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.

Knowledge Over Stigma: River Valley Remedies

words by Delaney Rea | photo by Michael Davies

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“Destigmatize.” It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot in conversation about the cannabis industry. We’ve all heard canna-advocates express their desire for wider acceptance and deeper understanding of the plant, but how does it become a reality? What tangible steps can be taken toward reaching recognition of the full form and function of cannabis? According to River Valley Remedies, the answer is simple: education.

First, a brief history: River Valley began operation in 2015 as a medical farm in Salem. Marion County, which the capital city resides in, was one of the areas that opted out of recreational sale. While this made the idea of sale in the area a non-starter, another Oregon city lay waiting in the wings. On the eve of 4/20 this past year, River Valley opened shop as a dispensary in Eugene.

Natalie Raulin, River Valley’s resident marketing guru, is one of the core staff who helped the Eugene venture find its initial footing. Raulin’s mother, a midwife from Scotland, introduced her to a healthy dose of medical knowledge as a child. Much of this involved non-Western, medicinal plant practices. This background, along with her chemistry studies, fits River Valley’s approach like a glove.

“[Non-Western] medicines have been around for thousands of years. We wanted to present that tradition to Eugene,” says Raulin.

She’s far from alone. Much of the River Valley team comes from a background in plant medicine, which helps them cater to customers’ medicinal needs. With a pre-existing population in Eugene that was open to non-traditional medicine, it hasn’t been a challenge for River Valley to convince the community of the utility of their products. They essentially operate like a classic apothecary, guiding their patrons individually to make effective use of their services, whether they be medical or recreational. However, this isn’t to say that the dispensary deals solely in cannabis-based remedies. In fact, much of its herbal section doesn’t include cannabis-based products at all.

To help the community better comprehend the benefits of cannabis, River Valley has made concerted efforts to provide them with proper education. As Raulin puts it, the public has a habit of simply looking at the indica and sativa properties of the flower they choose to consume. An approach like this can allow only a skin-deep experience. River Valley combats this with workshops, panels and more events that encourage deeper, more informed interactions with cannabis. Raulin also writes a monthly Q&A with cannabis experts for the Eugene Weekly, which helps River Valley reach a broader portion of the Eugene community.

Educational events occur every month at River Valley, including workshops on how to grow mushrooms and how to create your own tinctures. Tinctures, which are alcohol-based cannabis extracts, were a primary form of cannabis medication prior to the enactment of cannabis prohibition. They serve as an entry point for many users to smokeless cannabis use. River Valley has hosted recurring tincture making workshops, and the events are among their most popular with community members. Since initiating the series, River Valley has only seen attendance to its various events grow as more people become interested in broadening their cannabis knowledge.

“Two months into the business, we had around 20 people showing up. Now, we see more than 100 attendees at [events like] our psilocybin talk,” says Raulin.

Psilocybin, a naturally occurring compound produced in over 200 strains of mushrooms, is another type of holistic medicine River Valley aims to bring to those in need. Research suggests that the compound could be effective in treating depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Currently, there are restrictions in place that restrict them from offering products that use the compound. However, that could change in the near future.

The Oregon Psilocybin Society (OPS) is a group working to bring awareness of and access to psilocybin in Oregon. OPS works in response to increasing research surrounding the safety, benefits and risks associated with controlled psilocybin consumption. Currently, the group is working on the Psilocybin Service Initiative (PSI), an effort for which they are trying to land a spot on the 2020 Oregon general election ballot. If passed, the measure would create access to psilocybin services in Oregon. By holding events that address subjects like psilocybin, River Valley helps raise awareness about the compound.

Coming up, it won’t be a simple task for River Valley to achieve its goals. Oversaturation in the market will prove a challenge to overcome. “There’s a shop on every corner on our street alone,” says Raulin. “We don’t want to compare ourselves to other stores, but we are aware that they’re there.” Despite the competition, Raulin says they don’t want to see competitors fail. They encourage efforts by other locations to provide similar education, with success of the overall industry reflecting well on them in the long run.

So how does River Valley set itself apart? Developing strong relationships with farms is a start, especially as the farms themselves face an uphill battle to move their product out of their warehouses and into the hands of consumers. According to Raulin, there’s an excess level of unused flower in farms around Oregon that far exceeds the amount of consumer demand. River Valley has experienced a resulting influx of farmers attempting cut deals to unload their product. By making it a goal to avoid the lure of this cheaper, typically lower-quality product, River Valley strives to maintains the integrity of their existing farm partnerships and continues to deliver superior-quality flower to their customers.

Moving forward, River Valley aims to continue expanding their event offerings. For example, they just started their terpene presentations series, which will run through the rest of the year. Additionally, they want their education to reach beyond the existing cannabis consumer base.

“We want the whole community to be educated, not just [our patrons],” says Raulin. “We want to put our hands wherever we can help.”

River Valley Remedies’ hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. They are located at 1985 W 7th Ave. Visit them online at RiverValleyRemedies.net, and learn more about OPS at Opsbuzz.com.

 

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.