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?” 

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.

High Fashion:  The Nike Strawberry Cough Dunks

written and photographed by Alice Yeager 

In 2010 artist Todd Bratrud released the legendary “Skunk Dunks.” A Nike SB adorned with purple and green suede to imitate the look of a fuzzy nugget of purple kush. The shoes came equipped with a stash pocket in the inner tongue and soon earned legend status by Nike heritage enthusiasts. Ten years later, Todd Bratrud created a sequel to the iconic Skunk Dunks: Strawberry Cough Nike Dunks SB. The delayed release created even more of a feeding frenzy by Nike collectors. 

“The Strawberry Dunks was supposed to be a spiritual successor, and it was supposed to be released on 4/20 of 2020. But because of COVID they delayed it because the whole coughing strawberry motif seemed to be a little insensitive at the time,” said Skyler Rose, who has been collecting sneakers for the last 10 years. Skyler was lucky enough to get his hands on the new Strawberry Coughs that were finally released a year later, in October 2021.

The shoes are a colorful explosion of smooth red leather and fuzzy cannabis-green suede. Much like their grandfather Skunk Dunks, they also include a stash pocket inside the inner tongue. They also include some new details, such as a leaf shaped layer near the collar and a stitched in physical coughing strawberry on the heel. The shoes themselves are a statement, with multiple textures and muted and vibrant colored paired in sync. 

“The strawberry dunks are just one of those legends of a shoe,” said Skyler. Just as Strawberry Cough is a legend of a strain. 

The smell of fresh strawberries is truly the signature of the energetic potency of the strain. The colors of the shoe match the palette of the classic Sativa strain perfectly. The Strawberry Dunks are a super limited release with a lottery system used to win a chance to buy the pair. 

“Since they were postponed, we didn’t know if they would actually be released. You know when they ended up getting canceled the few pairs that did end up making it out were going for thousands and thousands of dollars. So having that unicorn of a shoe was enticing, not because of the price point but because of how uncommon they are,” said Skyler. “Plus whenever they have such a good themed sneaker with history it’s just so appealing. It might be wild to wear a strawberry on your foot but I like taking things that are a little weird and making them work.” 

Todd Bratrud and Nike hit it out of the park with these cannabis inspired kicks. We can only hope in another ten years we’ll see yet another revival of the classic Dunks (but it would be nice if we didn’t have to wait that long). If Nike is taking suggestions, Blue Dream, Purple Haze and Durban Poison would all perfect homages to cannabis heritage.  

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.