easier within this industry. I feel like my managers care about me, give me autonomy within my position and they listen to my input. Feeling like you’re being heard by your management is important. 

What type of people do you meet working downtown? Do you have any funny stories? 

         There was a gentleman who walked in with an open container, not wearing a mask, and laid down on our front door mat to take a nap. 

         I also sometimes hear people screaming on the street or talking to themselves, probably because of a mental illness they’re not able to treat, but I always check out what’s going on and it’s not usually super bad – just usual downtown behavior. 

What’s something you enjoy about cannabis? 

         Everything. Lately I’ve been calling myself a “terp slut” because I love smelling each strain’s terpenes, and I’ve been super into dabs lately. There’s some good scents and flavors. 

Is there a certain strain or a type of high that you look for? 

         I tend to stay away from sativa strains because of the anxiousness it can cause, so I go towards hybrids or indicas. I enjoy energetic strains sometimes, but they can’t be over-stimulating. Although, I personally look for terpenes. It’s all about the nose for me and some terpene profiles can smell so good, like blueberry muffins.

Do you have a favorite way to consume? 

         I use an electric nectar collector. It’s small, compact, easy to clean and not that expensive. The one that I have has an attachment that hooks to my rig so it can be used as an e-nail too. I enjoy cannabis alone and with people. I think it’s helped me socialize with new friends, and the latter, it’s also helped me do a lot of introspective work to help better myself. 

Tell me about your favorite go-to munchie. 

Sushi is the number one, but sometimes I’ll mix it up with Mexican food. I like variety in my food and in my strains. 

What is something rewarding from being a budtender? 

 Knowing that I’m making a difference in people’s lives, I get to joke around with customers, get to know who they are and work in a casual, fun atmosphere. We have some amazing customers. They have a lot to do with the experience and they’ll bring in their artwork to share with us or even sell in our shop. I’ve been able to make genuine connections with customers – I truly enjoy my job as a budtender. 

Cannabis Art History Around The World

written by Renee Thompson

Originating in Central Asia, the use of cannabis sativa hemp spread across into China around 2800 BC. Later, around 10,000 BC an artist in Neolithic Japan created what is thought to be the earliest visual depiction of cannabis in a cave near what is now Kyushu. The painting shows the leaf motif common in many cannabis inspired artworks, and also appears to show smoke, an animal, and a person. During this time, hemp seeds were used as a food source, fiber material, and smoked in Asia. Over thousands of years many cultures would use and alter the cannabis plant, leading to its use in many rituals and artworks, and a higher concentration of THC. Even language was impacted by the cannabis plant’s iconic leaf design. The Chinese character (麻), which is the character used for hemp, is thought to be two cannabis plants underneath a shelter. Thousands of years later, in 1800, East Asian art like ‘Lovers’ by Choki still showed the culture’s developed relationship with the cannabis plant.

As the cannabis plant traveled to the West through India and the Middle East, smoking cannabis became a ritualistic fashion. The Greek father of history, Herodotus, wrote about how Scythians in 440 BC would throw hemp on hot stones and breathe in the vapor and rejoice. This method of smoking cannabis could very well be the inspiration behind “getting stoned.” The style of ingesting cannabis by placing the plant on hot stones is thought to have originated in China, where cannabis was ingested using brazier’s and stones at funerals. Chinese researcher Yimin Yang believes that this practice was done in hopes of communicating “with nature, spirits, or deceased people.” These ceremonies usually included music and dancing, which could be the origin of the relationship between music and cannabis.

There are even visual renderings of cannabis gods and goddesses, which were seen in Egyptian, East Asia, India, and several other indigenous cultures around the globe. Most commonly, Mother Earth is shown as the patron goddess of Earth and everything green, cannabis included, which is why many modern cannabis-inspired works incorporate her image. In Egypt the goddess Seshat is the patron of writing, creativity, scripture, and mathematics. It is believed that she originated written language, and that she harnessed some power from the cannabis plant. Seshat is usually depicted with a cannabis leaf above her head. In China during the Song Dynasty, the goddess Magu is known as the Immortal Hemp Maiden. Ma Ku, a Taoist goddess whose immortality is said to be the cause of her knowledge and use of superior medicines like the Elixir of Life. In her folkloric stories, Ma Ku is said to have invited Taoist philosophers to smoke some herb, as well as eat foods from the heavens. In India, the god Shiva is known as the originator and lord of bhang, a cannabis based paste that was used throughout the country in 1000 BC.

As cannabis traveled to Europe, during Medieval times, the Renaissance, and Enlightenment periods lead to an influx in botany-based artworks. These were commonly works produced by monks studying plants and are more scientific in nature. Much like diagrams in textbooks, these artists would rely on the illustrations to further their understanding of the world. They would spend a long time illustrating things like the growing stages of the plant, the plant’s natural environment, and other organisms that may co-habituate with the plant.

During marijuana prohibition, there were many anti-cannabis propaganda works made, such as ‘Reefer Madness.’ These posters and works were meant to highlight negative stereotypes surrounding the substance and those who use it. Art made in, or inspired from, the 1960s is what most people have seen of cannabis art. It usually uses bright colors and is said to be influenced by other hallucinogenic substances such as magic mushrooms and LSD. One interesting artistic niche during this time was the alternative comix movement. This is when publications like Zap Comix by Robert Crumb would expand the comics medium to extend to more adult topics like sex, drinking, and drugs; like cannabis. There are many subtle and clear-cut references to cannabis use in alternative comics, like in Robert Crumb’s comix strip titled ‘Stoned Again.’ Rick Griffin, the illustrator behind ‘A Puff of Kief’ was also a part of the alternative underground comix movement of the 1960s.

In modern times, as legalization support is growing and with the increased connectivity of the internet, there is more cannabis-inspired artwork than ever before. Many ceramic and glass artists have taken to making intricate delivery systems for cannabis, and several illustrators have made cannabis art and merchandise. However, social media apps like Instagram and Facebook have been known to ‘shadow ban’ or penalize these cannabis artist accounts. Censorship in cannabis-inspired art is not new, and has been happening for hundreds of years, but that doesn’t make it any less harmful to cannabis artists and it won’t erase the rich ancient history humans have with cannabis.

Sources:

https://www.vice.com/en/article/78yvgz/a-visual-history-of-the-pot-leaf-weedweek2017

https://www.leafbuyer.com/blog/cannabis-art/

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/2500-year-old-chinese-cemetery-offers-earliest-physical-evidence-cannabis-smoking-180972410/

https://hightimes.com/culture/internet-marijuana-censorship/

http://plantillustrations.org/volume.php?id_volume=6863

http://www.japanhemp.org/en/ukiyoe.htm

https://www.britannica.com/plant/hemp

https://www.northernstandard.com/a-brief-history-of-cannabis-in-art/

The Mother Plant of the Goddess — Cannabis

High Recommendations: WVA Gummies

Written and photographed by Alexandra Arnett

As a medical cannabis patient, edibles are some of my favorite ways to consume cannabis. To help with my anxiety I typically use 5mg-10mg of THC or a 5mg/5mg ratio of THC and CBD every few hours throughout the day. I also suffer from chronic pain due to a lower back injury I obtained when I was a gymnast, so in addition to regularly using cannabis topicals during the day, I do prefer to eat a high dose edible before bed so I can sleep through the night. There are hundreds of edible brands on the recreational market but few choose to branch out into having vegan options, especially when it comes to gummies. My favorite edibles are ones that are made with infused butter or coconut oil and use solventless concentrate. Cannabinoids bind with fat molecules to help your body absorb them better, instead of breaking down quickly and passing through your system. Due to its high saturated fat content, coconut oil is one of the best infusion mediums for helping cannabinoids bind to fat molecules for better absorption.

Right now my favorite edibles on the Oregon market are from Willamette Valley Alchemy. I’ve been a long time fan of the company, particularly because they produce wonderful Live Resin cartridges and have strain specific vegan edibles. Finding vegan edible gummy options can be difficult and it is even harder to find ones that are made with quality ingredients, no food dyes, and so on. Willamette Valley Alchemy gummies are made with coconut oil, fruit purees, have no artificial flavorings or food dyes, and they now offer two vegan options! The first vegan option they offered were 1:1 THC/CBD vegan gummies. The particular package I have now was infused with Sour Banana Sherbet and Cherry Wine. 

Next up, a product they recently released are their vegan 50mg THC gummies, infused with solventless concentrate! The batch I have currently is infused with GMO x Sunset Octane. Both options come with 10 pieces, with the 1:1 ratio having roughly 5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD per gummy and the 50mg THC option having roughly 5mg of THC per gummy. These vegan gummies are the perfect option for dosing throughout the day or if you just want to munch on a few gummies instead of a single one to reach that 50mg dosage. Occasionally I have seen limited edition flavors added into their product line, but each of their staple gummies come in a blend of five flavors per package. Strawberry Blast is my favorite, other flavors included are Passionfruit Punch, Blueberry Bliss, Sunrise Grapefruit and LaLa Lychee. If I’m being honest, all of their flavors are delicious.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to try Willamette Valley Alchemy’s’ products yet, I highly recommend picking up any one of their products. From their Live and Cured Resin cartridges to their numerous strain specific edibles, this company is an Oregon cannabis industry staple.

Strain of The Month – Bacio Gelato

Written and photographed by Alexandra Arnett

Recently, my place of work purchased some Bacio Gelato from Wee Farms. Wee Farms is a cannabis producer utilizing hydroponic methods here in Oregon. They are one of the only hydroponic farms in Oregon that are Clean Green Certified—which if you remember from my last article Cannabis and the Environment—is an organization that helps to ensure cannabis producers are using sustainable growing practices, no harmful pesticides, etc. 

Bacio Gelato is one of their newest harvests and is a cross between Sunset Sherbet and Thin Mint GSC. The original genetics come from the Sherbinskis Gelato line and is an indica-dominant phenotype. This particular batch from Wee Farms definitely lived up to the high THC reputation this phenotype has, containing 30.84% THC. Now, before I continue, I’d like to reiterate that THC level is not everything and terpenes play an important role in the high and effect you are going to feel from any particular phenotype. Everyone’s endocannabinoid system is unique to their body and not everyone is going to have the same experience.

Right off the bat this flower had a pungent skunky smell with a sweet undertone. While there was no terpene report collected on this flower, the aroma speaks for itself. From my experience, this flower seems to have notes of myrcene, linalool, limonene and beta caryophyllene. This flower is also particularly rich in anthocyanins, making it a very pretty blend of purple and green among the dense nugs coated in trichomes and orange hairs.

After loading a nicely packed bowl into my freshly cleaned piece, it only took a small hit of this thirty-percenter to get me where I needed. At first, you may feel inclined to finish off the bowl, but I advise you to take a few moments and sit with it, it creeps up on you! I’ll admit, I almost forgot that I had to finish writing about the effects of this flower after because I decided to finish off the bowl for the evening. This cultivar had a very euphoric effect, more so than I intended as my preferred effect is relaxed and/or sleepy. While this flower did have a high THC content, I didn’t notice much anxiety from it, which could be attributed to the terpene profile. And again, this particular batch did not come with a terpene profile report so I can only go off of my nose and the familiarity I have with the particular aromas terpenes produce. After finishing off the bowl, I zoned out to a TV show for a while and eventually fell into a great sleep. Because I typically prefer to smoke in the evening, I like to stick with flower profiles that won’t make me groggy in the morning. I was very happy that I woke up feeling fairly refreshed after smoking the Bacio Gelato from Wee Farms. Bacio Gelato is overall a nice stoney and euphoric strain, perfect for letting your mind wander and unwinding from the day’s stresses.

Supporting Local Artists

Written and photographed by Kimberly Harris

The Eugene Saturday Market features local artists who show off and sell their crafts every weekend. I was fortunate enough to talk to a few artists at the market and get to know a little bit about their work and experiences coming into their craft. 

Audra Blake, Eugene Ore. – The Sock Monkey Lady  

Blake has owned and operated her own sock monkey business for five years, although she started making sock monkeys about ten years ago after accepting a new job. When Blake’s mother got sick, and needed around the clock care, Blake started working the night shift. She was able to take care of her mother during the day and with the extra time she had working quiet nights, Blake started to make the toys  for her nephews. Blake was able to pick up sewing with the extra time, and it’s evolved into making 200 – 300 sock monkeys each year. She’s made thousands of sock monkeys over the years, and every monkey is made with the same sewing machine that her mother used to make clothes with. “It’s nice to see all the little kids playing with the toys and seeing them happy,” Blake says.  

Desiree T., Springfield, Ore. – Earth Elements Candle Co. 

Desiree started making candles in 2017 while living in Malibu, California. She would mix sand and other elements from the beach into her candles. In 2018, Desiree relocated and started to sell her candles at the Eugene Holiday Market and has since sold her candles at the Saturday Market, the Tuesday Market, local stores, and events. When Desiree first started her business, she designed and wrote each label by hand. As her business has grown, she’s been able to find more efficient ways to produce her labels but is still the creative behind her business design. Desiree is always mixing new scents and seasonally changing her candles, she says the different scents that she has are endless. Her nature-inspired scents like almond, lavender, peach and even cannabis are extracted from natural sources. The “Exotic Hemp” candle is a cannabis-infused soy wax that has an earthy and spice scent topped with a cannabis leaf. 

Brigitte McBride, Turner, Ore. – Goose Hill Gifts 

“Once I discovered air plants, it was all over,” McBride says, describing how she started making nature inspired home decor like terrariums and mini magnetic vases that hold plants. McBride has been making terrariums for three years but before, McBride was selling at the Saturday Market for 12 years with another business that blended sea salts, flavors and herbs. When the mortars would break, McBride started to incorporate succulents to help sell them, which has progressed into customized terrariums. Everything is hand crafted and the terrariums are from repurposed jars. She usually offers a build-your-own-terrarium station at her stand, but precautions for COVID-19 evolved the activity into terrarium kits that people can buy and build on their own. McBride creates a couple hundred terrariums a year but is constantly thinking of new projects like her hemp necklaces. “My problem is that I have so many ideas, but I can only make so much stuff, it’s always evolving,” said McBride.

Bret Pendlebury, Miami, FL – Bret Pendlebury 

Collections of old yearbooks, photographs and plants or critters in his studio are Pendlebury’s inspiration behind his paintings. The Miami native relocated to Eugene six years ago and started selling his work at the Saturday Market a year later. Pendlebury has been a professional painter for ten years but has been influenced by art and creatives his whole life like his father, brother and grandfather, who was also a painter. He sells his works on Etsy, Instagram, his website and in his studio located in Eugene. Pendlebury says he paints fast and small, creating about 30 new paintings each year. “If I don’t make new paintings each week, I don’t feel accomplished,” said Pendlebury.

Where’s the Weed, Anime?

Written by Annie McVay, photographed by Renee Thompson

If you’re anything like me, you’ve noticed an astounding lack of cannabis in anime. Growing up in the United States, we’re constantly bombarded with jokes and references to using cannabis. We know bloodshot eyes are a dead giveaway and that you’d better have a dang delicious drink to cure the oncoming cottonmouth. Even when pot was illegal in all 50 states, there were iconic films themed around Mary Jane. Cheech and Chong: Up in Smoke has long been praised for starting the stoner entertainment genre in the United States. With anime comprising 60% of the world’s animation-based entertainment, I have to ask: where’s the weed? 

But hey, let’s start with the fun part and recount the times cannabis has appeared in anime! Anyone who’s watched Samurai Champloo knows that hip-hop beats aren’t the only dank part of this action-packed series. In episode nine, “Beatbox Bandits,” Mugen is caught by the Tengu warrior-priests while on a mission to deliver a severed head, which inevitably leads to starting sacks of weed on fire in the storage shed to escape imprisonment. During the escape, Mugen inhales the purple haze emitted from the burning “holy grass,” causing a psychedelic fight scene. Although the warrior priests didn’t get to use their cannabis to start a revolution in the Japanese government, it did save Fuu and Jin from execution.

Besides that blatant representation of cannabis, anime has very obscure references and negative outlooks on the substance. In episode 20 of Assassination Classroom, Nagisa scolds Yuji, a minor character, for smoking cannabis. Detroit Metal City (highly nonsensical and full of jokes, not for the light-hearted) features the manager making the main character Souichi smoke cannabis in hopes of unleashing his true evil. If you’ve ever watched Eureka Seven, then you’re bound to have questions about Stoner, who is modeled after Che Guevara. And while Che Guevara never smoked the drug or promoted its use, we’ve all seen his image on smoking paraphernalia. Other honorable mentions would have to go to Brook from One Piece and Pannacotta Fugo from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, who both have “purple haze” incorporated in their respective arsenal.

 So what’s the deal? For so much anime out there, the number of cannabis references is ludicrously low. Things become a lot more clear-cut after considering Japan’s strict laws against cannabis and the history behind them. Using or possessing Mary Jane can get someone up to five years in jail, and a fine, wholesale, transport, or cultivation can earn someone a 7 to 10-year sentence. Cannabis has been illegal since the Potsdam Declaration after the end of World War II in 1948. Yet, before WWII, the entire country of Japan used cannabis for all sorts of ceremonies and traditions. Shinto priests burned cannabis to exorcise demons, pilgrims left it as offerings on shrines, and families even burned it outside their homes during Obon, Japan’s festival of the dead, to invite ancestral spirits. 

Japan is so staunchly against cannabis that they believe the substance is one of the most deadly drugs known to man. Ironically, Japan doesn’t classify cigarettes or alcohol as drugs, either. Drinking is so socially acceptable that no laws are prohibiting cracking open a cold one with the boys in public. Alcohol itself is sold 24/7 at convenience stores, supermarkets, and even in vending machines on the street. It’s also normal to show up to work hungover (so much so workers are not allowed to call out when hungover). Co-workers love to drink together after work, and refusing an invitation can be interpreted as an insult. 

While drinking in public and smoking cigarettes are a-okay, cannabis will land you in a world of social shame and criminal charges. Neighbors and even doctors will narc on anyone they suspect of smoking reefer. Various celebrities have been caught enjoying cannabis, and it kills their career. Junnosuke Taguchi, a former male idol of KAT-TUN, was initially facing the death penalty for smoking a joint with his girlfriend. Fans even lament their idols’ poor choices and rally at their subsequent press releases to express support for “getting clean.” 

But fear not! Shining through like a ray of sunshine is Michiko Kameishi, a determined lawyer who claims she’s “always thought that Japan’s Cannabis Control Law is absurd.” Kameishi is a skillful and intelligent lawyer who hates “unreasonable regulations that have no scientific basis.” After hearing how Los Angeles had trendy dispensaries and parties with frequent cannabis use, she knew the time had come to act. Japan may be steeped in propaganda surrounding cannabis, but Kameishi and the power of science may just change the country yet. And if attitudes about cannabis become more positive, we’re bound to see more references in anime.

420 Tune Guide

written by Renee Thompson @renee.eporita

I have yet to meet a stoner that doesn’t have a go-to album or band to toke to. Some gravitate  more to the traditional sounds, like songs from Bob Marley and the Grateful Dead, and others listen to really out-of-the-box stuff. Either way, all stoners alike  would agree that music and weed go together better than (medicated) peanut butter and jelly. 

For those looking to listen to full albums, I have listed four that are my favorite to listen to while high along with a recommended strain pairing. I’ve also listed 2o of the ultimate 420-themed songs. Songs #1-10 have references to weed in them and songs #11-20 have a certain 420 energy and are visually compelling music videos to watch while high. As an added bonus, to my knowledge every artist besides Masayoshi Tanaka has at least dabbled in cannabis consumption. Hope you enjoy! 

4 Albums You Should Listen To High:

         1. The Rainbow Goblins by Masayoshi Takanaka (Pineapple Upside Down Cake) 

         2. Hit Vibes by Skylar Spence a.k.a. Saint Pepsi (Blueberry Muffin) 

         3. Ugly Cherries by PWR BTTM (Purple Hindu Kush) 

         4. Clandestino by Manu Chao (GG #4) 

20 Songs (10 about weed, 10 from weedos)

  1. Marijuana by Reverend Horton Heat 
  1. I Wanna Smoke by Gangsta Pat 
  1. High Time by Grateful Dead 
  1. Boomer by Bartees Strange
  1. Sweet Leaf by Black Sabbath 
  1. Paper Planes by M.I.A. 
  1. Addicted by Amy Winehouse 
  1. Bam Bam by Sister Nancy 
  1. It’s All Going To Pot by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
  1. La Cucaracha by Lila Downs 
  1. Punk Rock Girl by Dead Milkmen
  1. Over Our Heads/Meet Your God by Off 
  1. 私は愛に ハイです by Yung Bae 

 14. Frontier Psychiatrist by The Avalanches 

15. Horse by Salvatore Ganacci 

 16. C’mere by Interpol 

17. Something For Your M.I.N.D. by Superorganism

 18.  The Less I Know the Better by Tame Impala 

 19. Hymnal by Open Mike Eagle 

  20. Weedcard by Garfunkel and Oates 

YouTube: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-Rtnwzo7SPU6Ok6r-M6YZAkGuxxfE_Q5

Ultimate Air Fryer Munchies

Written and photographed by Allie Holt

After smoking a bowl, a case of the munchies hits me fast. Immediately I go into the kitchen looking for a quick snack, only to find three ingredients: graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows. I loved eating s’mores as a kid when camping, but I don’t have a campfire in my apartment. My only s’mores-making tool is my quick and easy air fryer. And when having a case of the munchies, an air fryer is perfect for quick snacks. Ranging from salty to sweet, here are three tried-and-true air fryer snack recipes that are sure to satisfy your munchie cravings. 

  1. Crispy Potato Wedges with Homemade Red Robin Campfire Sauce

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients: 5 small russet potatoes, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper,  mayonnaise, barbecue sauce and chipotle powder

If you value savory treats, these potato wedges are meant for you. Begin slicing the potatoes in half lengthwise, creating a wedge shape. Soak your potato wedges in salty ice water for 20 minutes. The salt will add flavor and the water will make the potatoes crispy. After your 20 minutes are up, thoroughly dry the wedges with a paper towel. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees and place the wedges into a large bowl. Generously sprinkle garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper and two tablespoons of olive oil. Shake the oil and seasonings around in the bowl to coat the wedges.

Toss the wedges into the air fryer for 15 minutes, and don’t forget to shake them every five minutes so they cook evenly. While the potatoes fry, you can recreate Red Robin’s famous Campfire sauce. To do this, mix one cup of mayonnaise and barbecue sauce together then sprinkle a teaspoon of chipotle powder. Stir it all together and you’ve made a delicious, smokey dipping sauce for your crispy potato wedges!

  1. Cinnamon Apple Crisps

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

This recipe is easy, healthy and satisfying for your sweet tooth. All you need is one apple of any flavor and cinnamon. Slice your apple into thin slices and sprinkle each slice with cinnamon. Minimally overlap the slices in the air fryer and place the metal rack on top to keep the slices from blowing around. Flip the slices every five minutes for ultimate crispiness at 300 degrees until the 15 minutes are up. Enjoy your fried cinnamon apple slices after a morning wake and bake session or as a post workout snack!

  1. Sloppy S’mores

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients: Large Hershey’s chocolate bar, graham crackers and marshmallows

If you’re a fan of chocolate, these sloppy s’mores will please your late night craving for sweets without a campfire. Split your graham crackers and marshmallows in half, then place the marshmallows onto each cracker. Firmly place the sticky marshmallow side onto an empty cracker, and place in the air fryer for five minutes at 390 degrees. After your five minutes are up, remove the crackers and top with two squares of a Hershey’s chocolate bar. The chocolate will begin to melt on top of the warm marshmallow, creating a sloppy and tasty midnight snack!

Instead of running to the market to grab on the go snacks, pull out your air fryer and give one of these recipes a try! 

Budtender Spotlight: Moniker Gee

Written and photographed by Annie McVay 

  1. What inspired you to work in the cannabis industry?

I actually had a friend that said I should try it out. And I have partaken in cannabis for a long time, so I’ve definitely seen a lot of benefits for myself. To even have this as a job is kind of like pretty surreal. I enjoy working with stuff that aligns with my morals, like plant medicine, and something so natural. Hearing customers come back and be like, “I have chronic pain, and I use this lotion every night, and it’s made such a difference!” Just hearing that is really heart-warming and inspiring to see that what I’m doing can make a difference in people’s quality of life.

  1. Would you say that cannabis is a viable natural medicine?

Oh yeah, most definitely it’s one of the best, and it’s sad that we don’t get that recognition. It is so helpful, and everyday I’m reminded of how people use it for medicine. That’s probably my favorite part of the job. Getting people off pharmaceuticals and hearing cannabis got them off so many pills and stuff. I’m just like, yes! This is so much better for you! 

  1. How different do you feel being a budtender is compared to other customer service positions?

I think that it’s a bit more personal of an interaction. You’re not just going into the store and buying groceries to cook food. You are coming in with a purpose, whether that’s to have fun, or to help you sleep, to help pain, anxiety, or just relax at the end of a long day.

  1. What are some benefits you’ve noticed from recreational cannabis being available?

Unlike Oregon, many states have police who are still trying to regulate something so minute. Like, cannabis is a plant that people are doing recreationally. I think that overall it’s better that Oregon can focus on more devastating substances to crack down on. That’s definitely one of the things I would say is a benefit to having legalized cannabis, and also the fact that people have the opportunity to treat any ailments. They feel that cannabis is helping them. And doing it in a safe way that’s not illegal and kind of in their control. It’s not like a shady deal on the street. They can come into a store and feel welcomed and heard and that there’s a variety of options for them to try. 

  1. What is one of your favorite strains?

I’m definitely into more heavy, sedative strains. I would say Granddaddy Purple or Purple Punch are two of my favorites.

  1. Do you have a favorite farm or brand?

I really like Oregrown. Some of their flowers have been some of the most beautiful nugs I’ve ever seen, and I totally enjoy their concentrates.

  1. How do you prefer to consume cannabis?

It really depends on what I’m looking for. If I’m having a bad back day and a lot of pain, I tend to go for tinctures or edibles. I like a lot of the one-to-ones or two-to-ones with CBD and THC being combined. I find a lot of relief from that. But if it’s just for fun and relaxing, I would say probably smoking flower or dabbing. I definitely prefer indica, sometimes sativas can heighten my senses, but indicas tend to relax my pain the best.

  1. What activities do you enjoy while partaking in cannabis?

I love to be outside in nature. Hiking, that’s probably my favorite thing to do while smoking. Mount Pisgah has got a lot of nice trails, locally. I tend to go to a lot of different trails each time. Spencer Butte is another good one. There’s a lot of waterfall hikes, like Upper Trestle Creek Falls, too.

  1. What advice do you have for customers celebrating 420 for the first time?

I would say if you’re a light user to go slow and don’t go too hard too fast. If you’re partaking in edibles, you can always eat more, but you can’t eat less, so that’s a good piece of advice I like to share. And remember your body takes quite some time to digest THC. I hate hearing about people that don’t know they’re not supposed to eat the whole thing, and they have a really hard time even days after. I don’t want people to have that experience, so I think if you are a beginner user, start small and have the day off.

  1. What is a favorite munchie of yours?

Cinnamon Toast Crunch with non-dairy milk at night is my go-to high snack. Or I’ll do a weird combo of peanut butter jelly and coconut oil, just in a bowl. Like PB&J without the bread. It’s reminiscent of my childhood.

  1. What are your thoughts on waste and sustainability in the cannabis industry?

I’ve seen a lot of waste. That’s the hardest thing I’ve been shown about this industry. I would like people and the OLCC to change their policies and habits. Some things you can do that would help would be bringing back your child proof bags to reduce the amount of plastic. Same with reusable flower containers. Some shops will take those and reuse them, or P3 is a recycling company that actually turns their plastic into prosthetics if I’m not mistaken. It’s a really nice way for these containers to not end up in landfills. I think it’s going to have to start with the public realizing how much plastic is going out. Because alcohol and cigarettes do not have to be child proof they don’t have as much waste. Those are just as damaging, if not more, to a little kid, in my opinion. I really think that could help the industry and our world a lot if we try to put more of that focus out there. This earth is providing this amazing plant medicine, and we need to take care of her, so we can keep having this available to us. In the future, we can start using hemp instead of plastic. It’s biodegradable, it’s affordable since we’re already producing it. We’re trying to cut costs, but we’re going to be paying for that in the long run.

  1. Are there efficient ways to recycle cannabis packaging materials currently? 

I think some people put their containers in the recycling at home, and they cannot be recycled that way, so that’s something to be aware of. Find a dispensary that’ll take them back. You can always give them a call, and hopefully, they can reuse them or find a second life for them. From what I’m learning, I think we need to use our voices when it comes to big corporations because they’re in charge of putting all this waste out there. A lot of pressure is put on the consumer and the individual, but realistically speaking, these companies are putting out a lot more chemical pollution and waste into this world, just for money. We need to tell them we need a change. 

  1. What’s something you wish more customers knew? 

    I think that it would be beneficial for consumers to know more about cannabis, and I hope that people will start asking budtenders things. There’s a lot more than just numbers, but we live in a very number-fixated world. People educating themselves can be beneficial for the future, try new things and find what works best for them. There’s a lot of good stuff out there. There’s a synergistic effect with the other cannabinoids besides just THC. The benefits that these cannabinoids can have for us are super important. Everyone’s body is so different, so what works for you might not work for me and vice versa. It’s about listening to learning from our bodies.

Do you have anyone to recommend for our Budtender Spotlight? Tell us about them @greeneugenemag!