Campfire Cannabis

written by Alexandra Arnett @calyx.alex photographed by Kimberly Harris

Oregon, California and the rest of the West Coast have had their fair share of wildfires throughout the years. Here in the city of Eugene, we have been fortunate enough to not be directly affected by these wildfires outside of the smoke. However, many cannabis farms have not been so lucky when it comes to wildfire, and outdoor operations across Oregon have all had to deal with second-hand effects such as smoke and ash. 

Outdoor growing and greenhouses operations were some of the most affected by this year’s fires. The OLCC reported that over 20% of their licensees were in evacuation areas for the fires. Several dispensaries were lost in Southern Oregon, including Talent Health Club, Grateful Meds, Canyon Cannabis, Fireside Dispensary, and Blue River Grass Station. Roganja Farms and Primo Farms were two farms we are aware of that had plants destroyed by the fires. One cannabis testing lab, EcoTest Labs, reportedly lost their building as well. 

I took this opportunity to speak with a couple of growers located in Oregon to get some information about their experiences with the fires and smoke. Heroes of the Farm is one of several northeast Oregon farms that had plants affected by the wildfire smoke and ash. Pat, head grower and owner, combated the ash that fell on his plants with a backpack leaf blower which seemed to blow most of it off. Pat also noted that the heavy smoke from the fires turns the pistols of the plant dark orange. This, he stated, gives the appearance of plants that are ready to harvest when in reality, the plants have a few weeks to go before they are fully mature. He says he hopes the smell of smoke doesn’t stick through the harvest and curing process.

The next is a southern Oregon farm located at the top of the infamous “Emerald Triangle.” 42 Degrees Farms is an outdoor hemp farm that is focused on growing craft hemp. Shane has been growing cannabis for over 10 years and this last year decided to grow hemp varieties of cannabis. 42 Degrees was extremely thankful that their farm was spared from any flames coming from the Alameda Fire, which started just about three miles north of their property. While the plants did have some days where the sun was clouded in thick smoke, they believe the rains in the days before harvest may have helped clean up the plants. While their plants didn’t show any significant changes, they did have other friends experience similar changes to what Pat described above in their own plants. During the fires, the 42 Degrees team continued to put in the hard work through the hazardous air conditions in order to have a successful harvest this October. 

So we have to ask the question, what does all this smoke and ash mean for the plants? You may remember back in 2017 when the entire state of Oregon was harshly affected by several wildfires, much like summer 2020. That year’s outdoor harvest of cannabis was extremely difficult for growers and many lost money on their harvests. Almost any pound of outdoor cannabis you could find was never more than $800, some were as low as $300, which means that there was plenty of cheap cannabis to go around at the dispensaries. This cannabis had some caveats though. No matter what strain you got, it all smelled like a campfire. 

Back in 2017, as a budtender, I did not hear many customers complaining about the prices for this campfire cannabis. However, no one seemed to be wildly concerned about the quality of the product either, or how the fires may have affected it. Oregon currently has four testing categories for cannabis products; pesticides, water activity/moisture content, cannabinoids and microbiological contaminants (Salmonella, E. Coli, etc). 

Cannabis products in Oregon are not tested for mycotoxins (mold), heavy metals and terpenes unless requested and paid for by the grower. In addition to these testing requirements, there are also strings attached. For example, in Oregon, you can take cannabis flower that did not pass its initial testing and then process it into an extract instead. As long as that final product has a passing test it can be sold. These products can range from not only the dabs you buy at the shop, but cartridges, edibles, topicals and tinctures.

A large part of what makes smoke and ash so toxic is the materials that it burns through. Think about what you have in your own house; cleaning supplies, electronics, wood, paint, kitchen appliances, etc. All of these create toxic chemicals when burned, including heavy metals, which are then present in the smoke you breathe and the ash you see. Fire retardants can also pose risks if used near plants and any water supply.

When dealing with cannabis that has been contaminated by wildfires it is important to run a thorough laboratory analysis. However, this isn’t always an easy thing to do as there are no set procedures on how to analyze potential hazards resulting from smoke and ash damage. Laboratories also are not held to a single standardized testing method.

Aside from testing the cannabis for safety to ingest after being exposed to wildfire smoke and ash, another thing is overall quality. Cannabis plants that have been exposed to smoke and ash undergo a lot of stress, which can be a huge detriment to the plant. This affects the maturity of trichomes, which are what contain all the cannabinoids and terpenes we all love so much. In extreme situations, you could end up with a far more inferior product that is not likely to smell, taste, or look good.

This season, dispensaries may not be letting you smell the cannabis before you purchase because we are still in a pandemic, so trusting your budtender and taking their word for it will be the best way to avoid smoking some campfire cannabis. 

If you would like to donate money to help cannabis businesses that are in need, Southern Oregon grower Noah Levine of Benson Arbor graciously set up this GoFundMe fundraiser. 

Leap Farms: Where the Plants are Happy and the People Are Too

words and photos by Emma Routley

While it may be a struggle for some companies to set themselves apart from the competition, Leap Farms knows exactly what makes them unique — and they’re not afraid to show it. Leap Farms is one of the finest organically operated cannabis producing companies in the Pacific Northwest. From the special ways they care for their plants to their business plan for the future, Leap Farms stands out in the spotlight of the recreational cannabis industry. They work endlessly to ensure their consumers receive the best quality products every time.

Leap Farms especially prides themselves on their 100 percent organic materials. They do not use pesticides or any other chemicals when growing, ensuring the process is all natural. “We don’t grow cannabis, we grow better better people and better soil. The plant and the flowers are just a reflection of our commitment to the other two,” said Beau Rillo, owner and founder.

Part of this process and what helps make Leap Farms unique is their use of Kangen water, along with other methods of integrated pest management, such as predatory mites and other beneficial insects.  Kangen water is an ionized health-based water that comes from a scientifically proven technology, allowing the user to adjust the pH balance (how acidic or alkaline) of the water. Leap Farms uses an alkaline pH of 11.5 to create conditions on the surface of plants where mold and bacteria cannot survive, and a low pH for poison-free pest control.

“We have more control over the water and what it does for the plants. We also keep it readily available as healthy drinking water for our people. What’s good for the plant is good for us and vice versa,” said Brittany Rillo, co-owner of Leap Farms.

Leap Farms began applying this innovative technology on their plants after Brittany discovered its value when adding it to her mother’s lifestyle diet after having been diagnosed with cancer.

“The basic idea is to keep your body at a healthy alkaline levels in order to better combat the basic day to day diseases we all fight while simultaneously battling cancer,Rillo said.

Leap applies this technology throughout the plant’s life cycle, according to Alex Roveda, Leap Farms nursery manager. This homegrown, family corporate structured company cares about what their customers are consuming, and consistency in their products is incredibly important to them. In fact, Leap Farms has never in its history failed a test. Another low-tech practice that Leap Farms swears by is to play exclusively happy, uplifting music on the farm. It isn’t unheard of for the owner to dismiss a grumpy “leaper” from the garden to gather themselves and focus their energies. This lighthearted, self-care focused standard ensures that the plants are around the most positive energy and music at all times.

In addition to their innovative and caring process, Leap Farms also provides the best products for consumers through collaboration with other leaders and like-minded companies in the industry. There was a time when companies were trying to hold up their place in the cannabis industry entirely independently: growing, managing a dispensary, running all the product lines, processing, wholesaling and more.  

Although this method is ambitious and inspiring for entrepreneurs in the industry, doing everything alone doesn’t always appear to be the best method of operation. Leap’s top-notch sales and marketing team came to the conclusion that collaboration within the cannabis industry is far better than trying to do everything by themselves. Through extensive industry outreach, Leap’s sales team has been able to partner up with other companies such as SugarTop Buddery, GreenStar Growing, Pineapple Society and Kumba Hills to name a few. This collaboration leads to the best possible output.

One of the reasons Leap Farms and SugarTop Buddery chose to work with each other is because they share the same values and family centric mentality. Leap Farms and SugarTop Buddery have many common goals, including giving the consumer the best quality products possible. According to Tyler Carpenter and Cory Eicher, sales and marketing directors for Leap Farms, the value of collaboration comes through teaming up with people that have mastered their craft. This is where SugarTop Buddery comes in: outstanding ability and packaging for the project, on top of being in the heart of Eugene.

Together, Leap Farms and SugarTop Buddery are combining forces to create high-quality products for the consumer, such as the Goodsmoke Multipacks.  This product replicates cigarettes visually, however each pack contains ten .5g joints. A single pack of ten prerolls costs $20, and the larger size packaging contains five packs of ten .5g joints costs $100. Leap Farms and SugarTop Buddery are proud of the amount of work they have poured into this product, right down to choosing the perfect rice paper to ensure best quality for taste and burning consistency to making sure every aspect about the product is geared towards giving the consumer their money’s worth.

“Pre-rolls are a consumer product, not a byproduct. I think we are one of the few who look at it that way. We’re trying to change the game,” says Brennan Anderson, SugarTop Buddery’s chief operating officer.

A single pack of ten prerolls costs $20, and the larger size packaging contains five packs of ten .5g joints costs $100.

The future of the cannabis industry also looks bright, and Leap Farms has big plans to keep up with the growth.  During the next five years Leap Farms hopes to evolve into a national distribution company, and within the next ten years they hope to have an international footprint using their foundations and ideals to bring rising nations cannabis and hemp. They also intend on continuing to innovate with new ideas, applied technologies and further develop Leap Farm’s true passion of cannabis and hemp genetics.  

“Leapers” are just as dedicated and devoted to Leap Farms, and describe the working environment in three words: loving, innovative and passionate. They love their jobs and their products, and they are proud of their constant search for new, groundbreaking ways to increase productivity and quality. Most of all, the family and staff at Leap Farms is proud to embody the balance between love and innovation, trailblazing the way to their success in the cannabis industry.  The doors of Leap Farms are always open for tours and information, and they encourage their consumers to get to know their grower and come on by!

Leap Higher

words by Josh Delzell | photos by Trevor Meyer 

*sponsored content*

Nestled into the mountain valleys of sleepy Southern Oregon are some of the PNW’s most beautiful and underrated rivers, forests and archaic towns. Not to mention, of course, the rolling pastures of some of the world’s finest marijuana to ever be grown that dominates the lush green fields. Among these mountain meadows is Leap Farms, a locally owned operation built on love and organic philosophies. The team at Leap Farms see themselves as more than close friends who work together, emphasizing more of a family bond — a literal translation because most of them grew up together.

Located just outside of the small town of Wimer, Leap Farms was founded in 2016 when recreational marijuana was legalized in Oregon — after servicing the medical community for nearly a decade prior. Despite its’ youth, the crew is well experienced and no stranger to the cannabis industry. The founder, Beau Rillo, has been growing for over 30 years, ranking high in the “true master” growers of Southern Oregon.

Danny Hull is a field lead at Leap Farms.

Leap Farms has a motto to live by: work hard, play harder. The gang at Leap likes to have fun, often wagering each other with the challenge of push-ups in the place of money for bets. It’s easy to win or lose money, but it’s better to test one’s character to see if they honor their word and keep their cool, even in embarrassing situations.  This test of personality trickles into their product. When it’s time to work, Leap Farms performs expertly and sets the bar high for what to expect from their brand and their products. As a Leaper, they don’t excel in just one thing, they strive to go above and beyond. That’s the key to success as far as this farm is concerned: “leaping” higher than what’s expected of them to deliver the best service, the best bud and the best products. This reflects in strains like Rose Colored Glasses, a five year breeding project conducted by Rillo that has quickly become a sure-fire Oregon original. “We don’t grow cannabis, we grow better people and better soil. The plant and the flowers are just a reflection of our commitment to the other two,” says founder, Beau Rillo.

Another philosophy of Leap Farms is community involvement. Leap believes that the community around them is also a part of the product quality, and investing in that community is therefore an investment into the product. Phenomenal examples of this would be taking part of the celebration of the reconstruction of the local covered bridge — which you’ll find located in the Leap Farms logo. Additionally, they host classic events such as the Vendor Bender: an annual mini festival that services retailers across the state that sell Leap products. This event brought the likes of Warrior King from Jamaica and Jahdan Blakkamore, along with local artists such as One Dollar Check and Fortune’s Folly, accompanied by the 7th Street Band and DJ Unite of Tribe of Kings. The revenue generated from this event helped support the local Evan’s Valley Community Center and rural fire department. Working with Flowr of Lyfe, Leap donated high quality medical-grade flower to patients in need, effectively creating affordable access to safe organic medicine. These are just a few examples demonstrating that Leap is committed to fostering a higher standard of family, community and friendships.

Leap Farms prides themselves on 100% organic materials. They don’t use pesticides or any other chemicals when growing; it’s all natural and they treat the earth like the Queen she is. The group at Leap is very passionate in providing an environment to help expand your knowledge of cannabis while having a successful and innovative business.

You can find their unique products throughout the Eugene/Springfield area, like Green Therapy, Good Karma, Space Buds and many more. For more information on Leap Farms, check out their website and their Facebook and Instagram for more in depth profiles of the team and the farm itself, along with a feature gallery to get an up-close look at what exactly Leapers do.

 

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

 

Tips for Growing Your First Plant

words by Skyla Patton | photo by Sierra Pedro

The day of reckoning has come: it’s time to grow your own plant. Roll up your sleeves, grab the gardening shovel and … now what?

Facing down the huge checklist that comes with putting your first marijuana plant in the ground can be a daunting challenge. We talked to local Eugenians and a local company, SugarTop, to get the best tips for putting your first plant in the ground.

Environment is crucial to producing healthy, happy plants that will reward you come harvest season. Try to think about it like you would with any average tomato plant or flower; they can’t grow successfully or produce a good bounty in a dark closet or in freezing temperatures.

Prepare your grow space carefully before introducing your clones or infant plants to the conditions. One place to stop by for your environmental gardening needs is Down To Earth Home & Garden. The shop specializes in durable, recycled products and its wide selection of organic, all-natural fertilizers and gardening tools will make for the hardest decision yet. Check out their Eugene location at 532 Olive St., open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., closing at 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Here are some other things to keep in mind:

  • Be sure to consider the air circulation and the space that your plant has. Think of it like your own living environment and if you would have enough room or if you think it’s too cramped or confined.
  • City water can be detrimental because it often unfiltered and can contain chlorine, so make sure you’re thinking about it if you live off of city water. Most often, a cleaning process will be necessary and can affect the overall result you get out of your plant in the end.
  • Keep it simple. Stay away from heavily advertised soils or fertilizers that come with intricate, excessive fancy systems. Mother Nature has set the best examples and should be followed accordingly. Healthy black earth, clean water, some good ol’ chicken poo fertilizer and lots of sunlight will make for the happiest plants.
  • Bonus Tip: Don’t make it too hard on yourself when selecting the strain you want to grow. If it’s your first time, try Lemon Kush, Girl Scout Cookies or Sour Diesel. They are all commonly grown strains that thrive in the Oregon climate.

Lighting makes a huge difference in a person’s level of productivity, so it makes sense that it would do the same for a growing, changing plant. Fluorescent lighting is easily accessible and common in the use of cultivating marijuana plants and can replicate the outcome of their outdoor-grown brethren who receive vitamin D straight from the sun. Heinke’s Electrical & Lighting offers a selection of products, and their store slogan of “catering to do-it-yourselfers”  is the perfect attitude for prospective growers looking to get their hands in the dirt. Heinke’s, open at 645 Adams St. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day and closed on Sunday, is the one-stop shop to hook up your lighting.

  • The dim glow of your 60-watt bulbs is not enough to satisfy a growing marijuana plant. Reflective lighting, light deprivation and appropriate timing on the lights can be key to growing a small-scale operation and getting a good yield on your plants.
  • LED is the only way to go. Pay attention to the proximity of the light to the plant; see how it reacts and make changes accordingly. The bulb should never come in contact with the plant itself.
  • Bluer lighting is the best when you’re waiting for your plant to flower. LED lights put out a really nice broad-blue spectrum and generate half as much heat for the plant.

Research the best ways to ensure your plants get what they deserve. Compare and contrast answers you see, fact check their validity with as much reliable information as you can, and then repeat the process all over again. Beautiful, bountiful plants come out of well-rounded growers who spend huge amounts of time getting to know the plant and hitting the books.

Oregon’s Constant Gardener, a local, family-owned company, is a great place to start looking for any of your gardening needs. They offer a wide variety of products to start a garden or maintain an existing one. The Constant Gardener’s Springfield store is located at 2053 Laura St., and the Eugene store is on 990 Garfield St. Both locations are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bonus: Oregon Constant Gardener is offering an Indoor Gardening Basics Class Dec. 2 for $10. Get more details and sign up in store or online at ocgfam.com.

  • Read as much as you can stand, learning the plant is one of the only things you can do to make proper judgment and decisions on its growth. Watch YouTube videos from other growers, find online discussion forums, soak up all of the information. Check out  “The Marijuana Horticulture Indoor Medical Grower’s Bible.” It has all of the fundamentals and basics to putting your first plant in the ground (or pot).
  • Grow only females or mother plants if you’re a beginner. Producing male plants can cause a serious amount of issues across the board if you don’t know what you’re doing. Learn how to sex a plant or have a more experienced friend (or expert) come and check for you to make sure you have the right plant.
  • Make sure your resources are reliable ones, or at least ones you consider to be trustworthy. Follow the information you read in published pieces of work and look for keys that are repeated; it’s more likely to be valuable and useable.
  • Be selective about which strain you want to grow first. Each strain has a different growth period, looks different and needs a slightly different environment. These changes will hugely affect how you go about creating an environment for your plant, so you need to know about it.

Now that you’ve got some helpful tips under your belt from experienced growers, here are a few reminders on how to stay within the regulations for indoor growing in Oregon.

  • Plants must be on your own property.
  • You must be 21 years of age or older to grow marijuana in your home.
  • Four plant maximum in a household. Oregon legislation defines it as any location where you live — it does not clarify the number of people in the home or the qualifications to be a “household.”
  • Remember, the law does not protect you from the federal government or your landlord. Both parties are able to override these rules, so be sure to check your lease agreement and the federal regulations before choosing to grow in your home.