Strain of The Month: Deadhead OG

written by Mac Larsen 

The last time Jerry Garcia performed in Oregon was June 19, 1994, at the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium. I was, by a technicality, in attendance at the ripe age of negative six months old. My Mom describes herself as “Dead Tolerant,” she was dragged to the show while pregnant by friends from her undergraduate years and refuses to this day to tell me if she imbibed in any of the usual extra-curricular activities that accompany a Grateful Dead concert. 

Some people think that the music you listen to can have a big influence on the tastes of your child-to-be, much like the foods that you eat can inevitably lead to culinary preferences (I’m looking at you, Taco Bell). For those that doubt this theory of musical conditioning, I would refer them to the thousands of hours of golden-age hippie jam-band songs I’ve consumed since that fateful day before I was born. 

If you weren’t born into a primordial desire to listen to graying rock stars play 20-minute guitar solos, our Strain of the Month can provide ample support for your onboarding into the jam-band lifestyle. In recent years The Grateful Dead has seen a resurgence in popularity among the vintage t-shirt wearing crowd of younger audiences, buoyed by tours fronted by early-2000’s soft-rock wailer John Mayer. 

To celebrate the high holiday this year we’re recommending Deadhead OG, an Indica-dominant hybrid combining Chemdog with SFV OG Kush. Aptly named after the fans of the good ol’ Grateful Dead, Deadhead OG is a hoppy flower perfect for a quiet night at home listening to live albums of your favorite throwback artists. Dank and floral, Deadhead OG is the sort of hybrid not so persuasive to stick you to the couch for the evening but not exactly feeling ready to run a mile at Hayward, either. 

Weighing in at a potent 22% average level for THC, Deadhead OG is a perfect strain to include in your shopping during 4/20 sales at local dispensaries such as Eugene OG or Track Town Collective. For the discerning shopper, Deadhead OG is not the sort of Indica-dominant flower that leaves you unmotivated or tired. A progressive high, Deadhead OG can provide a euphoric early phase that develops slowly into a relaxing, preoccupied sense of calm. Describing Deadhead OG is quite a bit like describing one of the best Grateful Dead shows. It features jubilant highs and calming, mysterious lows, switching between the two with ease. A cannabis classic, I recommended combining a holiday celebration with Deadhead OG with a listen to the Dead’s best Oregon concert “The Sunshine Daydream,” you won’t be disappointed. 

Understanding Oregon’s Cannabis Arrest and Incarceration Data

Written by Mac Larsen

Oregon’s incarceration data provides insight into the progress and problems with the state’s drug policies and legislation. In 1973 Oregon became the first state to decriminalize the possession of cannabis, displaying progressive attitudes about drug consumption among voters and politicians. By looking at the state of Oregon’s own Department of Corrections (DOC) data, we can begin to see how the rate of arrest and incarceration for crimes related to federally controlled substances has evolved. While Oregon is making progress in decreasing these numbers, many southern counties are facing a myriad of challenges with illegal cannabis operations, which could lead to the possible increase of arrests as the pandemic continues. 

Across Oregon, arrest and incarceration disparities show inequities in the criminal justice apparatus for people of color. Looking at data from 2018, law enforcement would need a reduction of 351 arrests and 21 felony convictions for Black Oregonians to match the same rate for white individuals. This metric, raw differential representation (RDR), is used in the analysis of bias in criminal justice system across the country. In 2015, the rate of felony possession arrests was 150 arrests higher for Black Oregonians than white ones. These disparities convey that progress for drug arrests and convictions are most often beneficial only for white individuals and the predominant burden of these policies falls on historically marginalized groups. 

THE LAWS THAT HAVE CHANGED THE DATA 

There are several changes to controlled substances and cannabis legalization law in Oregon that affect the way that the numbers change over time. 2012 saw the first contemporary legalization bill raised as a state ballot measure, two years later a similar ballot measure was passed by 56% of voters. The differences between local law, state law and federal law is at the heart of most conflict surrounding cannabis legalization.

For example, in 2019 the State Senate passed Senate Bill 420 which “establishes procedures for persons with qualifying marijuana convictions to file motion requesting court to enter order setting aside conviction,” according to the Oregon Legislature’s website. This allows for those with prior cannabis related convictions to have these expunged from their records if the conviction would no longer stand under current Oregon law. This can be helpful for those seeking to apply for mortgages, find employment, or any other area where formerly incarcerated individuals find a burden of prejudice. 

The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission has also updated their Possession of Controlled Substances report to track the changes that House Bill 2355 has had on the drug trend data in the state. This law reclassified the crime of possession of a controlled substance (PCS) from a Class B or C felony to a Class A misdemeanor. This changed the maximum sentencing for these crimes from ten years and a $250,000 fine to one year and a $6250 fine. HB 2355 took effect in 2017 and decreased the number of felony drug convictions by 61%. 

CANNABIS ARRESTS BY THE NUMBERS 

In 2020, arrests for the sale of cannabis were down by 23% and arrests for the possession were down 34%. These are trends that show how law enforcement is deprioritizing cannabis as a controlled substance when it comes to pursuing drug related crimes. However, between 2015 and 2020, these statistics have been inconsistent, and we can see from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) that arrests for cannabis sales have actually increased by 3%. 

CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE CRIME STATEWIDE | TRENDS 2012 – 2018

CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE CRIME LANE COUNTY | TRENDS 2012 – 2018

Oregon’s UCR data also portrays a downward trend for both drug related arrests and convictions using their dashboard on the Criminal Justice Commission’s website. This data does include all PCS related crime so it’s important to account for the small proportion that cannabis crime makes up of that total. The swap between a predominant number of misdemeanors and felonies occurs over 2017, the same year that HB 2355 took place, which demonstrates the importance of changing the law for sentencing. 

To better understand the state’s given data, there’s a benefit in analyzing what percentage of total drug crimes cannabis possession and sales make up. In 2015, cannabis crime made up 37% of arrests, while six years later in 2020 that percentage had decreased by 9%, leaving cannabis crime only a quarter of the total arrests. 

DRUG INCARCERATIONS IN LANE CO. AND BEYOND 

In Lane County in 2021, there are currently 24 total individuals incarcerated for drug crimes, 16 of which are currently out on probation. These numbers have been dropping steadily since 2015 and show how the implementation of decriminalization laws of both cannabis and other narcotic drugs has led to a decrease in incarcerations. For statewide drug incarcerations this decrease is far less steep, between 2016 and 2019, the number of incarcerations hovered around 1070 and didn’t decrease significantly until 2020 with the pandemic leading to higher rates of probation and less incarcerations. This could be because of the decriminalization of street drugs in 2019 or due to an increase in releases because of COVID dangers. 2021 saw the largest decrease in all drug count incarcerations with a change from 440 first drug sentences in 2019 to 282 in 2020 to only 219 in 2021. 

These trends, decreasing arrests and lower incarcerations rates, show Oregon’s steps forward to prioritize other forms of resources for drug related crimes instead of a reliance on the criminal justice system. Yet, with $25 million in federal funding currently backing southern Oregon’s pursuit of illegal cannabis growers, we could see an increase in arrests and incarcerations in 2022.

METHODOLOGY

Green Eugene gathered incarceration and arrests data using the Oregon state Commission for Criminal Justice statistical dashboard and the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting database. Much of the raw data was unavailable for public analysis but information from UCR was independently analyzed by the author. The visuals that come from the CCJ dashboards are attributed and can be found here. Both Oregon’s and the FBI’s data report through the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) which collects crime data that is independently reported to the agencies. In 2020, the FBI received NIBRS data from 175 of 234 law enforcement agencies in the state. 

Cultivating Progress: Cultiva Law

Written and photographed by Megan McEntee

Aaron Pelley made his name as a cannabis lawyer in the early 2000s. He not only won a large case, but made the argument that his client deserved to get his cannabis back. 

“That made them the first police station slash dispensary in the United States,” said Pelley jokingly. His passion for this standard of justice inspired Pelley to create what is now known as Cultiva Law. 

Cultiva Law is a firm dedicated to the cannabis industry: dealing with legal, business and compliance related cases all around the west coast. Chris Girard, paralegal and strategic operations at Cultiva, describes the firm’s ultimate goal as “the furtherance of policy and the plant.” I had the opportunity to sit down with Girard and Pelley, founder and CEO, to speak about cannabis law and the industry, as well as issues that arise within the livelihood of a lawyer in this field.

 Pelley started out as a criminal defense lawyer dealing with domestic violence and sex offense cases. After a few months, he realized that he didn’t want to represent sex offenders and domestic abusers. 

“If I was going to continue doing it, I was going to represent people committing the kind of crimes that I could see myself committing,” Pelley said. So he began representing drug-related cases. 

This was back in the early 2000s, when there were only one or two “pot” lawyers, as they were called by the general public, in each state. Once medical cannabis started rising in popularity, he began handling the corporate side of the budding industry. 

“I knew I wasn’t smart enough to host an entire corporate law firm,” said Pelley. “So I started hiring other lawyers to handle the transactional side of this.” Enter Cultiva Law. 

Cultiva thrives on its connection to the culture of the industry. Dependent on building the trust of clientele in this field, cannabis lawyers need to be well versed with both industry knowledge and an understanding of the client on a personal level. Pelley takes this aspect of the job very seriously, articulating that a relational understanding is just as important as a legal understanding of cannabis. 

“I have to be the person that they trust,” Pelley said. “These other lawyers aren’t as good if they don’t understand the culture. They don’t understand the people… and frankly, they just don’t understand the outlaw mentality.” Pelley works with a variety of clients who are trying to navigate the newly legalized industry. Many of these clients have complicated criminal histories. Pelley recognises this, stating “these guys were former outlaws, and yeah, they need to be reformed. But they come from a different place.” 

The stigma surrounding cannabis and other drugs creates this social divide, as well as the recency of decriminalization in Oregon creating a new realm of legal uncertainty. Cultiva takes measures to make sure these people feel safe in the wake of a stressful situation with the law. Whether it’s the rocket-shaped paraphernalia in the lobby of the office, the psychedelic band posters on the walls, or the laid-back demeanor of the staff, Cultiva designs every part of the experience to make clients feel safe and seen. 

Misconceptions about cannabis use, both medicinal and recreational, plague the justice system. Pelley has helped countless medical patients with legal issues. “They’re using the drug to become functional. And people that are using cannabis recreationally are functional, and they’re using it to become impaired,” said Pelley.

Let’s say someone uses medicinal cannabis to treat their epilepsy, and they get pulled over; Pelley introduced this hypothetical with a fresh perspective. 

“What do you want more? Do you want a person driving down the road that could have epileptic seizures? Or do you want somebody who’s using cannabis medicinally, and in very measured doses, in order to prevent his seizures?” Context matters in a courtroom, and the current systems in Oregon tend to lack the leeway needed to accommodate these situations, according to Pelley. 

Cannabis DUIs are a hot-button issue within the legal and law enforcement community. It is a class B traffic violation if the driver or passenger consumes cannabis while inside the motor vehicle, according to Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 811.482. There is a lot of discourse surrounding whether or not smell should be considered probable cause, especially considering possession of cannabis alone is no longer illegal in Oregon. Scent could just mean there is cannabis in the vehicle, which is legal as long as the person in possession is over 21 and the product is sealed in a closed container. 

“Smell doesn’t always equal consumption. The scent of marijuana should be no different than the smell of coffee,” said Pelley. 

Cultiva Law’s caseload is largely business-related, and as such, Girard had insights on how the fallout of the war on drugs impacted disadvantaged populations struggling to break into the industry. Directly after the commercial sale of cannabis was legalized in Oregon in 2014, the first people to start dispensaries tended to be small growers with large investors. These investment groups required startup money to be vetted, meaning the funds were examined for risk potential. 

For people who were selling cannabis in the illicit market prior to legalization, this new requirement posed an issue in moving into the legal market. 

“Ironic that they don’t want people that made a lot of money selling weed to be licensed, and make the state taxes,” said Girard. “I mean, this drug trade originally was built on an inclusiveness of all racial categories, and of all economic categories… And so when we look at the recreational market, it should be no different.” 

This has contributed to an imbalance in the industry when it comes to the racial and socioeconomic background of cannabis business owners. “It’s insane, the economic divide that’s in the industry,” said Girard, “I think that divide is also what keeps the war on drugs going… what keeps it fueled.” The Oregon government has made an effort to remedy this through social equity programs. 

In 2016, the Social Equity and Educational Development (SEED) program was introduced in Oregon. One of the initiatives in this program, the SEED grant, aims to provide more accessible licenses to people in “economically disparaged areas and discriminated groups” receive special consideration for a cannabis business license. 

“I think that we’re gonna see a lot more opportunities that then may be granted to the industry as a whole once we see the positive effects they have,” said Girard. 

One opinion seemed universal across the conversation: once cannabis is legalized federally, progress will come faster. And what we’re seeing is that the economic development that legalized commerce is providing is actually pushing the state legislature to catch up. 

For example, the DEA and USPS are currently working together on policy regarding the mailability of Delta-9 THC, due to the economic opportunities it will provide as well as the precedent set by the mailability of hemp flower. 

“We’re seeing the end to the war on drugs, not through presidential action or legislative action like we’ve been promised for so many decades by every politician. Now we’re seeing it because of the mechanisms of an industry that are forcing it to happen,” said Girard. “It’s phenomenal to watch.”

The staff at Cultiva Law are working hard to try and remedy a broken system, and an infantile industry. Whether it’s taking countless pro-bono cases, filling the pews of a courtroom, or fighting tooth-and-nail for their clients; they are making a difference that can be reflected in the tides of a developing industry and culture. “I don’t think anybody should be going to jail for a plant,” said Pelley with a wry chuckle. “I just don’t.”

 But change is happening, one small win at a time. “Change has to come slowly. Otherwise it’s too chaotic,” said Girard. “Right?” 

Prosecuting Peace: lasting impacts of cannabis prohibition 

Written and photographed by Gino Savaria 

The isolated backwoods of Douglas county enticed Chris Poulos as a reprieve from the excessive stimulation he was sensitive to. It seemed like a perfect first home for him and an ideal place to grow cannabis— until he spent four years immersed in a battle with Oregon’s judicial system.

Poulos shared that he has struggled with PTSD from a young age, and that he is on the autism spectrum. He said it wasn’t until he tried cannabis as an adolescent that he realized the chronic stress and dissociation he was used to was not the only way of being. 

“When you’re 15, you don’t know what the hell’s going on, but I realized ‘wow, I suddenly feel better when I use this substance,’” Poulos said. 

By his late 20s, he had grown a passion for cannabis, as well as about 70 developed plants. He said that many of his friends couldn’t grasp how he calmly produced a small farm in his house while Douglas county tended to deal harsh sentences for cannabis related crimes. To Poulos, the risks hardly registered. 

That was until Feb. 16, 1996, when two police detectives drove past numerous cautionary road signs and up Poulos’s steep gravel driveway. In an appellate brief of the incident, the two officers reported receiving an anonymous tip that led them to the backwoods residency. Poulos said that to this day, he does not know exactly where they received their information from, but suspects the electric company’s meter reader. 

Poulos said that as they spoke at the top of his drive, the lead detective identified a cannabis plant sitting in a second story window. Poulos believed this would have been far outside their vantage point. 

“They came at 10 a.m. when the sun’s fairly high and the window is more of a mirror, and yet they somehow knew there was a plant behind it. Which was stupid to leave there of course on my part, but I don’t know if there was anything I could have done at that point,” said Poulos.

He said the officers seemed to show up loaded with the information they needed to make an arrest. Yet, according to official records from the court of appeals, they failed to secure a search warrant before arriving. Although the injustice was obvious, the point was moot.

“What was interesting to me was the lead detective had a macho attitude seeming to say, ‘I’m hot shit, and I can do whatever the fuck I want. I’ll throw your ass in jail. I don’t need a search warrant,’” said Poulos.

He recounted that the officers locked him in a Roseburg jail cell for four nights. On Feb. 21st, he was released 45 miles from his home without a vehicle or money to help him get home. When he returned to his property, it was as if he had been robbed. His truck, his house, his CD collection; the state had seized it all, claiming it must have been purchased with drug money, according to Poulos. Intending to push back against the infringement on his freedom,, Poulos quickly hired Robert McCrea, an attorney based out of Eugene. 

“Back then, especially in Douglas County, they were sentencing people for 20 years. So my attorney wasn’t gung ho or like ‘we’re going to get you out of this.’ I guess he didn’t want to make any claims he didn’t know for sure,” said Poulos. 

For eight months the case loomed over his head, leaving him to simmer on the diverging paths ahead of him. He said that when the day of the trial finally arrived, the prosecution approached McCrea with what Poulos believed to be a decent offer: the state agreed to keep him out of prison as long as he pleaded guilty. 

“I think that’s usually their plan when they acquire evidence without a warrant, and most of the time people probably take the deal because they don’t want to go to jail. It’s kind of like a little scam,” said Poulos. 

Poulos said their defense was based on sound logic and McCrea appeared relatively optimistic, so he decided to deny the plea deal. They instead argued that the arresting officers lacked a warrant, and signs warning trespassers should have made it clear that Poulos did not welcome uninvited guests to his property.

According to Poulos, the presiding judge, Joan Glawe Seitz, had commented that she was familiar with the area and would have been uncomfortable driving up to his house herself. He said the case wrapped up fairly quickly and Seitz declared him innocent of the charges against him. However, the prosecution immediately filed a notice of appeal, claiming the judge was biased and the case deserved a retrial. Poulos’s relief vanished as he remained suspended in the legal system’s web. 

“They just made it as hard for me as possible. While they used tax money to pay the prosecutor, they knew I’d bleed from my own pocket. My attorney wasn’t gonna do the appeal for free,” Poulos said. 

With the state still in possession of his truck, his only mode of transportation at the time, and his debts compounding, Poulos turned back to cannabis as a source of income. He said he didn’t see much of a choice, and feared losing his house if his bills were left unpaid. 

A year after his first arrest while awaiting an appeal, Poulos came home to find a note left by county law enforcement requesting that he surrender himself. The detectives searched his home while he was out—but this time they had a warrant, he said. 

Poulos called McCrea, who suggested he listen to their note. After spending one night in a jail cell, he was released with another trial ahead of him. 

According to Poulos, they obtained the warrant for his second arrest by using information from the still open first case. 

On July 23, 1997, three appellate judges considered the arguments made by the prosecuting and defending attorneys. The prosecution claimed that the no trespassing signs and various others  posted were insufficient to imply the detectives were unwelcome, and he should have erected a physical barrier instead. McCrea challenged these allegations, asserting that the measures Poulos took were sufficient enough.

The appellate judges affirmed the ruling of the first trial, stating that “there was no evidence that even the customary casual visitor would be welcome on [the] defendant’s property.”

Half the evidence the prosecution held against Poulos dissolved with this judgment, and freedom appeared within reach. Yet, the state still justified its warrant. They argued that his electric bill was far too high for a property without a permanent resident. 

“This was my house. I lived there every day and they just flat out lied about it,” he said. 

According to Poulos, the second trial revolved around this new notion. The state presented that the Registered Guard receptacle sitting beneath his mailbox was overstuffed with newspapers, and was apparent proof he did not actively live there. Combined with a statement from the electric company regarding significant power usage, they argued that the property was solely a cannabis farm.  

“I wasn’t receiving any newspapers at the time, so I would just take the junk mail and stuff it in the Registered Guard receptacle, not really thinking much of it. I wanted to hold up that newspaper receptacle and say, judge does this fucking look like newspapers to you? Or does this look like trash?” said Poulos.

However, he did not need to; after a third trial he was once again declared not guilty. He said that this judge even appeared fairly irritated with the lead detective, who at this point Poulos felt was  harassing him. 

As the prosecution ran out of steam, they made a hail mary effort for an appeal that once again ended in favor of Poulos.

Poulos narrowly avoided prison, but he did not get off scot free. He soon found the Department of Revenue billing him for $18,000. This was money he did not have, and as interest rates approached 10%, he felt cornered. Poulos said that he didn’t really know what he was supposed to do, so he just kept filling out forms the Department of Revenue sent him, hoping it would stall the process a bit—and once again found his way back to growing cannabis

After numerous documents sent back and forth, he was slightly surprised to see that he had another court date. This time, he would be the prosecutor. He found a tax lawyer in Eugene and pushed for the absolvement of the debt. 

He was disappointed to learn that while they could not throw him in jail, the department of revenue had no issue fining him. In the end he was able to take the fee down to $8,000.

“There’s a lot of things that get fucked up when the state comes in and interferes with your life. So you know, it kind of forced me to address my anger and where my life was because ultimately it’s up to me,” said Poulos

Nearly 15 years after his first arrest, a bout of depression pushed him to turn off his grow lights and leave his cannabis plants in the past. Yet, nurturing plants continues to be a daily ritual that helps him find peace. Poulos said that he sustains an ample garden and greenhouse of vegetables, but he does not grow cannabis anymore.

As he sorted through potatoes crowded by eager shoots he reflected. “I am so thankful that, now, I can just walk two blocks to a store and buy standardized edibles without any danger of getting arrested.”

What you need to know about cannabis law in 2022

Written and Photographed by Alice Yeager 

Beginning on January 1st, 2022, the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) outlined new law changes going into effect for the sale of cannabis products. Most of the rules specifically affect the sale and distribution of cannabis products, but there is news for consumers as well. These changes will increase the amount customers can buy as well as regulate safer packaging with better information on dosage and ingredients. If you don’t want to sit down and read the twelve-page compliance bulletin to find out exactly how this is going to affect you, the customer, then don’t worry: I’ll do it for you!

  • The amount of smokable cannabis you can purchase as a recreational user has been increased from one ounce to two ounces. As we are seeing a surge in the COVID-19 Omicron variant this raise comes at the perfect time for people trying to limit their contact with the outside world. Now is the perfect time to stock up, stay home and light up. 
  • This increase will also affect THC based concentrated edibles. You can now purchase 100 MG of edible concentrates which is doubled from the previous 50 MG. 
  • There are also some changes coming to cannabis delivery, which will now allow some counties and cities to deliver to areas outside their formerly regulated radiuses. This will potentially allow more access for cannabis users in rural or disputed areas who may not feel comfortable or have the access to go to a dispensary. 
  • There will also be increased focus on safety and regulation of artificial cannabis products. Manufacturers will now need to provide GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) grade certification to the FDA before being sold to consumers. As consumable cannabis becomes more popular this is an important step in expecting the same level of quality with cannabis consumables as you would regular food items. 

With the new changes to the Oregon law it may be hard to keep track of what exactly you can or can’t do as a recreational consumer. Don’t worry: here’s my guide for consuming cannabis safely and legally. And of course, these guides are for people 21 and older. 

Q: How much cannabis can I keep on my person when I’m out in public?

As of February 2022, Oregon has yet to update their guidelines on recreational user possession limits to reflect the new purchase limit. It’s safe to assume that you can still only possess up to one ounce on you at a time in public spaces. It’s best to be on the safer side and try not be out and about with more than an ounce until an official update has been released.

Q: Is it legal for me to drive after consuming cannabis products? I am still a competent driver while I’m high. 

Driving under the influence of cannabis is not only illegal but also not cool. Being high and deciding to drive can land you a DUI, which leads to fines well over $1,000 and even jail time. The CDC has also found that cannabis use negatively affects reaction time and coordination, and can become dangerous when behind the wheel. Don’t put yourself or others in danger; take the bus or grab a lift. Seriously. Don’t drive high. 

Q: I’m traveling down to California. Can I bring some Oregon paraphernalia and products with me?

Sorry but no, you cannot legally bring cannabis from Oregon to another state even if cannabis is legal in that state. So smoke it all before crossing state lines—even Washington and California. 

Q: Where can I smoke?

A: The rule of thumb is you can smoke on private property but not in public places. So locations such as parks, bars and concerts are all places you can get into serious trouble for consuming cannabis. In these sorts of environments, it is best to use common sense and avoid situations where you are consuming marjuana around people who may not consent. The best place to consume is at home or at a friend’s place where you are on private property. 

Q: What if I rent my home?

A: This is up to your landlord, they reserve the right to make up the rules on their own property within reason. The most common issue is if you are smoking in a rented unit, most often landlords will provide information on their smoking policy in your lease. You may have to find other ways of consuming cannabis in your home based around the policies you and your landlord have agreed to. 

You can read the full 2022 law here: https://www.oregon.gov/olcc/marijuana/Documents/Bulletins/Compliance_2021_04.pdf

Then vs. Now: Reflecting on Oregon’s relationship with cannabis

Written by Lily Brennan

Last year when I moved to Oregon, my father and I did a cross-country road trip from New York. As soon as we crossed from Idaho and into the Beaver State, we were instantly welcomed to the first dispensary we’ve ever seen, with New York still being an illegal state and all. And as we ventured onward, it seemed as though the further you traveled into the state, the more apparent cannabis was for Oregonian lifestyles and cultures. It had me wondering…

What was Oregon like before recreational legalization in 2015? Would I have been a bit less shell-shocked if I had moved here prior? Coming from a state where I was used to the negative connotations and illegal activity pinned on cannabis use, I was interested in finding out just how much Oregon may have changed due to its legalization.

Background

Oregon was the first state to have decriminalized small amounts of weed in 1973, as well as one of the first that allowed medical use. This being said, tolerance has a history of being challenged by those who oppose it, and this was no different for recreational legalization.

On November 4th, 2014, there was a statewide ballot that contained the Oregon Legalized Marijuana Initiative, Measure 91, otherwise known as the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act of 2014. This went on as an initiated state ballot (a citizen-initiated ballot measure that amends state law) which was then approved by only 56.11% in favor.

Measure 91 legalized recreational cannabis for people ages 21 and older, allowing them in turn to possess up to eight ounces of “dried marijuana” and up to four plants. After its initial approval in 2014, Governor Kate Brown signed its legislation on July 27, 2015, making the first legal sale date for marijuana up a year to October 1, 2015. Oregon was officially the third state in the US to legalize recreational cannabis use.

The Initial Aftermath

It seemed almost instant that recreational cannabis was a controversial topic in Oregon. During the 2015 legislative session, the Oregon Legislature considered a 17 to 20% state sales tax on marijuana retail sales. This upset many individuals who were already practicing medical cannabis use, but also those who planned to start legally purchasing for recreational use. Others found it as a beneficial opportunity for the state.

Opinions seemed relevant to county locations as well. For example, legislation was also designed in 2015 to allow counties where 55 percent or more of voters opposed Measure 91 to ban cannabis sales. A total of 15 counties rejected the initiative by that margin, all of which are east of the Cascade Range.

Overall, the reaction to Measure 91 passing was extreme from both ends. Some were incredibly joyful while others were absolutely enraged. At this time, many were unsure of how this would affect societal interactions, taxation, local cultures, regulations, or even the impressions of the state in relation to the rest of the US.

So… Did Things Change?

After legalization, recreational cannabis became an incredibly successful industry across Oregon. In mid-2016, there were fewer than 100 Oregon businesses licensed to sell recreational cannabis. Applications for licenses began to skyrocket towards the very last months of 2016, partially due to the legalization that required businesses to obtain a “recreational license” from the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) in order to recreationally sell, effective Jan. 1, 2017. The number of licensed retailers nearly tripled in the one-month span from early Dec. 2016 to early Jan. 2017.

As expected, state and local recreational cannabis sales/excise taxes generated (and still does today) a hefty amount of tax revenue. For example, over $78 million in tax revenue was generated in 2017, the same year that licenses were a requirement in order to sell recreationally. Many may wonder where this tax revenue goes. A 2019 audit found that “most of the collected taxes have gone toward shortages in the city’s general fund and specifically to police and transportation programs.” 

Socially, it seems much more widely accepted to use cannabis now. Despite the controversy that sprouted from its initial legalization, recreational cannabis use has become extremely common, and is even seen as equivalent to alcohol consumption by many. There are still some Oregonians who don’t support it, but reports have found this to be heavily related to generational and regional differences. Many report that Oregon’s prior history in relation to cannabis may have helped dissipate the initial tension, as medical legalization in 1998 paved a way to remove negative connotations associated with weed.

Culturally, much of Oregon stayed the same. Similarly to how medical legalization began to normalize cannabis use, cannabis itself had already begun assimilating into Oregonian cultures for decades. Recreational use becoming legal created a larger space and community for consumption across the state, even as far as having cannabis-themed restaurants or bars. The cultural tolerance to weed stayed the same, while the execution of the practice became more publicized.

Reflection

Despite only being legalized recreationally six years ago, cannabis has been oriented into Oregonian cultures and lifestyles for numerous decades. As Oregonians it is important that we all understand the recreational laws, and continue to educate ourselves to keep both ourselves and the greater community safe.

Strain of The Month: Critical Cure

 Written and photographed by Siena Dorman 

Featuring an unusually pleasant ratio of CBD to THC, the Critical Cure strain has calming, low-key psychoactive effects that can be enjoyed for many reasons. Critical Cure generally offers an 80:20 CBD-THC ratio which is ideal if you’re looking for something to spark relaxation, calm emotional stresses or feel inspired while tackling a creative activity. 

In Eugene, this indica strain can be found as a preroll with about 11% CBD and 6% THC, which makes Critical Cure the perfect portable smoking option.The effects of Critical Cure seem to take a bit longer than other THC-heavy strains; this creates a subtle high that you can naturally ease into. 

The aromas of Critical Cure are modest and smooth and it has a largely nutty flavor, with a bit of a light fruity taste. The burn is smooth and does not overwhelm the senses.

For anyone who experiences chronic muscle pain, this strain will be excellent for a bit of assistance. Your muscles will start relaxing as you enjoy Critical Cure and you will find sharp pains begin to dull out. If you like to practice activities like yoga and meditation, this strain will help you focus in and listen to your body’s natural impulses to stretch. The relaxing effects of this strain do not impair your own motivation to move around. The high CBD content makes moving your body feel really good and it may seem like your body knows exactly where it needs an extra stretch. 

The head high of Critical Cure is calm. You may feel motivated to take on a task (without feeling too many psychoactive effects) or you may be more encouraged to hang back and read a book. The versatility of Critical Cure allows your own intentions to take the wheel. You won’t feel pulled to do anything in particular, just feel lighter doing what you please which is a nice alternative found in CBD forward products. 

This strain is helpful for many kinds of cannabis users, but it is notably great for those who occasionally feel heightened anxiousness with weed use. 

Opt for Critical Cure when you’re not looking for a strong head high. This CBD strain is a problem solver and can be the perfect strain to start a smoke session with. The calming and medicinal effects will set you up for a pleasant and dynamic high when paired with stronger THC strains. 

Growing at Home: The Second Season 

Written and photographed by Kaylynn Wohl 

In our last harvest issue, I provided an overview of my first successful Oregon grow with Jack Herer as my chosen child. This season, I doubled up on plant bodies to care for. It was Mother’s Day weekend, the prime time to plant outdoors, when my Jedi Master grower friend Alan helped me adopt two sisters of the same strain: Purple Punch. 

The visual cues between the twins made it difficult to know who’s who, so I named them Agatha and Beatrice. Figuring only one symbol of identification would suffice, Agatha was given a raw blue agate stone placed at the edge of the root pouch.

Early on, I ran an Instagram story poll asking “which team are you?” and Agatha won popularity. A few weeks later, I started noticing that one had more success in the race towards the sun. 

I began wondering about the metaphysical implications of having a crystal in one but not the other. Or maybe I was focusing more one the one with the marker. 

I recalled a video of Dr. Masaru Emoto’s rice experiment showing the power of positive words and how they affect the growth of grains of rice resting in water. The idea is that the rice that was praised started to sprout and grow while the ones that were ignored or criticized rotted and decomposed. I assumed maybe having more attention on one plant was causing the other one to struggle. I began to give more intentional words of gratitude to hyping Beatrice up, and I placed a ring of rose quartz at the base of her soil to continue our season. While some progress was made, I was truly questioning the sisterhood of these girls.  

For flourishing foliage, bat guano was my main nutrient, keeping it organic despite the fact that I’ll have these buds wrapped in a Swisher Sweet in no time (yes, we all have our flaws). Progress was noticeable up until I spotted a pause. I returned to my Jedi Master with two questions, those of which he answered with: check the water pH and, “Oh! You don’t have Purple Punch. I gave you Purple Passion and OG Blue Cheese.” We all have forgetful stoner minds, so this was no big deal. I later learned he was also growing Purple Passion. I was just relieved to find out I was in fact hearing them hum a different tune. 

You’d be surprised how much travel was necessary to obtain a pH meter and buffer solution in this town. Many of us Eugenerds have had the delightful Eugene experience of having one specific item needed to obtain but it takes a minimum of four destinations to finally complete the quest… or we simply give up to resort to giving the internet gremlins our money. Shout out to the Constant Gardener for most of my treasure hunt finds, including their own pH up (called Olympus Up) and pH down (cleverly called Hades Down) solutions. This Nectar of the Gods line comes in black bottles with intricate labels; they’re pretty metal so of course I’ll be throwing dollars at their product.

I tested my good ol’ tasty tap water and was shocked when I saw a loud 8.3 appear on the meter. An ideal range for cannabis (depending on their stage) is 5.5-6.5. Cannabis plants cannot absorb and process any more nutrients unless being within this sweet spot. I put my scientist pants on (and gloves of course) and began the process of making a stockpile of bat-shit-tea. Keeping in mind that nutrients added to water will alter the pH, I was sure to add the solutions after the guano. 

As the colder nights rolled in and I rolled up, my girls began showing more distinct differences. Beatrice, identified as Purple Passion, darkened her leaves with hinted hues of maroon and plum. Although her size was significantly smaller than her neighboring OG Blue Cheese, I was pleasantly surprised with how beautiful her buds were in comparison. The rocky upbringing was so worth it when I arrived at the flowering stage. I’ve never seen such a beautifully deep purple before. My OG Blue Cheese, as smelly and thick as she was, stood taller than me at around five and a half feet. Vibrant green leaves fanned throughout the frosty colas. 

My Jedi Master told me, “They say if you think you’re ready to harvest, you should wait another week.” So I waited and saw more progress. Another week came by, and I waited some more. By mid October, I gathered some leaf clippings from around the buds and we inspected them under a scientific microscope, although jewelers scope works fine for those with sturdy hands. 

For a nice body high and some couch lock, I was looking for 15-24% of the trichomes to appear in amber rather than milk splotches. Anything from 40-50% and they start to break down and deteriorate. 

On October 16th, I pulled Agatha and Beatrice’s fan leaves off and moved them inside to live in dark solitude for two days. Upon entry, my house smells like dank farts. My guests don’t mind, and my roommates patiently wait by my side as I prepare to cure. This may have been my most stressful growing experience as I was challenged with far more intricacies due to the finicky nature of these two strains. I walked right up to my edge and leveled up in growing experience. I can’t wait to set these flowers to flame. 

High Recommendations: Time for a Trip

Written and photographed by Kaylynn Wohl 

Another ritual has been added to my routine. I get my cashback, roll over to Jamaica Joel’s on 13th and Willamette, and make my way up the brick-color tiled stairs. Passing through the middle chill zone with a posted up Tiki DJ, I enter the dispo. I look around at all the weed things for sale, pretending I’m in the market for something new while playing it cool like I don’t go there regularly. Once the budtender asks what I’m looking for, I quit the games and get straight to business. “Do you have Trip Packs right now?” I ask, ready to be squinty-eyed. 

Purchasing prerolls seems silly if you’re a seasoned roller who prides on self efficiency, but sometimes the lazy couchlock hits and there’s no motivation to break it down and roll it up. These packs definitely combat this minor inconvenience, making chain smoking easier than ever. Locally sourced in Southern Oregon by Epoch Farm, Trip Packs come in paper cigarette pack-like containers that hold 10 half gram joints, ready for any on-the-go adventure. The environmentally concerned toker in me is always glad to avoid the thick plastic pop tops that many prerolls come in. My singular complaint: resealing the pack could be improved, a sticker is provided but not always effective. Still, they’re super aesthetically pleasing, and one carton even features our beloved Bigfoot chillin’ a mountainous forest scene. 

For different occasions and unique adventures, there are four kinds of packs. The standard pack, perfect for any high time, is where these products all began. They come in many fan favorite strains like Blue Dream and GMO Cookies. Hitting the trails? Try the Adventure Pack for terpenes rich in taste and low THC to ensure continued movement—or the ability to still get your shit done. 

The seasonal packs come in a white carton displaying artwork of a mountain, a crystal cluster and an Aurora Borealis skyline. This line is designed to get smokers through long snowy nights with a higher THC to keep you warm. Afterall, what better way to get through a winter than to be toasty with Ultraviolence. My favorite addition to my own stash would have to be the variety packs due to having two options in one buy. Sometimes I mix them up to make myself guess what I’m puffing on. 

The single strain packs also come in many fan favorites like Bruce Banner and Secret Formula (this one gets me absolutely blasted to Pluto compared to the rest). For the variety packs, I highly recommend: Mendo Purple and Purple Punch or Deadhead OG and Sunday Driver. 

These products are super affordable, hooking you up with five grams for what an eighth can typically go for. The quality tight roll keeps them from burning out quickly, and the half gram size ensures lasting flavor throughout the burn. Planning a trip? Incorporate these j’s on your packing list for an extra lit adventure! 

Harvesting Hacks

Written and photographed by Skyla Patton 

The leaves are changing color, the wind has a chill to it and the colas are leaning over with the weight of the world on their shoulders… harvest season has arrived! After a long season of cultivating and doting over your plants, the time has finally come to bust out the shears and get to work. Check out these tips to make your harvest season go a little smoother, whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned chopper looking for new tricks. 

Set up a station beforehand 

Once you start pulling nugs down, everything around you will quickly become covered in a layer of sticky, almost-impossible-to-get-off resin, so it’s important to set up a work station first. If you’re outdoors, set out your tables and chairs and create separate areas for things like snacks and tools for the day. Put valuables like phones and keys (or other items you don’t want to get messy) in a basket for safekeeping, while things like gloves and trimmers should be laid out and easily accessible even with dirty hands. If you have a canopy or tent, put that up for extra weatherproofing.

Use buckets or crates to organize once the plants come down 

For different strains, most growers want to keep the plants separated so you know which is which later on while drying and trimming. Label buckets, crates or even laundry baskets with strips of painters tape and a sharpie so you know which containers have which strain as you take them down. When you dry the stems later on, use the painters tape again to separate the strains in sections while hang drying or label the trays individually, depending on how you choose to dry. 

Keep those trimmers clean

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to work with a grubby, gummed up pair of clippers. Grab a lighter and an old rag or paper towel, and heat up the blade of your trimmers until the material smokes a bit. Wipe the blade (comes off very easily) with your rag and boom! Fresh shears, just like new. 

Stay hydrated and don’t shy away from the snacks 

Work is work, and harvest is a lot of work! It’s super important to take care of your body even while you’re grinding it out so the motivation is backed up by energy. Drink lots of water or tea to stay hydrated, stock up on easily-grabbable snacks and don’t hesitate to take a good lunch break when you need to fuel up. Pro Tip: Prepare a dinner in the crockpot before heading out to work so by the time you’re ready to eat, it’s ready to be eaten!

Take time to clean up the nugs

This is a hotly-contested debate in the growing community, but the bottom line is: nugs are easier to trim later on if you spend extra energy tidying them up on the stem during harvest. If time allows, spend a few extra minutes with each stem and snip off all the sun leaves with your clippers before drying so they’re not covered in wilted greenery by the time you’re ready to trim. Your future self will be thankful!

Don’t forget the entertainment 

Harvest is undoubtedly a long process, even if you’re only dealing with a handful of plants. Don’t make it harder on yourself and your work buddies by sitting in silence or forcing small talk for eight hours. Download a few good playlists with lots of energy, or my personal favorite, a binge-worthy podcast and let a Bluetooth speaker guide your work to keep everyone entertained, but focused.