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.

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!

Is the MORE Act really ‘more’?

written by Alexandra Arnett @calyx.alex

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terminated for (Legal) Toking

written by Emma Routley, photographed by Nina Compeau

Spike Kirumira used to work for the service responsible for cleaning dorms at the University of Oregon.  He said he was fired from the seasonal job on the accusation that a coworker saw him smoking weed while the crew was taking a cigarette break.

“They just accused me and then let me go,” said Kirumira.  “Show me one witness that will tell me I was smoking a joint in front of them while they’re all smoking cigarettes.  I’d stand there on my break and talk to people.”

Kirumira argued against the accusation, but the issue remains that people like Kirumira live in a legalized marijuana state and yet cannot work or keep federally funded jobs if they consume cannabis products. 

“I’m just stuck with other people in a hard place where you need cannabis for medication but you can’t get the job you want because of the weed,” said Kirumira.

Oregonians live in a recreational marijuana state and cannot consume cannabis products without putting their careers at stake.  People can be fired for THC present in their bloodstream when they are not impaired on the job, or are not hirable because of THC present in their bloodstream during a pre-screening drug test for potential employment.  Businesses that are federally funded have to follow a zero tolerance policy for cannabis, which is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug. There is no current testing system for active cannabis impairment like there is for alcohol, and hemp-derived CBD products are not a reliable substitute to medicate with and still pass a drug test.

Most employers follow a zero tolerance policy—a system that automatically terminates anyone who does not promote and adhere to a drug free workplace.  Megan Livermore has been a cannabis attorney since 2014, and is an executive committee member of the Oregon State Bar Cannabis Law Section. She says even after the legalization of recreational cannabis over the last five years, there has been no change to employment law.

“You can use this substance legally, and yet if your employer wants to drug test you for marijuana and terminate you for a positive test, they still may do so,” said Livermore.

Federally funded businesses are unlikely to change the current zero tolerance policy system because random drug testing protects them from legal action by the employees they test.

Dr. John Hudak, marijuana policy expert at the Brookings Institution stated, “If you accuse someone of being intoxicated at work, and you’re wrong, that could create a tremendous liability for a business, where random drug testing does not.  So I don’t think businesses are going to voluntarily, in a large scale, transition away from this zero tolerance policy. I think it would require public policy changes to do that and it’s not going to happen all that much in terms of internal workplace changes.”  

Cannabis is still a Schedule 1 drug, meaning the federal government reports a high risk of abuse and a lack of medical value..  Federally funded businesses, such as the University of Oregon, have to comply with federal laws when it comes to cannabis, and if they don’t exercise a zero tolerance policy then they are likely to lose their funding.  A bill has been introduced called the Marijuana 1-to-3 Act of 2019, which would remove marijuana from the Schedule 1 drug category.  If marijuana is no longer a Schedule 1 drug, the cannabis industry will be able to expand financially.   

“It will change the industry dramatically, to be taxed like all other businesses and to have access to banking services and lending. It will be another seismic shift,” added Livermore.

Livermore says the potential for medical insurance coverage for medicinal cannabis is thwarted by the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies. “What MDs are shell taught in medical school is that marijuana has no medical use and is actually harmful. Further, for insurance to cover it, it needs to go through the healthcare system they understand. Any decriminalization can certainly loosen restrictions and lead to that kind of change.” 

Changes are occurring within the nation.  Nevada has issued a law that states not hiring a person due to a positive cannabis drug screening is unlawful. The point of Nevada’s new law is to address the dilemma between holding an employee accountable for the cannabis they might have consumed weeks ago. This law will be active in January 2020, and is careful to exclude jobs involving the safety and care of other people.

Oregon does not seem to be heading in that direction, mainly because while regulations for cannabis were being discussed, hemp became nationally legalized and stole the conversation.  Livermore said that the focus has been less directed on issues regarding employment and instead catered to the hemp legalization and “a whole new mountain of regulations” that comes with it.    

Livermore added, “Just the fact that this plant was taken away from people for so long is unfortunate at best, considering what an amazing plant it is and how much good it can do folks.”

Because of the lack of current regulations on hemp products, CBD products sold outside of cannabis retail locations can be mislabeled, causing unsuspecting consumers to test positive for THC.  The products sold at cannabis retail locations can also be misleading if the labels are not clearly understood, some saying hemp-derived CBD and others saying THC-free. Hemp-derived CBD qualifies as containing  0.3% THC content or less, while THC-free products have zero THC content detectable. 

 “There’s a threshold level so the end use product has to be below 0.3% THC,” said Gary McAninch, the hemp program manager at the Oregon Department of Agriculture. “I could imagine that if you’re a person that consumed a CBD product that had a little bit of THC that was less than 0.3% total THC you still could possibly test positive on a drug test or for a THC test.” 

There is no dependable technology to test how much THC is in someone’s system.  Those who work in a job that exercises a federally required zero tolerance policy for marijuana, such as employees of universities, are only safe from termination if they abstain from using cannabis products altogether.

Customer’s Guide to Cannabis

written by Alexandra Arnett

The Cannabis sativa L. species is a member of the family Cannabaceae. Around 27.8 million years ago, a split occurred within the Cannabacea family developing into Cannabis L. and Humulus L. Cannabis has been used for thousands of years either as medicine, food, for fibers and even in religious ceremonies. Many of the early reports of cannabis use indicate it can cause psychosis-like symptoms, including visions, but this is extremely speculative as it was mostly observed in religious ceremonies and/or ritual practices. 

Though the Cannabis sativa L. species has been around for over 10,000 years, botanical and chemical research and classification of the plant has only occurred within the last few centuries. 

 The “L” indicates who first published the classifications, and in the case of cannabis and Humulus, or hops, it is Carl Linnaeus. Linnaeus is also considered the Father of Taxonomy and published Systema Naturae in which he classified over 7,700 plant species.

Now, when cannabis was first classified and popularized in the early 60s, it was mistakenly noted that “indica” and “sativa” were relevant in terms of the physiological and psychological effects. However, this was never indicated by those using cannabis and the botanists certainly were not ingesting them to find out. This is where the confusion really sets in; with the re-popularization of cannabis in the early 90s, the terms indica and sativa were suddenly being used to describe effect rather than morphology and origin. These terms have no bearing on how a certain strain will make you feel. Instead, the chemical makeup of terpenes is what influences the effect of a certain strain. 

The term “sativa” is Latin for cultivated, which is why it was used to name the variety of the Cannabis L. species Cannabis sativa. The term “indica” was for the region, India, in which they first found a specific variety of the species. Cannabis L. contains two main varieties, Cannabis sativa subsp. sativa and Cannabis sativa subsp. indica. Furthermore, within these subspecies, there are several varieties:

  • Cannabis sativa subsp. sativa var. sativa (Broad-leaf hemp or BLH)
  • Cannabis sativa subsp. sativa var. chinesis (Narrow-leaf hemp or NLH)
  • Cannabis sativa subsp. indica var. indica (Narrow-leaf drug or NLD)
  • Cannabis sativa subsp. indica var. afghanica (Broad-leaf drug or BLD)

Cannabis sativa subsp. sativa varieties are what we call hemp, which is simply cannabis with a lower THC content, and is better for crafting fibers and other materials. Cannabis sativa subsp. indica varieties account for the “drug” types that helped develop the cannabis we have today. However, this is not to say that these four varieties never crossed paths and mixed genetics. If isolation of the plant varieties were the case, we would not have the cannabis we have today with the varying ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes. 

In today’s market, most cannabis “strains,” or cultivars as the scientific community likes to say, are hybrids of the various cannabis genetics. Landrace strains are another variety of cultivars that have not been crossed with any other genetics since its discovery. Due to the perseverance of some breeders and activists such as Ed Rosenthal and seed banks such as Sensi Seeds, strains that are considered “landrace” are available nearly everywhere. One of the most popular landrace strains is Durban Poison, which hails from the Port of Durban in Africa. Others include Hindu Kush, Afghan Kush, Lamb’s Bread, Acapulco Gold, Nepalese Kush and Chocolate Thai. These landrace strains have been cultivated by the native populations and have been used for centuries. Many of these landrace strains are best grown in climates similar to their place of origin. This can be achieved through indoor and greenhouse grows if the outdoor climate is not ideal for that particular strain.

In order to obtain the cannabis we have today, breeders have been crossing genetics and developing a wide array of strains, each with their own unique profile. Cannabis profiles include cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. There are over 113 cannabinoids, including THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, THCV, CBDV and now THCP and CBDP. Various cannabinoids play a role in the psychological and physiological effects of cannabis. In addition, there are over 200 terpenes that can be found in cannabis. Terpenes contribute to the scent, effect, look and taste of cannabis. Flavonoids found in the cannabis plant include cannflavin A, cannflavin B, cannflavin C, vitexin, isovitexin, apigenin, kaempferol, quercetin, luteolin and orientin. These flavonoids contribute to the colors and tastes of the cannabis plant to create the combinations that we are familiar with. For example, the purple color that certain cannabis strains produce is due to a flavonoid called anthocyanin! In addition, this flavonoid is an anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and antioxidant.

Overall, one should not rely solely on cannabinoids or strain names to help determine what strain is best for them. The best test is the smell test: your nose knows better. The more you enjoy the scent of a cannabis strain, the more likely you are to enjoy the effect. Although, be aware that high THC content and certain terpenes such as pinene and terpinolene can cause anxiety. Training your nose to sniff out those terpenes can help you choose the strain with little to none of those terpenes. Pinene has a scent like pine while terpinolene has a gassy/tart scent. 

References

McPartland, J. M. (2018). Cannabis Systematics at the Levels of Family, Genus, and Species. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 3(1), 203–212. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2018.0039

Not So Dope Driving

written by Emma Routley, photographed by Connor Cox

The legalities of driving under the influence of cannabis are slightly fuzzier than driving under the influence of alcohol.  Why might law enforcement pull you over for driving high, and what happens if they do?

A cop might think someone is under the influence of cannabis and charge them for a DUI if they show signs of distracted driving. Should someone be pulled over after consumption of cannabis (not combined with drinking alcohol), it is likely that the cop caught on to some noticeable signs of distracted driving and decided you were worth investigating.  Distracted driving is divided into four categories:

Visual – not looking at the road

Auditory – not listening to the driving environment

Manual – touching something other than the steering wheel

Cognitive – zoning out and thinking about something other than driving

Showing these signs can lead to officers believing someone could be driving impaired and gives them a reason to pull someone over.  Further, someone may be pulled over under suspicion of cannabis impairment if they show signs of slow reaction time or impaired coordination.  Once pulled over, it is difficult for cops to tell whether or not someone they’ve pulled over has been driving under the influence of cannabis.  There is little technology that allows them to test for impairment and nothing that gives them immediate results the way a breathalyzer does for blood alcohol content.  

While law enforcement considers cannabis DUIs to end in similar results equal to drinking and driving, the reality is that it is grossly exaggerated.  Even though there are those who will claim driving while high makes them “better drivers,” driving should be left only to the absolutely sober in all circumstances. That being said, there is no effective way to tell whether someone smoked two weeks ago or on the day they are pulled over through a drug test.  Currently if someone tests positive for THC after being pulled over for a DUI, there is a cause for arrest and charges. If a driver refuses to take a drug test, their license will likely be suspended immediately. The duration of how long a license is suspended is dependent on someone’s driving history.  

The officer may ask if the driver would be willing to participate in an examination, and if they agree they will meet with a Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE).  The Drug Recognition Evaluators (DRE) are used in Oregon to determine whether or not someone is under the influence of cannabis. The DREs use a system called the Drug Symptom Matrix which is a chart that contains the general signs of cannabis consumption.  The chart includes indicators such as:

Red Eyes

Marijuana Smell

Body and/or Eyelid Tremors

Relaxed inhibitions

Munchies

Impaired perception of time and distance

Fatigue

Paranoia

Disorientation

The DRE would proceed to look for these signs of cannabis consumption:

Lack of Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), or when the eyes cannot follow a pen moving horizontally in front of them

Lack of Vertical Gaze Nystagmus (VGN), or when the eyes cannot follow a pen moving vertically in front of them

Not being able to cross eyes (convergence)

Pupil size and reaction to light

Elevated pulse rate, blood pressure, or body temperature

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can stay in the system for weeks.  The length THC stays in the body depends on body fat content, and how often THC products are used.  These factors make it difficult to tell whether a driver is testing positive for driving under the influence or not.  

Always drive completely sober.  If you need transportation and cannot drive yourself the University of Oregon offers free nighttime rides home with Safe Ride.  Contact number for Safe Ride is (541) 346 – 7433. 

Silver Dabbers

words by Josh Delzell

A study by Dr. Benjamin Han, assistant professor of internal medicine at NYU, found that between 2015 and 2016, 9 percent of adult between the ages of 50 to 64 had at least tried cannabis in the past year, and 3 percent over 65 had also tried it within the same time period. While these percentages may seem small, it’s actually a statistic on the rise. In 2013, 7 percent of middle aged people had tried it, and 1.4 percent of those over 65. Is cannabis use normalizing for older Americans, or is the devils lettuce still too infamous for baby boomers and beyond?

At a minimum, there’s less of a stigma around cannabis use in certain areas than there once was. In 2018, 10 states — as well as the District of Columbia — passed laws legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, and several others pushed for new legislation or took the first step with legal medical use. The number of states that may pass legal cannabis is also rising in 2019, with states like New Mexico passing a bill that would legalize cannabis.

Doug Fuchs, a Eugene resident and older generation cannabis user, noted the rise in cannabis use for people his age.  “A lot of people my age started using [cannabis] in the past 4-5 years since it has been legal,” said Fuchs. “My inlaws are in their 80’s and lived through the anti-cannabis era. Now they are using it because of its medical purposes.”

Fuchs also helps run the Oregon Homegrown Challenge, in which contestants bring their own flower to be judged, and many of the participants fall into the baby boomer category — not only consuming cannabis, but taking the industry by the reigns. It’s like a brew contest, but for cannabis. Currently, Fuchs is working on establishing The Willamette Valley Homegrowers as a local cannabis gardening and network club, an organization Fuchs founded himself.

Medical relief is also a huge motivator behind older generations increasing use of cannabis. These properties come from the benefits that cannabinoids provide for easing common ailments like nausea, pain or spasticity. Medical cannabis also has shown to provide positive benefits for diseases like parkinson’s, which tends to affect people over 40.

The Alzheimers Society recognizes the ability of cannabis to soothe symptoms of alzheimer’s such as aggression or agitation. Dr. Joshua Briscoe of Duke University told NPR that even the most modest benefits of cannabis use would be beneficial to the elderly. “We prescribe substances that are far more dangerous than cannabinoids,” Briscoe told NPR during an interview on elderly use of cannabis. He also noted that the elderly are far more likely to experience side effects from medication in general.

While cannabis can be helpful for older patients, because of the strict federal regulations on cannabis, it’s hard to fully know the benefits and risks cannabis can have on elderly users. Dosage amounts are especially important for older consumers, because of metabolism rates slowing with age. Sticking with a smaller dosage until comfortable with cannabis is a good idea for older users to avoid potential side effects that can come with a heavy-handed edible or preroll.

Whether or not cannabis helps elderly users is still up for debate in an empirical sense, because of the lack of research, but anecdotal evidence has shown that it can help tremendously.

Cannabis use is increasing every day as states begin or continue the process of legalization, storefronts pop up across the nation and the stigma slowly fades. Baby boomers and older generations were raised with a dark image of cannabis, and old habits are undeniably hard to break. Despite this, education is spreading and the healing properties of cannabis are starting to dominate the conversation — regardless of your age.

That being said, maybe your parents have been using cannabis behind the scenes. I just found out only a couple months ago that my dad has been smoking since he was in his teens. Do you have a fun or hilarious story about learning that your parents use cannabis? Message us on Instagram or Facebook @greeneugenemag!

Cannabis on Campus: Flush It!

words by Bryan Dorn
photos by Destiny Alvarez

Cannabis rules at the University of Oregon are outlined in the code of conduct as a zero tolerance policy; however, with the growing popularization of recreational cannabis and the recent requirement for first year students to live on campus, keeping cannabis off campus can prove to be difficult.

During the Fall of 2017 over 150 cannabis related incident reports were issued in resident halls and on campus, according to Assistant Director of Resident Life Shelby Wieners. This begs the question, what happens when students get caught with cannabis on campus?

This academic year, the residence halls have updated their policies to be less punitive and more centralized around education following cannabis related incident reports, Wieners says.

“Looking at how cannabis is handled on campus was very different than how we handled alcohol— when in the state of Oregon the laws are pretty similar,” says Wieners. “But the way that we approached it just wasn’t similar and I felt that was inequitable to students.”

Resident advisors are now requiring students, who are found with a ‘personal amount’ of cannabis, to flush the product and hand over their paraphernalia without getting the University of Oregon Police Department involved. In previous years, UOPD would be called to initiate contact with residents and confiscate the cannabis and paraphernalia themselves.

Now, the paraphernalia is put in a lock box for UOPD to confiscate at a later time.

“Our conduct process is educationally designed and is not the criminal process,” Wieners says. “So having RAs facilitate this and not having UOPD go to every single cannabis call realigns our response to how we say we educate students.”

Depending on the severity, context and frequency of the incidents, students who are found responsible for policy violations, like possession of cannabis in the dormitories, can expect a range of sanctions from community involvement to expulsion, according to Wieners.

Between fall 2017 and fall 2018 there was a 23% reduction in cannabis related incident report submissions through University Housing. According to Wieners, this could be due to students receiving more in depth information on community expectations and curriculum or shifting attitudes between graduating classes.

While the new policy on campus may seem straightforward, there are some grey areas. The amount of cannabis that is deemed personal possession is based on a “flushable amount,” according to Wieners. If RAs find what they deem an excessive amount they call professional staff with University Housing and take the incident from there.

The policy also does not include non-THC cannabinoids such as CBD. Medical students are still forbidden from having their medicine on campus due to federal regulations, Wieners says.

Students who need access to medical cannabis and are required to live on campus are encouraged to contact the Accessible Education Center and the University Counseling Center to find a solution with the University.

“Students aren’t a mass of beings right? Everyone is an individual and so looking at each individual case is really important,” Wieners says. “We would rather process a situation and talk about it than make a decision in a vacuum. Because every case is different.”

This shift in policy has inevitably lead to more University Housing involvement with cannabis incidents on campus and less UOPD involvement.

Most cases of cannabis on campus are now being logged as conduct violations rather than criminal violations. According to Kelly McIver, Public Information Officer for UOPD, the police department does not want students to incur hefty fines or deal with long term legal trouble due to small issues that can be addressed with education.

Because the university is federally funded, cannabis use and possession is strictly forbidden on all university affiliated properties, according to McIver. However, officers are not going out of their way to sniff out stoners.

“I think it’s better for everybody because it allows police to focus on not only addressing more serious crimes that may be occurring, but also spend more time out on patrol where their visibility and presence can be a deterrent to more serious crime,” McIver says.

In the future, students who are found with a personal amount of cannabis on campus can rest easy knowing the university is not looking to take legal action or derail their education. If students who are breaking the rules on campus comply with the Residence Halls, then the new rules on campus can foster a safer and more educational learning environment.

Cannabis Consultants: The Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee

words by Julio Jaquez

The passing of Oregon’s Legalized Marijuana Initiative, more commonly referred to as Measure 91, has produced a massive economic boom that has left many questioning its adolescent regulatory practices. Approved by Oregon voters on November 4, 2014, Measure 91 legalized the sale and usage of recreational marijuana for those ages 21 and older. With this massive responsibility of transforming Oregon’s historically illicit cannabis market into a legal and regulated one, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the OLCC, was tasked with regulation: introducing the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission.

Alongside the five governor-appointed citizen commissioners who set the policies for the OLCC,  the Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee (RAC) was required to be established if Measure 91 was enacted. As of 2014, the RAC was birthed out of legalization of cannabis  that tasked the committee with responsibilities such as assisting and advising the commission on how to properly regulate and develop Measure 91 as the industry continues to blossom. With a total of 16 members, half of the committee are dispensary owners, cannabis growers, manufactures, and processors, while the other half are state commissioners, law enforcement and members working within the state government. Members are invited to be a part of the RAC, and the range of work fields within the committee are deliberate in order to gather a diverse set of perspectives. Appointed in 2015, Ryan JD Christensen, a then small-business owner with no skin in the cannabis game, was invited on to offer a neutral standpoint on the committee.

Ryan JD Christensen, now Vice President of FORTUNE, a company based out of Portland, partners with the cannabis industry to strategically market and creatively package consumer goods out to the legal cannabis market. Ryan began as a creative consultant, working with brands like Red Bull, Nike, Adidas and Whole Foods with no real involvement with the cannabis industry. Ryan’s involvement with the cannabis industry initiated once the legalization of recreational marijuana was passed in Colorado and Washington. “I started freelancing and advising or just seeing if I could sit down with more cannabis companies to talk about branding and their marketing needs if and when Oregon would become a recreational state,” says Christensen, explaining how his career focus was positioned within the cannabis industry.

From February to October 2018, Ryan worked with HiFi Farms, nicknamed the “The Coolest Cannabis Farm in Oregon” by Esquire Magazine. He strategically began to introduce a variety of new products like shatter, pre-rolls and other forms of cannabis infused products to the consumer market. With a stable four year membership within the committee, Ryan explains that the committee connects frequently via email, phone call or even in-person at the OLCC office and offers advice about a plethora of subjects pertaining to cannabis. Another part of being on the committee is being an advocate and allowing yourself to be tapped on the shoulder to help inform those interested about the cannabis industry. “Our answers are not gold. Our answers do not represent the state of Oregon. Our answers are not representative of the OLCC,” expressing that his role within the committee is simply to advise and inform. Considering the committee meets about four times a year, his interaction with others on the committee is limited, but Ryan explains that his willingness to connect members within the cannabis community to previous members of the RAC helps dry the cement within the industry in Oregon.

A previous member on the RAC, Mowgli Holmes, CEO and co-founder of Phylos Bioscience created an agricultural genomics company whose mission is to map out the evolutionary process of the cannabis plant. Alongside his team, Mowgli is focused on extracting and sequencing DNA from every cannabis sample collected. These findings have been placed into visualization by using the 3D map identified as the “Phylos Galaxy” that illustrates the cannabis family tree in order to create a better understanding of traits of each individual strain. With reports from 2016 indicating that Mowgli and his team have documented a total of 1,000 strains, Mowgli claims that currently his team at Phylos Bioscience have now mapped out a total of 3,000 strains, which the company shares on their website. Although Holmes is no longer on the committee, his role as a plant scientist is to continue educating and developing the cannabis industry using big data collection, technology and expertise in order to properly categorize and evaluate various strains.

With members like Mowgli and Ryan, who come from diverse fields of work, the OLCC utilizes the committee’s wide array of perspectives to review and offer advice on proposed regulations. The committee’s advice generally adds significant weight in rule making, but the overall mission of the Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee is to keep the Oregon cannabis industry thriving.

For more information regarding the OLCC and everything else that entailed with the passing of Measure 91, visit www.oregon.gov/olcc

Runner’s High

words by Josh Delzell
photos by Connor Cox

Lazy, dull and careless; all stereotypes to describe stoners.  While it can be nice to give in to couch lock and watch a movie, not all “potheads” are lazy, despite what cultural stigmas may have you believe. Many stay active, and while the science is still murky on whether or not cannabis is beneficial to an active lifestyle, many swear by it. Active runners have said that it helps them push through the pain of a workout because of the high. Former NBA player, Matt Barnes, swears by cannabis use. Barnes said “All my best games I was medicated,” in an interview by Bleacher Report for their B/R x 4/20 piece. While most professional athletes are still hesitant to discuss their cannabis use, recreational athletes can talk more candidly about their consumption. Take Ruben Estrada for instance.

Estrada, a senior at the University of Oregon, has been active for most of his life. “Running has been a hobby of mine for a while,” he said. “I’ve played soccer since I was kid.” Estrada tries to get in a strenuous workout at least three days a week, and he does this all while utilizing cannabis.  He declared that he smokes every day,— following up with a clarification that he typically doesn’t smoke before classes, but occasionally indulges in the classic wake and bake on weekends.

Estrada even used to actively run after a smoke sesh. “It depends on the strain,” he said. “But with a sativa, a two hour plus run, even when the high was coming down, I still felt a little boost to add onto the runner’s high.” Estrada reflected on competing in the last Eugene Marathon. “My parents kind of made me do it. They didn’t force me or anything, but they started to really get into fitness by the end of my high school career.” Estrada felt as if he was getting ‘lazy’ while his parents were whipping themselves into shape. “My dad ran the Portland marathon, and my mom ran the half. I was like ‘dang, they’re in their 40’s, I can do this too!’” Estrada also wanted to challenge the ‘pothead’ stereotype in a way. “It was fun taking a bong rip and following up with a two and half hour run, and thinking, ‘most people won’t do this.’”

Estrada wanted to push back against the stigma of cannabis being detrimental to an active lifestyle, when in reality, it’s more common than you’d think.  “There are so many people that use it, that are professionals and are active on a daily basis.” Despite connotations, some people use cannabis and still go for a run or hit the gym. “I ran a marathon, and there are a lot of people who don’t smoke cannabis that didn’t. So, you can laugh your way to the bank knowing you’re doing stuff others aren’t even when they doubt your lifestyle.”

Estrada unfortunately suffered a knee injury during the marathon. “It was the classic, ‘mile 22 will get ya’,” he said. He suffered an LCL injury, and is currently doing rehabilitation for his knee, but unfortunately doesn’t run as much as he used to. However, Estrada continues to use cannabis as a pain reliever for his knee. “It’s a great pain reliever, it relaxes the pain.” THC and CBD have many anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it an effective pain reliever for active lifestyles. THC also relaxes the nervous system which can help with muscle spasms.  “I work for UO Concessions, so I worked all the football games, and I would end up running around 10 to 12 miles a game,” he said. “So at the end of the day, my knee was pretty sore… cannabis made it easier to go to sleep without a nagging injury keeping me up.” Estrada uses cannabis infused topical cream for his knee. He likens these topicals to Icy Hot. “You can slap it on your knee, back, shoulders or anything. It’s a great soother and relaxer,” he said.

Despite the benefits that cannabis provides to athletic lifestyles, it is still banned in most high profile athletic events. The Olympics and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) lists cannabis as a performance enhancing drug, due to “having the potential to enhance sport performance” and “representing an actual or potential health risk to the athlete,” according to the USADA Marijuana FAQ page. However, according to a study done by the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, no evidence was found of cannabis being a performance enhancing drug. They even touched on the potential cannabis could have to help with traumatic brain injury after further research. “There is no science that says it’s a performance enhancing substance in the context that it gives you an unfair advantage,” said Estrada. “There are ex-NBA players that have come out saying they used it, and it was their saving grace [for their injuries]. I would like to see a time where people  start to understand and empathize with the medical benefits from it, because I see it as a really therapeutic substance.”

With evidence that indicates cannabis can help athletes, it remains banned by high level athletic competitions. Many stigmas about cannabis come from a lack of knowledge and experience. People like Estrada challenge old stigmas and show that cannabis doesn’t make one lazy; how you use cannabis is up to you and your personal lifestyle. While reflecting on his experience in the Eugene Marathon, Estrada left with an anecdote that sums up what it’s like being an athlete that uses cannabis: “At the marathon I was wearing a t-shirt that had a pot leaf on it, and at mile 20 when I was feeling it a little, there was a group of people and one of the guys yells ‘Yeah! Powered by weed!’ and that was a motivator!”