February 05, 2018 | NORTHWEST LEAF
Presenting the amazing people and businesses doing positive things with the presence and help of Cannabis.
We’ve all heard the bad jokes, faced stereotypes and even lost jobs or freedom over a plant we choose to enjoy. So how does one equate a lifestyle around something that has been illegal for nearly 100 years? It’s not easy! For the majority of Americans, possession of a single gram of Cannabis can mean jail, loss of job, housing, children and more. For them, Cannabis as a lifestyle means only one thing: orange jumpsuits. When identifying your lifestyle means jail and social stigma, the cautious stoner retreats back into the Cannabis closet, peacefully toking and waiting for the day when green pride could be shown.
We are here to proclaim, now is that time!
We need to take back the term stoner and wear it with pride! We need to embrace it, redefine it and twist it back on the powers that have hidden our community under waves of prohibition and militarized police. I am personally proud to help shift the paradigm surrounding Cannabis, and to celebrate all that Cannabis adds to life.
Above all, we must remember that we have a collective voice, and a collective demographic that knows no race, creed, age or orientation boundaries. Stoners are all people who choose Cannabis, and we have tremendous power as a collective voice. When we begin to think and act like a group, we will truly realize our power, politically and socially, as we strive to change the world. Who would have thought all that strength could come from a plant? Through activism we can plant change, one seed at a time.
So how do we define the stoner lifestyle? That’s our question at the start of our first ever lifestyle issue. From musicians to athletes, artists to teachers, parents and even in the bedroom, Cannabis helps a foster a healthy lifestyle.
Over the next 19 pages we will introduce you to amazing people and businesses doing positive things with the presence and help of Cannabis. We are excited to share these stories, the amazing people and the wonderful creativity, all of which comes with a “stoner” label. Thanks for picking up our special issue, and I hope you enjoy and wear your stoner label with pride! -Wes Abney, Editor
Karen’s niece, Mel Steward, left, wears the pocket purse skirt ($145) manufactured in southern Oregon. Karen, center, wears the patchwork tanktop ($75). Friend Johanna Williamson, right, models harem pants ($125)
Cannaflage Designs is a unique Oregon business founded by Karen Averill. Created as a “gag” gift, Averill was asked to create wallpaper from one of her photographs of her and her husband’s Cannabis garden. Little did she know, this would begin her on the path to entrepreneurship and now heads the small family business based in the Applegate Valley.
Now, Averill crafts everything from umbrellas to formalwear, all covered in her unique geometric Cannabis print.
“Images are fashioned into living art and fractal illuminations that are dripping with crystals and color,” Averill said.
Her recognizable work and smiling face can be seen at most industry trade shows, where she vends her wares with her niece.
Ten percent of Cannaflage’s monthly sales are donated in support of veterans, while all scraps and misprints from creating her clothing and accessories are used to make free “Bud-dy Bears” for sick children receiving Cannabis medicine.
Jake Cormeny, better known as @OutsideArtwork, is the young artist behind TJ’s memorable handmade art, which accompanies every strain and product at their retail dispensaries in Eugene and soon in Portland. Cormeny’s work adds a colorful dynamic to an otherwise monotonous retail experience. Expect to see more retailers exploring similar concepts to better connect with customers.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I’ve always been inspired by people who create whether it be musicians, architects or any type of artist; so being a part of the world of creation is my driving inspiration.
Were you classically trained or self-taught?
I started drawing when I was in elementary school, basically trying to copy my cousin; but, once I entered middle school and beyond, I took every art class I could to expand my creative skills. In 2015, I graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Graphic Design.
What is your favorite medium to work with and why?
I don’t know if I have a favorite medium, but most commonly I work on the computer using my drawing tablet to create anything from design work to illustrations and posters.
Do you always consume the product or flower that you’re creating the artwork for?
I wish it happened that way, sometimes we get enough product in at once that it takes me a few days to create signs and so I have time to try the product. But, I try to have the sign completed before we get the product so everything looks the best when we put it out.
How does your art differ for work versus when you’re creating work for yourself?
The main difference is that I basically have to detach myself emotionally from my professional work, because it will go through so many changes and revisions based on the client’s needs. I have to be able to accept criticism while maintaining the confidence that I can improve and finish the job.
Working on any cool large scale/long term projects?
I’ve been working with Greg Levine of Nelson & Co. on a potential rebranding project, as well as creating a farm poster for Love Life Farms. Additionally, In the future I hope to continue working with my friends at Willamette Valley Alchemy and Urban Canna. It’s been a great experience working with different people in the Oregon industry.
Artist and creator Erin Colvin is a seasoned jewelry designer who pulls her inspiration from a roach clip her mother used to keep in a houseplant. Her minimal, art deco-style jewelry is meticulously handcrafted with a hammer and anvil in Portland.
When did you start making jewelry?
I started making jewelry 15 years ago. I graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in metal smithing in 2007. Back then, I was making jewelry under my own name. But in December 2013, I made a trial run of thirty different roach clips and I ended up selling all of them.
In 2014, High Society Collection was birthed from that trial test. It started as an art project, but it spun off and became my own brand.
What inspired you to create functional jewelry with the Cannabis smoker in mind?
It all started because my mom had a roach clip she was gifted from my aunt. She always kept it in a plant as “decoration” for the unassuming eye. But when my parents divorced, I kept the roach clip from the planter. Naturally, I lost the original roach clip within two hours of taking it. After I got my degree, I contacted the original creator of Squirken Works—an old roach clip brand from the 1970s. He helped me with the function action of the roach clips. High Society Collection aesthetically looks nothing like the clips from Squirken, but their help on the jigs was crucial to make sure my work was actually functional. My collection embodies minimalism with Art Deco details. Most of all, I wanted to be clever about my design.
What are your favorite pieces from your collection?
My favorite piece from High Society Collection is the Sunburst handheld joint clip. The necklaces are really popular because of the look and function—plus they are always around your neck for convenience. I have handheld clips, key chains and even my earrings are functional too! I make other pieces like rings and earrings without function, but I love making clever jewelry for those who partake.
Brent Royce has a career that most would dream of: paychecks from two industries he’s passionate about. He’s been an avid skater and snowboarder throughout his life and worked in that business and now he is working in the Cannabis industry—specifically working with trusted retail storefronts and some of the most popular producers and brands in the Northwest.
Can you tell us about your career in skateboarding?
I’ve been skateboarding for 35 years now and most of it has been unsponsored. When I was younger I did a lot of contests and almost always placed in the top five. I’ve had tricks in a few videos and I have a full part in a video called “The Orange,” years ago. I was on “Flow,” getting boxes from companies like Volcom Clothing, World Industries, Darkstar, Enjoi, Almost, I -Path and Savier. This was back before skaters made money like they do now, so I worked full time and passed up on traveling so I could build my life and career.
How did you end up starting your skateboard company?
I teamed up with Troy and Stacy Moore to start Gromshop.com way back in the day. It was created for pre-teens and toddlers with skateboarding and snowboarding related stuff. Troy and Stacy had the idea and we used the companies I was skating for as our initial brands. I was lucky to have good friends like Tim Snail who was working at Volcom, so a lot of the initial clothing was little Volcom clothes. Tim now works with me at Odin and Who Oil as the sales director and Troy co-owns owns Oregon’s Finest.
What brought you to working in the Cannabis industry?
I was living out of state doing a lot of snowboarding and snowmobiling and was really missing skateboarding in Portland with my friends. I decided to move back home and started working with my friends at Pure Oregon dispensary. I also started working at a few farms doing whatever I could just to make extra money and learn as much as I could about everything Cannabis.
I teamed up with a Washington store called New Vansterdam and oversaw the state of Oregon and built out retail stores for them. I also did all the buying in Oregon and was the vice president of operations for S.B. Ventures in Washington, which is a consulting group. After that, I started Legit Business Solutions, which is a consulting group in Oregon.
I am now with Odin and started Odin Wholesale with them and do the buying for Who Oil and Odin Wholesale. Finally, I have a recreational farm just hitting the market called Black Rabbit Cult.
Do you use Cannabis medically to treat the injuries that come with skateboarding?
I use Cannabis to treat swelling and pain after a long day of skating or snowboarding. I also use Cannabis to help me sleep at night, since I have insomnia. It’s weird to say this, but I also use it for motivation. Your body can use Cannabis in many ways but what really matters is one’s mindset while you’re using Cannabis, and that will direct the energy of the plant in your body.
Do you think skateboarding can be enhanced under the influence of Cannabis? do you smoke and skate?
I do smoke and skate for sure, like almost every time. Some of the best backcountry lines on my snowboard have been right after smoking a joint with my friends in the trees. I can be tired after skating for a while and just chill and smoke real quick and have all my energy and imagination snap right back.
What does a “smoke session” look like for you? Do you like to consume cannabis after skating?
After a long day of skating, my energy levels are high and my brain is firing like crazy. That triggers my insomnia and restless leg syndrome. I’ll bounce back and forth between Treets CBD gummies and Odin CBD pills. I typically use a bong—taking hits of high THC flower or high CBD Who CO2 cartridges. I also enjoy dabbing live resin for the terps.
Marijuasana Founder Stacey Mulvey is a passionate Cannabis activist and leader, having worked in the industry in Colorado before taking her passion on the road as she teaches her yoga classes in Washington, Washington D.C., Massachusetts, Alaska and soon to be in Oregon and California. She left a corporate job to pursue her passion of yoga teaching and combined that with her love of Cannabis for a truly unique experience!
How did you get started with Cannabis?
I spent the last six years working in the Cannabis industry after I quit my IT career to become a Pilates teacher. It was an abrupt change! I realized I hated my job, I wasn’t happy and I went through a big transformation. I went into training, and during that time I realized the innate compatibility between Cannabis and mindful movement, and I discovered that was my true passion.
What do you mean by mindful movement?
I consider that an umbrella term for exercises like yoga and Pilates that engage your concentration and mind to move your body. This isn’t jumping on your treadmill to tune out, it’s taking time to move with consciousness. It makes a huge difference on a physical and emotional level, and paired with Cannabis, it opens up a lot of opportunities for personal transformation and expanded consciousness.
What does a marijuana class look like?
It’s about an hour and a half, and the actual yoga we do takes about an hour. We start by drinking tea, which is important for the social aspect, and taking some CBD samples. I always include CBD because it’s part of education and reversing stigma about Cannabis as something that is only recreational; and that CBD is legal, and has tremendous benefits for something that doesn’t get you high. Of course, people can vape or roll a joint then too. Then we do 30 minutes of yoga, take a break in the middle for more tea and weed and talk, and then come back to the mats for another round. After another 30 minutes class is over, and by then people are pretty high from both the stretching and the weed, and we all wrap up and exchange cards and info.
Do people need yoga experience to come to the class? Should they be regular Cannabis users?
Lots of people come in doing yoga for the first time, but who have smoked weed but were intimidated by the idea of yoga. It’s an icebreaker, an opportunity for people who smoke to get to know one another and do a fun and healthy mindful activity that contributes to wellness. It’s a way to cast Cannabis in a light beyond ‘it just gets you fucked up.’ Which is also great for people who don’t smoke, to see our community in a different light. So you don’t have to smoke, or do yoga, just have an open mind. My goal is to help people who have resistance to Cannabis or yoga to take the class out of curiosity, and to learn about how beneficial cannabinoids are. This class opens hearts and minds. And it’s a chance to try something new, meet new people and have a fun activity that speaks for itself. That’s my master plan, to help shift the attitude around Cannabis.
How does Cannabis enhance yoga?
Cannabis is going to help you with yoga. It’s directly related to movement systems in the body, and with circulation and inflammation. In yoga you go through each body part as each pose is designed to test the range of motion, and work several joints and muscles at the same time.
Cannabis will help blood flow into new areas, as circulation is cut off and expanded through poses, and help the body flow blood and cannabinoids into new areas.
Has Cannabis finally developed into something the mainstream yoga community recognizes?
It’s not something the yoga community talks about or embraces with open arms, a lot are anti-Cannabis. There are a lot of degrees of opinion, but being within the industry inspired me with all the growth and innovation. Why not this yoga and Cannabis idea? I just kind of started doing it, and it quickly became the focus of my life. I only started the company in November 2016, it’s really taken off, people have been really receptive.
How does it feel to be changing the yoga industry and the stigma of Cannabis and what are your hopes for the future?
I feel the industry is on the verge of something really big, once we start tapping into the fact that we are a big community and what that really means. There’s a chance for a huge shift. I started in Colorado, and then went to all the places I’ve taught since then, and finishing the year in Alaska of all places feels good. I’m seeing how widespread and connected the Cannabis community is, and we need to realize it and act as a community to make positive change.
Tom Bowers is the friendly figurehead for Sweet Cannabis’ sales department. When not managing his sales team or assisting in other departments of the venture, Bowers is either spending time with his wife and two children or rocking out your local dive with his band Apology Calls. He’s been making music for nearly two decades and thesea days he pairs late-night song writing sessions with a cup of green tea and a bowl of energizing and creative ganja.
Can you describe your introduction to Cannabis?
It all started years ago because I had a crush on a girl. We were into the same music, and she was super cool. She and her friends were going to hang out after school with one of my buddies who’d scored a dime bag from a guy with purple hair. They invited me along. We smoked out of a converted elbow pipe joint from the hardware store, as you did back then. I didn’t feel it. The next time, later that evening, I felt it. And broke my toe on a hearth. I didn’t get the girl.
How has Cannabis influenced your music?
The first time I noticed the strong relationship between Cannabis and music, my friend busted out a mixtape he’d gotten from his buddy in Austin, Texas. The song “Dramamine,” by a new band called Modest Mouse was the first song. The second that bendy, woozy harmonic guitar line swayed into the room, my musical life was changed. Cannabis helped my brain break apart the elements of compositions by bands like Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Duster, Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh and Polvo, and they became my biggest influences.
Do you or your band mates consume before playing a show? How about for rehearsal, studio time, etc.?
When songwriting, a stimulating strain like Durban Poison helps with focus and creativity. For rehearsal and studio time, we’re locked in and dedicated to tightening everything up, so we generally don’t smoke or drink much. Though for creative, free-flowing jam sessions, anything goes.
If you could smoke with one musician, dead or alive, who would it be?
In all truth, my buddy Chris—the one with the mixtape. We came up together, played in our first bands together, and have a great time with a creative strain, a couple of guitars and the effects pedals he builds. But if we’re talking about well-known people… Brett Netson (Caustic Resin, Built to Spill) or J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.). As long as we could jam afterward.
What is your preferred method of consumption?
Depends on what I’m going to do. Pre-rolls are perfect for concerts and hikes, but my Toko vape pen is my go-to for a night out. At home when playing guitar, I love flower in my old-school soft-glass bong.
Which is better? A drunk audience or a stoned audience?
I have no preference here, since people have to do their own experimentation on how to unlock their minds, slough-off their daily worries, and get lost in the moment. To each his or her own; just don’t get so wasted you ruin your time and everyone else’s.
Jen Bernard is a multi-talented musician who plays everything from Yacht Rock to Classical music in a string quartet, and she uses Cannabis to help enhance her connectivity as a musician. She is the owner of House of Cards Music, acting as a talent buyer and booking agent in Portland. She shared her thoughts on Cannabis and music and how both can change our perspectives on the way we engage with sound.
How were you first introduced to music?
I was always immersed in music since early childhood, both my parents came from musical families. They sang a lot around the house, always doing Peter, Paul and Mary or Simon and Garfunkel, and I was absorbing all that as I grew up. I started singing along with them and they figured out that I could switch harmony parts and thought ‘Hey, this kid has an ear,’ and pushed me into music. They gave me my first guitar as a teen, I played flute in band, and learned quite a few instruments along the way.
When did you know music would be your passion, and how did it lead you to Portland?
I was always singing and writing music, but I took it more seriously when I went to Michigan State University for a creative writing degree. I realized I wanted to focus on playing music instead, and ended up moving to Portland in 1994, catching the early music scene here.
How did Cannabis come into your life?
My parents were hippies and my Mom always had Cannabis growing. They took it upon themselves to create a quasi-utopia community on a farm in northern Michigan, open to seekers and teenagers on a search to find themselves. They had a vision of creating a communal farm space on 300 acres where musicians and artists and expressive people could come, put some elbow grease into the land, and live a sustenance lifestyle. So, I was surrounded by a bunch of weird freaks, everybody was always stoned, and it was pretty normalized for me as a kid.
Do you play music while using Cannabis? Does it help enhance your ability or production?
Well it depends on the strain! Heavy indicas aren’t the best for the manual dexterity required to operate a musical instrument, but some sativa-dominant hybrids are perfect for getting into the zone or performance. It definitely depends on who you are playing with, and what type of music. But it definitely helps calm me down, as far as nerves, and gets me into a zone where I don’t feel like I have an audience around me. I can completely express myself without self-consciousness, and really connect with my bandmates. Cannabis increases my receptivity, sense of rhythm and my listening, really making me a better band member.
How would you describe the relationship between Cannabis and music?
It’s like tuning in. Tuning the knob just a little bit better. I go to my analogy of ‘opening your ears up a little bit.’ Cannabis has this capability of deepening the sensitivity of what you’re listening to, getting beyond our own thoughts and joining the continuum if you will. That’s what music is: jumping into an ocean of sound, pitch and rhythm, almost like a womb in a way. And I think that Cannabis enhances the experience of listening or performing, and helps deepen the relationship with the people who you’re playing with. For a band, you’re in a tighter groove together, your emotional connecting is better, and you’re functioning like an organism. Cannabis helps me get to that state, a malleable place where you are one with the organism, being carried along by the groove you are also helping create.
What types of music are you playing today, and where can people find your music?
I’m in a band, I play in a few different groups, some are what I do for a living, and other groups are just for fun, playing shows with a $5 cover sort of thing. I’m in a group called Arthur and the Antics, a Yacht Rock glammy band, a group called the Stolen Sweets, the Ariel Consort and I also am a business owner, the House of Cards Music. I’m a talent buyer for local concert series such as the Oregon Zoo series, and I get gigs for bands and help with civic art budgets.
Shane Thomas, aka Signal Bath, is an electronic artist based in Bend, Oregon. Shane’s love for Cannabis and his passion for music are united as he uses the plant to help him create new tracks. He’s worked in Cannabis at various times for Substance Cannabis Market, formerly Bloom Well, and is currently studying to be a professional sound engineer. His music is broadcasted worldwide through his label’s international radio station, Beat Lab Radio.
Did Cannabis pique your interest in music, was it the other way around, or were they independently found and then united?
I’d certainly say I was into music before I started consuming Cannabis, both as a listener and as a performer. It’s safe to infer however that I was perhaps attracted to music and Cannabis due to very similar variables or circumstances. Both can be very good at servicing the desire to feel a bit of escapism or relief from reality, as improved sense of well-being.
How much does Cannabis integrate into your process?
I don’t know if I’d call it integration… I do generally consume a lot when I’m writing music. Mostly just a pipe of whatever strain I’ve been feeling on lately.
How long do you think it will be until we see venues that allow for Cannabis consumption onsite?
Hard to say really… I think once we see regulations in place for public consumption, certain businesses will adopt more relaxed policy. Most venues frown upon or forbid bringing a flask from home or openly smoking a cigarette on the dance floor. There are usually designated smoking zones and designated bar areas. It’s hard to imagine how people will choose to treat Cannabis in regard to everything else people consume at a show.
Favorite album tolisten to while using Cannabis?
The Mars Volta – De-Loused in the Comatorium.
How do you think the legalization of Cannabis and the inclusion of its culture into the status quo has impacted the music scene in the U.S.?
It may still be too early to tell on a large scale. I think anything to do with “Cannabis culture being accepted into the status-quo,” with be largely reflective of a more tolerant society. More wide-spread tolerance of diverse culture will make the world a better place to live. It’s easy to imagine how the music scene will improve as people become more tolerant of each other.
Farmer Tom Lauerman is a local Cannabis grower based in southwest Washington. Lauerman’s roots run deep as he began growing and using medical cannabis in 1977 in San Diego, eventually culminating in his arrest in 1999 during a raid on his legal medical cooperative there. After relocating north, he again became a medical grower in the Pacific Northwest. Lauerman is heavily involved in the community and currently co-teaches Cannabis health and horticulture classes at Clark College in Vancouver, WA. Back in 2015, seven federal agents ventured to Washington on two different occasions to learn about Cannabis production and processing, and to conduct worker safety studies on Lauerman’s organic Cannabis farm. The data collected from Lauerman’s farm was published on the Center for Disease Control website in a 2017 report.
How did you get the federal government in your backyard? How did this research kick off in 2015?
I would like to think it started back in 1999 when our collective was raided and I was arrested. Back then patients breathed a sigh of relief when the ‘Compassionate Use Act of 1996’ was passed into law, and I was involved with the first medical cooperative in San Diego to develop from that legislation. We were a private cooperative with no public access or storefront, and yet we were unfairly targeted and dismantled by the vice squad. The resulting negative media attention this circumstance received caused for ‘no charges’ to be filed by the District Attorney’s office. It also opened the way for the first ‘Medical Marijuana Task Force’ to be formed as an interface with the Mayor’s office giving Patients a voice within city government. This task force was originally headed by my quadriplegic friend who was deprived of his medicine and his rights after the raid.
I met my wife at this cooperative as well, and even though we left San Diego in 2002 for the Pacific Northwest to become organic farmers, as patients we always had MMJ in our hearts and minds. We found and began working with a small group of Patients in Vancouver while also growing organic fruits and vegetables. After Cannabis legalization I hit the road between Portland and Seattle to attend as many MMJ Farmer’s Markets and Conferences as possible to establish a voice for organics and safe access that so many Patients don’t have on their own. And I broke the silence and began working heavily with the media to get in front of the issue and start educating and normalizing Cannabis.
Over the years I’ve made a lot of contacts. Back in 2014, people were still blowing themselves up making BHO and giving extracts in general a bad rap in the State. KOMO news called one day and asked if I could arrange for them to see an ‘open-blast’ for a story they were doing. We all knew it was possible to create Cannabis extracts in a safe manner, so rather than just give them the open-blast demonstration they wanted to see, I brought a few other specialists along to give the group an overall Cannabis extract symposium. It lasted more than four hours and we also showed them everything else from bubble hash and RSO, to tinctures and closed-loop BHO. It was a great success.
Communications with the local cannabis union came into the picture later that year and they also had ongoing concerns about injuries from unsafe BHO production within legal Cannabis operations. They had been trying to involve the federal government in the creation of industry regulation and I was put in contact with scientific federal agents from the CDC’s National Institute Of Safety and Health (NIOSH) to get the ball rolling. My activeness in MMJ and with the media proved I was vested in my community, but before any agents could come to my farm, I had to be vetted by the Department of Justice. And I was thrilled at the time because we have nothing to hide.
What does it mean to be vetted by the feds when you’re working with a Schedule I substance?
I was on the phone with ten federal agents from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) in May of 2015. I didn’t know what they knew about Cannabis, so I asked if they had any hands-on education. The Lead Industrial Hygienist told me they were watching YouTube videos to learn about Cannabis production and BHO extraction. They had no clue what was actually happening on the ground floor, so I told them they should first come to the farm for a few Cannabis workshops. I would have plants in the ground and they could tour the farm and learn more about Cannabis from local people working in different areas of the industry. And they thought this was a great idea.
The CDC wanted to make sure our farm was a secure and safe place for their employees and, of course, ran a background check. Once we passed inspection arrangements were made for the first group to visit in August. When they arrived I had my lawyer and other groups of specialists scheduled to speak over the next two days, and together we got to educate scientific federal agents for the first time on the producing, processing, and testing of Cannabis. We smoked around them, rolled joints and took dabs. It was finally our chance to normalize Cannabis use face-to-face with them and I wanted to use this one chance to really educate them in every way. None of the agents indulged, of course, but we did all go and get beer and pizza together on the last day.
What were the feds hoping to learn from your farm?
The agents came back again to perform what is called an industry ‘Health Hazard Evaluation’ (HHE) and we wanted to give them systematic real-time data to collect.
If you remember, 2015 was the year of all years for Cannabis farmers. There was no rush to finish the plants, so it really worked to everyone’s benefit.
I broke down their visit into three days: on the first day, we harvested and de-leafed fresh plant material. The second day was ‘bucking’ buds from plants that were already dry; and the on the third day we performed time trials for both hand and machine trimming protocols.
They hooked us up to scientific gear to collect data on employee movements and exposures through the various harvest processes. We had these special air sniffer machines attached to us to detect levels of bacteria, molds, and dust in the different work areas, and stationary air sampling devices collected data in three different high-traffic areas as well. During the hand trimming sessions, we wore these “cyber gloves” that track and record repetitive motion while we worked.
All of this data culminated in an official report that was finally published in April of 2017, and in August 2017 this report progressed into a searchable CDC.gov webpage dedicated to the findings of the study.
This ground breaking HHE established baseline standards and information which is now readily available to individual organizations and states nationwide desiring to set workplace health and safety standards for their own workers. Cal OSHA is just one organization we know of currently using our report in this way.
My farm is the first Cannabis farm to work with any federal agency – ever as far as records show. The reason the CDC felt comfortable diving into Cannabis from a federal standpoint at this time, was because workers in this country are the most valuable asset America has. They knew they had to eventually look into the Cannabis industry to study safety and protect the growing workforce.
We urged to them to use the word “Cannabis” instead of “marijuana”. I mean, look. These people are some of the most renowned research scientists in the world and they wanted to get it right, and they did. And the HHE from our farm can also be found in the Library of Congress.
The last time we talked with our friends from NIOSH was in the Fall of 2017. They said that they would like to do another visit and follow-up of the report bringing different scientists with them this trip, but they didn’t know if their department was going to receive funding for 2018. We haven’t spoken with them this year yet, but we do intend to.
We started talking with our daughter about Cannabis because it was important to us to be honest with her. To build a foundation of trust that she would rely on as she grows, and not to hide a part of our identities from her. We wanted her to know the truth before she was fed propaganda.
Real educators teach children not what to think, but how to think. They encourage children to engage critically with the world around them and not to reproduce the same paradigm but to innovate, evolve, progress. We believe children should be equipped with the language they need to describe their internal and external lives as well as age appropriate information about what’s going on around them.
But within these conversations about a demonized plant that her parents enjoyed, our family touched on issues that transcend “drugs.” We began dialogues about some of the most significant problems facing our world, in ways that felt digestible to a young child and empowered her to discover new solutions.
The Cannabis plant is as complex as the circumstances surrounding its prohibition. When you talk to your children about marijuana, you can’t avoid science—biology, medicine, genetics and sustainability among other disciplines.
If you even mention the endocannabinoid system, your kid will actually know more than many doctors!
We have the opportunity with Cannabis to reframe “self-medicating” to mean knowing how to care for our own bodies, and we must pass along the deep wisdom of plant medicine to our children. It’s our chance to bring ourselves back into balance, both internally and with our external world.
If you go further to examine the social structures and policies that have kept Cannabis illegal, you’ll have to discuss the legislative process. Your kids will learn not only how a bill becomes law, but also how to question policies that are irrational, unfair or oppressive. Citizen activism has toppled misguided drug war policies—what a beautiful example of the power of the people!
Children will understand why their vote matters and how to be an effective advocate.
Of course, when you open up this kind of dialogue, your savvy kids will likely notice that the science of Cannabis doesn’t exactly correspond with the laws around Cannabis. This will likely lead to conversations about the racial and political motivations behind prohibition, how the government wanted to vilify people of color and suppress dissent.
The War on Drugs has solidified institutional racism in our country like no other force, and if it’s up to our children to dismantle it, we must give them the resources to do the job.
While you’re teaching your kids about weed, you are, in fact, preparing them to be informed and contributing members of a democratic society. This is what our world vitally needs more than anything—a generation ofyoung people who can think for themselves and who have the intelligence, tools and passion to make change. We need a generation that returns us to our source and our purpose by reconnecting us to ourselves, each other and our earth. Cannabis can help us achieve that, whether you consume it or not. It can be a vehicle through which we teach the most important lessons.
Owner and grower at The Plant in Eugene // Next to cryptocurrency, Cannabis was the hottest trend to get in with in 2017, and given that everyone from Whoopi Goldberg to Mike Tyson has thrown their hat in the ring, it’s easy to forget those who helped pioneer us to the place we’re at today. Thus, our magazines are beginning a new monthly section giving credit to individuals who have developed their love for Cannabis into a business. These owners love and consume the plant, just like we do, giving them insight into the true roots and culture of our industry. Oregon Leaf’s first-ever Stoner Owner is Dave Sullivan, founder of The Plant, an organic food and Cannabis farm outside of Eugene, who is entering his 25th season farming in the amazing Willamette Valley. We caught up with him to gain insight into what it’s like to be a Cannabis consuming business owner in these changing times.
How were you introduced to Cannabis?
I started smoking weed in ninth grade. Mostly Mexican brick weed… then I discovered California weed, Kind Bud as we called it back then, at an 88 Dead show in Philly and it opened a whole new world for me, I fell in love immediately.
How has Cannabis affected your working life, for better or for worse?
Organic farming and Cannabis growing are two mentally and physically demanding professions. The country miles take their toll and marijuana helps to reduce the stress for sure. Also, specific strains help alleviate the physical wear and tear that my demanding work load brings.
How do you handle consumption for both yourself and your employees?
We do not want our crew all baked on the job, especially considering the potency of 21st century weed! Some of us use do rely on Cannabis to treat physical ailments to get through the day. Most of us love the ritual of burning one down together when the time is right. Everyone here has their own healthy relationship with the plant.
Which strains do you prefer and what’s your ideal method of consumption?
I love a good sativa during the day, our Sour Tangie is a favorite these days. I always love a greasy Sour Diesel and I say believe the hype when it comes to a properly grown OG… There’s nothing like smoking a nicely rolled joint with my friends.
At what point did you decide you wanted to make Cannabis your career?
I started selling weed in the tenth grade and began messing around with growing it shortly after high school. I started working on an organic farm around the age of 20 and also began taking Cannabis growing seriously. The weed game and farming career went hand in hand, and next thing I knew 25 years flew by.
What does it mean to you to be a Cannabis business owner who consumes the plant?
Having a genuine love and reverence for the plant is paramount. Cultivating alliances with others who feel the same way is important to me. I think we all agree that we wish people that don’t share this passion would just pack it up already.
How were you introduced to Cannabis?
One of my older brothers smoked weed, and I think I smoked at 13, 7th grade, and was really into it. I got high for the first time in high school, and I had some head injuries, they put me on anti-depressants for a side effect of being concussed, and I went off to college. One day my neighbors got me stoned and said, “Come back, you’re really funny,” and all week I kept coming over and I forgot to take my meds. At end of the week, I felt great and said I won’t take them anymore.
When did Cannabis become a business for you?
School gave me a $2,000 grant, and I bought half a pound of Canadian weed and started flipping it. I put myself through college doing that, ended up living in Tacoma and graduated from UW Tacoma. I had met this old timer on a forum, Lemonhoko was his name, and he said “Hey you can get into breeding.” My dad was a game fowl breeder, and so I understood breeding. I was hustling, selling weed for years, got into growing and then started breeding. Lemonhoko gifted me a male, and I converted my rooms into test rooms and seeded a crop about 2009.
Have you been breeding ever since? How many strains have you made?
Wow, I couldn’t even count. Numerous generations and strains, we’re actually doing wine breeding, most people are just breeding F1s. We’re working lines out to filial generations, F4s and F5z, which makes for truer breeding. That’s what he taught me. There’s only so much time on this earth, if you’re going to be breeding, do it right, always be working lines.
When did PNW Roots come to life?
I started PNW Roots in 2010, and started providing meds to patients in the early medical days. Both shops I tried to manage and create got shut down. At this point I was frustrated because they kept shutting me down, so then I focused my efforts on gardening and expanding my space and breeding program. When medical rolled over, I could see writing on the wall, I pushed even further into genetics and seeds.
When did you decide to make Cannabis your career?
I started selling weed in the tenth grade and began messing around with growing it shortly after high school.
I started working on an organic farm around the age of 20 and also began taking Cannabis growing seriously. The weed game and farming career went hand in hand, and next thing I knew 25 years flew by.
How did you decide on the name PNW Roots?
Celebrating the roots of who you are and our community. You think about what you want to leave your kids, not just a pile of money, a community they can be a part of that’s more sustainable. This plant gave us a great consciousness, it feeds our consciousness, we in turn need to do something for that. If your focus is solely money for money’s sake you have lost your way.
How did you end up in 502?
I went to the Emerald Cup in 2016, my investor found me, I made a list of demands and they didn’t blink. I have complete control of the facility, a total investment close to $10 million all in, in a three-phase rollout and they let me design the whole space. I built a state-of-the-art solventless hash room. I’m most excited about that and the ability to pop as many seeds as I want or can. And it’s totally family oriented, not corporate at all.
You only do solventless hash, why is that?
Our growing model is all organics, building soils, using Korean Natural Farming techniques, no-till living soil beds. If you’re going to take all the time to grow something organically, why would you then pour hydrocarbons over it. It doesn’t make sense to me. Let’s keep the loop closed and keep it all natural.
How has Cannabis affected your working life?
Since I was 18, I’ve been my own boss, I’ve worked jobs, I worked for Xerox in college, worked for thefood industry, but I was always hustling. It’s provided for me, for my family, it’s provided for our health. We live on a little acre farm, grow our own food, I have my own medical garden, and it’s really nice. The kids get to learn how to grow their own food, and we live a healthy natural lifestyle.
What does it mean to you to be a Cannabis business owner that consumes the plant?
It means that I understand the quality and the subtleties in Cannabis itself. I think that especially if you are breeding Cannabis you have to be partaking to know the effects. If you’re not doing that, you’re doing the plant a disservice and you’re disconnected from the product that you are producing. It’s good to have the money to do things we couldn’t do before, but the money has to understand that we bring the values and the knowledge. Anyone can have money, but we need the values and wisdom surrounding how we take care of the plant, that’s important. Without that, the quality of the plant doesn’t advance, it becomes a commodity, and that takes all the fun out of it.
Do you feel responsibility as a Stoner Owner?
We are rolling out the biggest cash crop in the world and at this stage we have the power to decide how to do it. Will it be like everything else, corporatized and no heart like our food and medicine? This is our one chance to affect how that rolls out and decide what Cannabis looks like in the future. You have to be that voice! It’s an important time for us to speak out and continue to claim our culture.
What was your inspiration for opening the first video game lounge in Washington?
Hugh: One of the original inspirations was that Alex and I acknowledged couch co-op is dying. Meaning the ability to sit on couch and game with buddies is dying. Gaming is trending toward online multiplayer, so there’s a chance to have 16 people in game, but you’re on couch by self. There is no human interaction! That was the motivation to open the lounge. We’re all getting older, I don’t have a game room, adults have offices and nurseries and spare bedrooms. We recognize that what we sell is nostalgia. The feeling you get when you sit down and someone hands you a N64 controller connected to a tube TV. Plus, there’s beer!
How many games do you have for people to play?
Hugh: We’re up over 2,000, game acquisition has slowed down though. When we hit 1,800 I promised to not buy any more games that suck. We have so many consoles, Nintendo, Virtual Boy, PS4 pro, we have pretty much everything ever made.
What does it cost to come in and play?
Hugh: Three options for membership: hourly at $5 an hour, wristband, cash out at the end; there’s daily for $15 a day, come grab a couch and a game and say this is what I’m doing all day; and for $45 a month you can come and go as you please. Monthly membership also comes with other discounts and perks.
At 8 p.m., all games become free play as long as you are eating or drinking.
So, it’s family friendly during the day and adults only past 8 p.m.?
Hugh:My name tag says owner/babysitter. We hang out with kids and cool parents while kids play video games during the day, and then we clear all the kids at 8 p.m. At 8:01 p.m., grownups start walking in. We stay open till 1 a.m. and are usually busy until close.
What’s the reception been like?
Hugh: We kept the name Best Buds, and for the first few months we struggled with that. It was a pot store, but we had a consistent brand that stood for high-end compassionate family run business. At first people didn’t understand it was family friendly, but now that we are more established, the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. Now the kids call each other best buds.
What was your personal history with Medical Marijuana (MMJ)?
Hugh: I moved out here just to do MMJ, had a friend in industry, and I really fell in love with Bellingham. Medical Marijuana has helped people in my family personally, so it’s a cause I believed in, and being part of it was such a pleasure. The medical law Washington used to have was beneficial to everyone involved, patients, growers, dispensaries. At one point, I had 20 employees and 40 vendors, we paid sales tax. Everyone got taken care of and patients had access to boutique meds, which doesn’t exist anymore. This place was originally supposed to be a side project. Like, “Hey I’m going to open this bar that will someday be a Cannabis lounge,” and the more we started working on it the more we realized this is a good idea. I proposed to Alex halfway through the project, and at one point I said you’ll own half anyways, might as well jump in, and she did.
So someday you want to make it into a Cannabis lounge?
Alex: I feel that that’s what it was meant for. I’m not a beer person, but it’s the only way to make this sustainable, and to each their own, we like letting people enjoy a beer and game. But I like to smoke and play games. So, we don’t hide it from people. Yes, we absolutely used to be a dispensary. We intend to switch over when it’s legal, and we’ll still maintain the family friendly vibe as long as can. I would feel better about selling Cannabis than alcohol, and think that Cannabis would actually make it more family friendly.
What’s been the most surprising and rewarding part for you?
Alex: Creating this funny community of random people that probably never would have spoken otherwise. There’s 10-, 20-, 40-year-olds, young women, trans people, men, nerdy men, manly man dudes… all kinds of people. If they are at a lounge they will play together. I never imagined that a bar of any kind could have a community like this, people really have made friends here.
With the Cannabis lifestyle movement becoming mainstream, consumers are looking to find normal benefits offered to consumers of alcohol or opiate-based pain medications. Cannabis has traditionally disqualified a consumer for a standard rate, forcing them to pay up to three times as much for a tobacco rate, which can cost tens of thousands over a lifetime. Pacific Insurance Group is trying to change that with a new policy that allows Cannabis users to secure life insurance, and peace of mind, all while toking up legally.
Why should everyone have life insurance?
If you die, and we all do, do you or your parents or family have enough money set aside? Not just for end of life costs, but for living? If not, you need to take out life insurance if you care about your loved ones. Some people don’t but we’re looking for the people who care, who want the security of their income over the next 20 to 30 years guaranteed to create wealth and protect and provide for their dependents.
How much life insurance coverage should people have?
It’s important to have the correct amount, but even something small is better than nothing at all. A general rule of thumb is ten times your general yearly income will get you close to the right place, but there’s no perfect number. That should cover any debt and provide and replace the missing income of a lost family member. The general goal is to make it to age 65 or retirement with a policy, so most people base their term length off that age.
When did you begin offering Cannabis exemptions, and how many of the 25 insurance companies you work with offer it?
Right now, we have four companies that will offer this exemption. They changed their underwriting guidelines about 18 months ago, where they can look at the statistics and see that Cannabis isn’t hurting life expectancy. They are always updating and some companies are more in tune, and some are asleep behind the wheel, so the ones that are more in touch with reality took a look at this and said ‘X amount of use is acceptable.’
How many often can I toke up and still be considered a casual user for the rating?
There are variations on what they consider normal use, and they base it on how many times per month you use Cannabis. It’s by the day, so you could smoke just once or be using all day long, they only look at the number of times per month you consume Cannabis. The magic number is 18, so smoke all you want 18 days a month and you can still qualify for protection under a non-tobacco rate.
How much would an average person save by getting a non-tobacco rate for insurance?
It’s such a valuable piece of information for people to know! We don’t want people to pay three times what you should be paying and get hosed just because you use Cannabis. It’s at least triple if you are designated a tobacco user. That’s just money you are throwing out the window for no reason, and you shouldn’t have to.
Why is medical marijuana viewed differently than recreational marijuana?
A common misconception people have in regard to medical marijuana is that it is looked at more favorably than recreational marijuana. The problem with medicinal marijuana is there needs to be an underlying health condition before a doctor with prescribe a medical marijuana card, which can adversely affect the rating from the life insurance underwriter.
What’s the starting point for price per month, is it hard to start or cancel?
With life insurance you can cancel any time, no penalty. It’s an easy process. To start, there is a medical exam, it’s real simple and it’s like a free physical, the lab results cost about $500 at a normal doctor, but its free of cost—no obligation. Then there’s a short phone interview, and they give you a rating and an offer. It can go as low as $15 a month for a 45-year-old standard non-tobacco rate, and we don’t sell overpriced expensive life insurance. We want to educate you, give you quotes and options, and let you make the right decision for your situation.
What’s your final message to folks thinking about life insurance?
It’s not like ‘Hey let’s go into this depressing fear-based conversation and get really dark and heavy.’ It’s ‘No, if you care, take care of it, chock it off the list, get life insurance at best price possible and have happy thoughts.’ It’s peace of mind, because once you have it you’re not letting it go.