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.

Strain of The Month: Cantaloupe Haze

Written and photographed by Noah Noteboom

As you sit in your room listening to the rain hit the roof, you find yourself craving something to do. With the weather taking a turn for the worst, staying indoors is probably a good idea. Autumn gives us the opportunity to huddle around the fire or catch up on those movies we have stashed away for rainy days. But movies like Hocus Pocus, Good Will Hunting or The Nightmare Before Christmas can only provide entertainment for so long, before you need something else to do.

That is where our Strain of the Month comes into play. Cantaloupe Haze (also spelled as Cannalope Haze) takes the honor this month. Although low in CBD, this flower more than makes up for it with earthy smells and a higher concentration of THC.

This indica-dominant strain is a mix of Mexican and Haze Brothers to create a blend of cannabis that is meant to uplift the spirits and soothe your mind. Cantaloupe Haze can be a sweet relief from the seasonal sadness that often comes with the change in weather.

The fruity flower has a very potent aroma. The smell of flowers and tropical sweets romance you, and the earthy nugs have a similar taste as well. As you indulge, you can taste hints of sweet and sour melons along with a slight whiff of pine in the aftertaste. 

With THC levels ranging anywhere from 20-28%, use caution when smoking this strain. It is recommended that newer users consume smaller doses and with lots of patience to avoid couch-lock. As with most indica strains, the amount you intake has a direct impact on the weight of the effects. Smoking just the right amount will make getting things done a breeze. But be careful, because if taken in excess, this strain will leave you feeling sleepy and unmotivated.

Especially in the current condition of the world, Cantaloupe Haze offers a big morale boost. Quarantine will feel a little less claustrophobic and a bit brighter with this mellow, productive strain guiding you through the day. 

Cannabis Culture and Celebration: Where 420 Came From

written by Theresa Carpenter, photo from Unsplash

It’s April 20th and the clock finally strikes: 4:20 p.m. As you sit back and relax to enjoy the best hour on the chillest day of the year, your mind starts to wander. Why is 4:20 p.m. the chosen time to smoke cannabis, and what makes April 20th so special?

It all started in 1971 with five high school boys, who named themselves “The Waldos” in Marin County, California. Steve Capper, Dave Reddix, Larry Schwartz, Mark Gravich and Jeffrey Noel met at a statue of Louis Pasteur (a chemist) on the grounds of San Rafael High School every day after practice at 4:20 p.m. They used it as code when they saw each other in the hallway to hint they wanted to meet up and smoke out. 

Their meetings originated as a plan to find cannabis crop that was rumored to be abandoned and left mapped out by the previous grower. It was like a hidden treasure hunt they embarked on every time. They searched several times, but ended up with nothing. They spent the drive smoking recreationally, and while the boys eventually gave up the treasure hunt, they shortened the phrase to “420” and spent their time just smoking and enjoying the time. 

How did a phrase started back in the 70s by teenage boys become so popular? 

Deadheads. The name for people who were fans of the band Grateful Dead. The Waldos had several connections to the band, including Dave Reddix’s relationship with bassist Phil Lesh. Reddix was his “roadie,” which is the person who sets up the equipment. The band began recreationally using cannabis backstage, which their fans soon caught on to and escalated from there. Legend has it, Deadheads were handing out flyers and inviting people to smoke on April 20th at 4:20 p.m. when one was accepted by a reporter of the High Times magazine in a May edition in 1991.

The flyer was published in the magazine and soon Steve Hager, the High Times editor at the time, continued to spread the phrase to a larger group of people. It was painted in public places, verbally spoken by people in other states and Hager was holding events surrounding 420. The magazine even created yet another backstory for 420, claiming it was a term police used to indicate marijuana smoking in progress. This appeared on the back of the flyer.

The Waldos found themselves confused as their once-secret phrase seemed to rapidly spread in popularity. They contacted High Times to prove the term was indeed theirs, and it was not like the story the magazine had run. After this meeting, it was confirmed that The Waldos had coined the great 420. 

Today, all five of the Waldos are still close friends and the holiday is widely celebrated throughout different cities in the nation—even the world. There have been events held in New York City, Denver (no surprise!), San Francisco and even Australia, New Zealand and London. 

While it’s a time for people to gather and consume together, it’s also a great time for advocates. Many 4/20 celebrations include the political side—the hard-fought path to legalization and the ongoing battle of decriminalizing cannabis. Some call it a celebration while others see it as a yearly call for action; however you celebrate, make it great and enjoy. Happy 420! 

Chugga Chugga, Let’s Get Trainwrecked: Strain of The Month

words by Skyla Patton

School has arrived with a bang, and suddenly we’re waist  deep in the craziness of fall term. Deadlines, new classes and the scramble for time has everyone feeling overwhelmed. Week two and already we want to retreat to bed waving a white flag. Don’t worry, it’s not time to burn your syllabi and throw in the towel yet. Relaxing with a half gram of hybrid is a great way to ease your mind and take a well-deserved break: Trainwreck is here to take you away.

Famous in the marijuana world, Trainwreck is a tasty, sativa-heavy hybrid that lives up to its name. Almost instantaneously, a  euphoria of motivation and uplifted energy hits you (you guessed it, like a train). This insta-high is a unique quality that is not typically found in most hybrids. Trainwreck is the bubbly love child of Afghani indicas and Thai or Mexican sativas.Their happy marriage creates a powerful high that can sustain you through those deadlines while steamrolling any extra stress or tension. This strain is ideal for a cool autumn walk, spicing up date night or adding inspiration to a creativity sesh. Trainwreck is pretty much a big snuggly hug  — are you sold yet?

A Northern California native, this hybrid has an earthy, almost minty aroma with a slight hint of lemon. At first glance it may just look like your average bud, but a microscope will reveal fiery orange stigmas (the little fuzzy hairs) and deep specks of purple hidden close to the stem. Trainwreck is highly renowned for its incredible uplifting qualities and is often used to treat PTSD, common anxiety or chronic pain.

The high will allow you to relax and forget your worries without totally incapacitating you to your netflix— unless that’s where you want to be. It also is known to help with a lack of appetite or stomach nausea. Be prepared for the after effects, though: this strain burns quickly and effectively for a long-lasting high. Reports say that once the euphoria trickles away, you will be ready for pajamas and the best nap of your life.

 

Pucker Up for Lemon Kush: May Strain of the Month

words by Skyla Patton

Who doesn’t love a nice tart flavor with a good sour face to follow? Lemon Kush won’t actually twist you up, but it’s still time for this hybrid to have a turn in the spotlight. A descendant of Master Kush and Lemon Joy, this sativa-heavy strain is actually quite difficult to come by due to the high amount of variations that have been produced in backyard breeding. The name gives away its general aroma: Lemon Kush is heavily scented with sweet citrus, a sour tang and the earthy flavors of classic kush. This sour flavor comes from the incredibly high content of limonene, the same found in the peels of citrus fruits as well. It’s largely regarded as one of the best-tasting strains around, and was featured in our pairings guide as a nice citrus touch with the same foods you’d add actual lemon zest or juice to.

These buds are naturally compact, with rich and bright orange and yellow hairs that give it a fun, colorful look. Lemon Kush is renowned for it’s mellow, relaxed vibe and is one of the best strains to relieve general tension and stress.  On the downside, it’s also a killer strain for cotton mouth and the munchies, so be sure you’re prepared for both side effects before you settle in with this strain. Lemon Kush is best suited for a nighttime smoke rather than something you’d puff on before going out into your day, and can be quite helpful for insomnia or other sleep-related issues. Don’t think of it as a couch strain, though; the energy is considered uplifting and creative much more often than groggy or tiring. It’s interesting lineage can lead to a surprise combo of the hybrid, but generally, you’re likely to get something with a high THC percentage and mostly sativa-based effects. This is a great strain for an arts and crafts night or to whip up a new meal you’ve been itching to try.

 

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.

 

Pass The Remote, Puff The Joint: Netflix Pairings for Your Favorite Strains

Words by Skyla Patton | Photo by Michael Davies

You’ve got your popcorn, your feet are up on the ottoman and your honey bunny is snuggled up next to you. Netflix and Chill season is upon us. Cuddling up with a warm blanket, someone you love and a full season of “Stranger Things” might seem impossible to beat, but wait—where’s the weed? Check out these pairing suggestions for the best strains to best enhance your latest Netflix obsession.

Comedies:

Diablo and “Grace & Frankie”

If you’re looking to start a new show packed with hearty laughs and likeable characters, “Grace and Frankie” is the answer. The lives of two women are turned upside down when they discover their husbands are in love and want to get married—to each other! This hysterical series makes for a perfect night in when matched with Diablo, a strong indica that comes with a euphoric high and lots of laughs.

Blue Diesel and “The Office”

Getting back to the classics, “The Office” is a comedy favorite with lovable characters and hysterical episodes to binge the night away on. Pick from your favorite episodes or start fresh from the beginning if you haven’t already and laugh the night away. Blue Diesel is an indica dominant strain to give you a case of the giggles and a craving for some of Pam’s desk M&M’s.

Romances:

Ultimate Trainwreck and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

Based on the classic Truman Capote novel, the Audrey Hepburn-starring “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” tells the story of a young woman working as an expensive escort who encounters her ideal man: rich, older and able to fund her expensive lifestyle. Puff on Ultimate Trainwreck, a romancing sativa-heavy strain to get into a mischievous mindset and truly enjoy Hepburn’s sultry acting style.

Chocolate Chunk and “Love Actually”

This fun film observes nine different scenarios that all trace back to the root of a crucial emotion: love. Packed with classic laughs, romantic kisses to take your breath away and a few heart-tugging moments, this movie is perfect for date night or a good solo cry when you feel like it. Chocolate Chunk is the indica to put you straight into your feelings or set you up for a romantic, rich evening.

Cartoons

Chemdawg and “Captain Underpants”

To satisfy your inner child, this hilarious comedy follows Captain Underpants, the superhero nobody knew they needed in their lives. The story of two aspiring comic book writers who bring their story to life will make even your stingiest friend laugh. Combined with Chemdawg, a potent hybrid strain, the natural colors and hilarities of children’s movies will make you wheeze with the giggles and inspire your best kid’s menu cooking.

Laughing Buddha and “Monsters vs. Aliens”

A recent DreamWorks sensation, “Monsters vs. Aliens” follows the life of a bride who is unexpectedly swept into the world of—you guessed it—monsters and aliens after being struck by a meteor. With important messages about true colors and the importance of family, this cartoon will make you laugh, cry and feel everything in between. If you want to really ramp up the feels and notice how funny looking the blob is, take a few puffs of sativa-heavy Laughing Buddha and feel the uplifted energy wash over you.

Cooking Shows

Mango and “Zumbo’s Just Desserts”

For the worst “Chopped” addicts who want to satisfy their sweet tooth, “Zumbo’s Just Desserts” will have you on the edge of your seat praying for the contestants creme brulee to rise. This exciting competition explores the classics and the extreme sides of the baking world, with fun twists and challenges to excite all types of audiences. Mango, a strong indica, is guaranteed to give you an inspiring case of the munchies and truly enhance the sweetness of the show.

Platinum Purple Kush and “Chef’s Table”

After watching “Chef’s Table,” an intricate series that follows the passions and famous dishes of culinary chefs around the world, you’ll be inspired to make as many purees and fancy reductions as you can think of. Ranging from tiny dishes packed with flavor to huge chunks of meat roasted in the wilderness, this show will entrance you with the wonders of cooking. Platinum Purple Kush will get your brain churning with inspiration while keeping the munchies at bay so you can really channel your inner Gordon Ramsay.

Documentaries

Belladonna and “Gaga: Five Foot Two”

Whether you’re a diehard Lady Gaga fan or just someone who is passionate about music, “Gaga: Five Foot Two” will bring tears to your eyes and give you a softer image of performers and what they go through. Following Stefani Germanotta, better known as the infamous Lady Gaga, this brutally honest doc tells her story of chronic pain, creative process and personal life experiences that all lead to the creation of her chart-breaking singles. Belladonna is the perfect hybrid to mellow you into just the right doc-watching mood while uplifting your spirits to really connect with the music.

White Widow and “Bill Nye Saves the World”

Did the old theme song just pop into your head? Yeah, we know. Bill Nye’s latest series, a Netflix original debut, features his hilarious personality and walks you through the latest and greatest myths and their corresponding scientific refutes. White Widow will get your inner scientist ready to snap on the goggles and white lab coat with its happy energy and creative hybrid tendencies.

February’s Strain of the Month: Grape Ape

Words by Skyla Patton | Photo by Trevor Meyer

If you’re looking for something to mellow any harsh vibes but also give you a spark of productivity, the infamous Grape Ape is the strain for you. February’s endless downpour of rain and chilly weather can get the best of anyone, especially with seasonal depression and the common cold going around. This smooth flavor will help you relax without causing sleepiness or lethargy, which indicas can sometimes do.

Grape Ape’s aroma is reminiscent of—you guessed it—a sweet grape smell. A distinct grape flavor is there to match, commonly described as similar to grape candy or soda. Descendant of Afghani and Skunk Number One, this strain will help you come to a calm focus, or with a few extra puffs, a relaxing afternoon nap. If the sweetness of this fruity strain hasn’t enticed you already, it’s dense buds rich with spiraling trichomes and brilliant purple color will seal the deal. This strain is popular up and down the Pacific Northwest, but is commonly grown in Northern Washington, where it is considered one of the best local strains around.

Along with most indicas, these sweet nugs will give you a relaxed, calm energy that lasts for several hours. It is known for relieving anxiety, aches or pains and overall stress. It also is one of the best strains for hitting the hay early or easing the sleepless nights caused by insomnia. On the downside, there is a reputation for leaving smokers with dry eyes or mouth—nothing a tall glass of water won’t fix. Overall, Grape Ape is the perfect strain to calm yourself down or relieve the soreness of an injury. Pair it with a bubble bath, movie night with your friends or even simply as a form of relaxation before bed.

Grape Ape is a popular strain, and is available at most Eugene dispensaries. Check out local locations for deals, coupons or even monthly strain discounts. Twenty After Four offers TGIF complimentary house rolls with the purchase of an eighth ($40), and TJs on Willamette hosts Munchies Monday where edibles are all 15 percent off.