How to Stash Your Stash

Words by Delaney Rea | Photo by Trevor Meyer

Finding your ideal strain of marijuana is essential to the experience. Each variety has its own set of nuances and user effects, so researching what works for you is worth the effort. However, if you’re still storing your bud of choice in the same old Ziploc plastic baggies, you’re doing it mighty wrong. Plastic bags can damage the quality of the flower, leaving you with a much less potent supply than you originally started with. With the cannabis industry on the rise, the need for smarter storing methods has risen too.

Mason jars are one solution to the plastic bag problem. You probably know these ubiquitous containers for their wide range of uses: drinkware, canning, decor, food storage, etc. These versatile, nearly air-tight sealed glass jars are practically tailor-made for keeping cannabis in pristine condition. Glass contains the terpenes of the bud far more effectively, while also preventing the chemical transference into the bud itself that comes from plastic containers. The quality of your flower will be better maintained in a glass jar.

The team at Re:stash recognizes the power of the mason jar. Started by University of Oregon graduates Eric Harvey, Nicole Harvey and Adrian Kimberley, Re:stash’s parent company Mason-re began as a to-go coffee cup manufacturer that used the jars as a selling point. Originally, the venture was funded by Kickstarter. Their initial goal was to raise $8,000, which they significantly overshot—to the tune of $17,000.

Unlike many student-created Kickstarter projects, this launching point allowed the business to take off. Berner, a San Francisco-based rapper and entrepreneur, saw promise in the new company and became their first investor. As one of the parties responsible for introducing the popular Girl Scout Cookies strain to the dispensary market, Berner had connections in the cannabis industry that helped the Harveys and Kimberley further cement their place as a premiere bud storage manufacturer.

Now, the company integrates the mason jar into their line of cannabis storage products. According to Kimberley, who serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Mason-re, the idea for the Re:stash product line came when they noticed how popular mason jars had become for storing cannabis. The Re:stash line now ranks among their most popular products. “People like the fact that someone is finally doing it right,” Kimberley said.

The use of “re” in the Mason-re and Re:stash brand stands for reducing, reusing and recycling. Based in Bend, the company’s philosophy is to promote sustainability. Their mason jars are meant to be reused beyond their initial purpose. Re:stash jars are more sustainable than the environmentally damaging, single-use plastic tubs that most dispensaries use to sell their product. Additionally, every Re:stash lid uses their own patented design. The flax-filled polypropylene lids are made with biological waste product to replace traditional materials that would take energy to mine and produce, thus reducing their carbon footprint. This reduction of plastic waste is a major part of what drives the Re:stash business model. Additionally, the lids are designed to be child-proof, so you won’t have to worry about any young ones getting their hands on your supply.

Re:stash jars improve marijuana storage in a variety of ways. With size options ranging from 4 to 16 ounce jars (which can hold an entire ounce of cannabis), Re:stash has the right jar for any user. The first thing you’ll notice about the jars is the 100% premium silicone koozie that wraps around the outside of the glass. Opaquely colored, the koozies prevent damage from excessive light exposure. With an array of colors and designs, there’s a koozie to match anyone’s preferred aesthetic. These koozies stop the temperature inside the jar from fluctuating. Since bud is best stored in a cool, dry place, the Re:stash koozie will help preserve the flower quality no matter where it’s stored. If you have a tendency for clumsiness, the Re:stash koozie also prevents breaks from dropping. Additionally, the koozie helps to prevent the growth of mildew and mold on your product.

Re:stash isn’t the only company to make use of glass packaging. At Frequent Vibrationz, hand-picked buds stay sealed in glass containers to keep them fresh. Like Re:stash, Frequent Vibrationz strives to maintain a commitment to environmental sustainability. Their glass jars can be returned in-store after every 10 flower purchases for a 10% discount. Fewer plastic containers from dispensaries ending up in landfills will help you reduce your carbon footprint while enjoying your favorite strain.

Re:stash products can be found at Re-Stash.com, with additional mason jar products by Mason-re at Mason-Re.com. Frequent Vibrationz (541-505-9671) is located at 1409 Oak St. in Eugene. They’re open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Budtender Spotlight: Kyrsha Witherspoon

Interview and Photo by Anna Glavash

How and when did you become a budtender?

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

First time you got high?

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

Funny customer interaction?

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

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

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

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

What do you look for in a strain?

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

What’s special about this shop?

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

Favorite way to consume?

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

What do you do when you’re not here?

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

Are you high right now?

A little bit!

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

Like Honey To Bees: Cannabis Extraction from Flower to Jar

Words by Anna Glavash | Photo by Sierra Pedro

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

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

Hydrocarbon Extraction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CO2 Extraction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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