Watch 2020 disappear into the sunset with your own mini-vacation RETREAT in Bend, Oregon
We’re super stoked to have TOKYO STARFISH grown Maui Wowie used in the latest round of Willamette Valley Alchemy Sativa Retreats. To celebrate this epic collaboration we’ve teamed up to giveaway TWO nights stay in our Bud n Breakfast* and TWO day tickets to Mt. Bachelor**. This giveaway is open to anyone over the age of 21.
GRAB a tin of Sativa WVA Retreats made with Tokyo Starfish grown Maui Wowie from your favorite dispensary
POST a picture of yourself and maybe some friends on Instagram using the hashtag #tokyostarfishretreat, enjoying the epic tropical vibes
A winner will be chosen based on creativity, humor and overall good times shortly after we kick off 2021.
The fine print: – Sativa Retreats pictured must be made with Tokyo Starfish Maui Wowie – *Bud n Breakfast booking dates subject to availability – **Mt. Bachelor tickets given in the form of value equivalent gift card – Must use hashtag #tokyostarfishretreat in your post to be found!
Pot culture has come a long way since the days of pseudo-Rastafarian head shops, Cypress Hill’s puerile glamorization of weed in the ’90s (see also “Hits from the Bong”), and the High Times monthly centerfold. Credit the mainstreaming of marijuana and the massive influx of cash that legalization has brought to dispensaries in almost a dozen U.S. states. Now, many are pouring their profits into legit product research, high-end retail designs, and “green glove service” for a more discerning clientele. These 10 marijuana dispensaries across the United States, in particular, offer unique customer experiences to match their one-of-a-kind, designer storefronts.
The High Expedition
Two hours north of Anchorage, in the tiny mountain town of Talkeetna, Alaska (population: 876) lies The High Expedition. It’s no doubt the most remote dispensary on this list. The rustic, log-cabin storefront feels more like an old-timey general store with only a “Cannabis Purveyors” sign on the outside to hint at the building’s true nature. The building is steeped in history as it served as the home of famed mountain climber Ray Genet who perished on Everest in 1979. Today, a modest museum inside the store commemorates his life and and the mountaineering achievements of others. It’s difficult to imagine a more appropriately “Alaskan” dispensary.
Las Vegas, Nevada
It was only a matter of time before Vegas erected the largest, most over-the-top dispensary in the country. Situated a mile off The Strip, Planet 13 is a sprawling, 40,000-square-foot behemoth that’s equal parts dispensary and entertainment complex. Customers will find a dizzying array of cannabis-related wares from tinctures and topicals to edibles and extracts with 42 cash registers waiting near the exit. However, the mega-dispensary is also big on creating a multi-sensory experience to make this a destination unto itself. Massive LED-lit lotus flowers mark the entrance while motion-activated, colored flooring, otherworldly orb lighting, and a huge 3-D projection wall make the inside feel more like a contemporary art museum. In spring 2019, Planet 13 announced an expansion to include a cafe, a pizza restaurant, and a 115-foot glass wall to showcase the making of their products in the attached production facility.
Tokyo Starfish is the antidote to Planet 13’s “bigger is better” mega-dispensary ethos. The Oregon-based shop promises a boutique, small-town experience where the […] budtenders legitimately care about their clientele — enough to remember their individual preferences and tastes. What truly sets it apart, however, is that it’s likely the only dispensary in the country that operates as a “Bud and Breakfast.” Just upstairs from the retail space is a two-bedroom apartment for rent. Naturally, it’s 420-friendly.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco boasts more high-end dispensaries per capita than almost any city in America, so competition is fierce. What sets Harvest apart from its Bay Area counterparts is a design and experience that feel more like an organic grocer than a high-priced head shop. Most of the products including edibles, concentrates, topicals, and, of course, flower, are sourced from local, organic growers and producers. Plus, unlike most high-end pot shops, the products here are openly displayed throughout the store for customers to readily inspect, smell, and handle.
Denver and Seattle
The multi-state Diego Pellicer chain has long been recognized for the beauty of its storefronts — an upscale aesthetic that’s equal parts apothecary and old-school haberdashery. This emphasis on style befits the brand’s namesake, a 19th-century hemp entrepreneur. But, these shops aren’t all sizzle and no steak. They promise some of the highest-potency strains in the country with THC levels that routinely test higher than 30% (that’s very, very strong). The best part? The prices are surprisingly reasonable.
Great Barrington, Massachusetts
It’s already getting harder and harder for marijuana dispensaries to distinguish themselves from the competition. Beyond flashy designs, dirt-cheap prices, and knowledgeable staff, outlets like Theory Wellness are looking to “seed to sale” (think “farm to table” for weed) business models to attract eco-conscious, small-business-friendly customers. The rural, Berkshires-based Great Barrington location receives all of its product from a sister shop in nearby Bridgewater where the company’s entire inventory is grown, harvested, and packaged.
Om of Medicine
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Where most dispensaries lean on glossy, futuristic, Apple-inspired designs, Om of Medicine looks to keep the pot-shopping experience quirky, bold, and fun. The Ann Arbor-based shop is a blend of modern yoga studio and art gallery. The lounge area encourages customers to linger with comfortable orb chairs, a guitar for guest use, and even monthly comedy shows.
San Francisco, California
Barbary Coast Dispensary finds its way onto every list of “best marijuana dispensaries in the U.S.” and with good reason. Here, the sophisticated high-design defines the experience. It’s not the only dispensary in California to offer a customer lounge, but its lounge sets the bar for what a modern-day smoke shop experience should be. With Tiffany-inspired chandeliers, gentlemanly leather seating, and rich wood throughout, the atmosphere is equal parts speakeasy and old-school barbershop.
Dockside Cannabis SODO
Seattle’s Dockside Cannabis SODO has all the hallmarks of a modern-day pot shop including a nice, open floor plan with a bright, designer decor. But, what sets it apart is the legit cannabis museum inside. One corner of the shop is dedicated to the science and history of all things cannabis. The collection was born largely of Ohio activist Don Wirtshafter’s hoard of related memorabilia including old-school medicine bottles. The entire collection covers more than one hundred years of pre-prohibition cannabis history dating as far back as 1830. Terpene scent jars and a “feel table” round out the shop’s unique multi-sensory experience.
New England Treatment Access
While NETA’s name has all the sex appeal of a walk-in clinic, their Brookline location is stunning. Situated in a historic bank building with soaring ceilings, tall arch windows, and a beautifully restored dome ceiling, it’s no doubt the most dramatic setting of any dispensary on this list. But what sets it apart is the incredible menu. All of its vaporizer products are dosage- and strain-specific, and the list of high-end edibles includes Belgian chocolate. What’s more, the staff is among the best-trained in the state to make the best recommendations for customers’ specific needs.
The Bend marijuana shop Creative Crops has faced nearby competition for the duration of its two-year existence, and now, the business and its Scott Street building are for sale.
Co-owner Denise Drazil said her customer base is increasing, despite the fact that a large chain, Mr. Nice Guy, bought out her competitor around the block on Davis Avenue late last year. Drazil and her partners — her three grown children — decided to list the shop for sale because of unexpected changes in their lives. “If we do keep the business, we’re going to do OK,” she said.
Marijuana business owners say a dwindling supply of eligible locations and a backlog of applications before the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has created an opportunity for shop owners to sell.
It’s been almost four years since the Oct. 1, 2015, start of recreational marijuana sales in Oregon. Since then, more than 600 shops have sprung up around the state. By now, those pioneering retailers can see that “things are going well, or they’re not,” said Kale Gray, co-owner of Tokyo Starfish, which has three locations in Bend [and one in Salem]. “We’re seeing consolidation in the marketplace.”
Yet marijuana’s retail footprint is expanding in Bend, which is home to 24 shops, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. A new store is under construction in the former Riverbend Brewing sports pub building at 2650 NE Division St., just up the road from The Herb Center. Frye of Bend LLC applied for a retail license at 2650 NE Division, but it has not yet been issued, according to the OLCC.
Entrepreneur Jacob Jenkins said he hopes to open his first store, CannaVida, at 325 NE Franklin Ave. by Sept. 3. The location is the former home of the medical marijuana shop Garden Kings.
“There’s still a lot of people that think you can make a lot of money at it, and you can,” said Josh Kelleher, a Southern Oregon real estate broker who works with cannabis businesses, including Creative Crops.
While some shop owners who’ve been in business from the start of legalization are looking for an exit, plenty of entrepreneurs still want in, Kelleher said.
There’s an advantage to starting a marijuana business at this stage of the industry’s evolution, Jenkins said. “Now, there’s some actual statistics to base your future on.”
The CannaVida store on Franklin Avenue will be part of a vertically integrated business that includes production and processing, Jenkins said.
Jenkins hopes to set CannaVida apart from the competition with a technology-centered sales floor. The store will be equipped with iPads where customers can learn more about the inventory and see suggestions based on past purchases, Jenkins said.
As with other types of retail, location is key to marijuana stores’ performance, Kelleher said. A store with “decent” performance will have gross sales of $1 million per year, he said.
In Bend, there aren’t many places left where one could legally open a store, said Nick Harsell, former owner of High Grade Organics on Davis Avenue, just east of the Bend Parkway. That made it easier to market his shop, which he sold to Mr. Nice Guy for an undisclosed amount.
In May 2018, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission declared it was too backlogged to process new marijuana license applications of any kind after June 15 that year. The “pause” only added to High Grade Organics’ value, Harsell said.
The OLCC does not allow marijuana retailers to transfer licenses, but the agency will facilitate the surrender of one license and issuance of another for an existing business, spokesman Mark Pettinger said.
“It was definitely a leveraging play,” Harsell said of the licensing backlog. “There was no other way to get a dispensary.”
The “pause” that OLCC enacted is still in effect for retail businesses, Pettinger said. “You may remember that we had a surge of applications in the run up to that date,” he wrote in an email. The agency is still assigning those applications to investigators, and until that’s complete, it won’t work on anything that was submitted after June 15, 2018.
Separately, the state has placed a moratorium on processing new applications for marijuana production. That could be in effect until Jan. 2, 2022.
Bend’s larger marijuana businesses are looking to expand in other parts of the state.
Oregrown Industries, which has a store downtown, will open three locations between Labor Day and the end of the year in Cannon Beach, Portland and Eugene, CEO Aviv Hadar said.
Buying out existing stores might have been quicker, but Hadar said the company and its investors wanted premium locations. The Eugene store at 211 W. Sixth Ave. is near the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, he noted.
Oregrown intends to pair the high-traffic locations with expensive interiors.
In Portland, the vaporizer company Pax Labs will build a store within Oregrown’s store at 1111 NE 12th Ave., Hadar said. “That Portland location’s going to be a tourist mecca.”
Tokyo Starfish is looking for opportunities in the Willamette Valley, Gray said.
“We opened up multiple locations in town because we feel that people shop for cannabis like they go to 7-Eleven — the one they like the most, nearest to them.”
For those counting, the last time local stars Larry and His Flask played together was a year ago this month. Typical for this high energy, self-styled “Post-Americana” rock band, the “This Remedy West Coast Tour” included 14 shows in five western states over the span of about two weeks.
With a year passing since then, I had to ask, does the group still exist?
“To me it does,” said Andrew Carew, band member since 2008.
But since that tour, the band hasn’t played together and reports no plans for future gigs. So why does a band that has recorded seven full-length albums and two EPs, and has toured all over the world with bands like the Dropkick Murphys, simply stop playing?
It’s complicated—but hang with me.
With roots in Redmond, the band was formed in 2003 as a three-piece punk rock band with Greg Johnson. “Larry and his Flask” is a fictional character created by band member Jamin Marshall in 2003.
Over the subsequent 17 years, the band evolved. The number of members reached a high of 11 in 2008, and the sound changed over time. According to the LAHF website, the band spent “its first half-decade stuck in a primordial, punk-rock goop where the goal was always party over perfection.”
By 2008 the band had radically changed its sound. Acoustic instruments prevailed, Ian Cook became the lead vocalist, Jamin Marshall went back to drums and multi-part harmonies became common—all while high-energy live performances continued to attract fans.
During the 2019 tour, the band included five members: Ian Cook on lead vocals and guitar; Kirk Skatvold on mandolin, trumpet, guitar and vocals; Jeshua Marshall on double bass, harmonica and euphonium; Dayne Wood on drums; and Andrew Carew on banjo, trombone, trumpet, guitar and vocals.
Conspicuously absent was the band’s co-founder, drummer and first lead vocalist, Jamin Marshall, who permanently left the band in 2018.
“He just needed a change in his life, the road stopped appealing to him—which it did to most everybody in the band,” said Jeshua (Jesse) Marshall, Jamin’s brother and co-founder.
In a 2015 Digital Music News article titled “Why Bands Break Up,” author Ari Herstand cited fatigue as a main reason band members part ways.
“No matter how successful a band becomes, sometimes the grind of the road can become too much,” wrote Herstand.
“We played in Norway, Italy, probably 12 different countries in western Europe, Canada, Alaska, Hawaii and Newfoundland. It was incredible,” Carew recalled.
“So many incredible shows and tours, so many that they blend together,” Jeshua Marshall reflected. “The Vans Warped Tour in 2011, opening for Dropkick Murphys on a six-week tour of the U.S., relentlessly touring North America and Europe. I loved almost all of it, to be honest.”
In addition, the financial challenges of self-managing a band and the pressures of family back home all contributed to the current situation.
Carew also spoke to the other obvious factor. “Back in 2008, we were all in our 20s and ready to drop everything. Now everyone’s in their 30s, have families and careers.”
Carew also pointed to the influence of front man Ian Cook.
“We pretty much relied on Ian as the main songwriter, singer and front man. You can’t do a show without him. And being a father and husband and having new twin boys, he’s focusing on that now,” said Carew.
The other band members are focused elsewhere as well. Kirk Skatvold works at Tokyo Starfish, a Bend dispensary. Jeshua Marshall continues to be very involved in the Bend music scene.
“Music is my life. I’m currently working on my debut solo album with Todd Rosenburg of Mad Caddies who is producing and drumming on the record,” he said. Marshall also plans to tour in Europe this summer with an Austin-based band.
Carew works in the building industry and continues his musical passions, forming a local band called “Andy Carew and his You Can Toos,” playing old jazz-swing standards.
But international touring aside, have we seen the last of local shows featuring Larry and His Flask?
Jeshua Marshall leaves the door cracked open. “Best answer I can give is a definite maybe. Under the right circumstances it would be a blast to get it moving again but… I’m happy if we leave it as an incredible 16-plus-year adventure with my brothers and best friends.”
Adds Carew, “Don’t lose hope, because it’s not impossible that we might play again.”
Law enforcement authorities intercepted $48 million worth of black-market marijuana headed from Oregon to 37 states over a three-year period, and officers blame the illegal exports on a statewide glut of regulated marijuana and low prices.
Some of the black-market marijuana comes from illegal growers, some diverted from legal recreational producers, processors or retailers and some comes from medical growers, acknowledged the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which oversees the Oregon’s legal recreational marijuana program.
Most of the illegal product seized — about 14,500 pounds — was probably grown on U.S. Forest Service land, and came from Jackson, Multnomah, Josephine, Lane, Deschutes and Washington counties, according to a report from the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a federally funded program that collects data from 14 counties in Idaho and Oregon.
“This could be larger in scope than the data sets show,” said Chris Gibson, executive director of the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. “We have a state law that says cannabis cannot go out of state, and that’s our focus.”
Deschutes County has seen a six-fold increase in the amount of seized marijuana so far this year, said Bend Police Lt. Brian Kindel, who is part of Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team. In 2017 the CODE team confiscated about 100 pounds of cannabis, compared to 600 pounds in the first 10 months of this year, Kindel said.
“We’re only stopping a small amount of it,” he said. “There’s a lot more going out. We’re not getting all of it.”
With more than a million pounds of excess cannabis logged into the Oregon cannabis tracking system and retail prices at a record low, black market sales — skimmed product from the legal recreational market, medical growers or illegal growers — have become tempting and profitable.
In many cases, it’s as easy as loading up an SUV and driving it to another state.
Officials say it will take a multipronged approach to combat black market sales. Allowing Oregon-grown cannabis to be sold in other states could relieve the pressure caused by the surplus, said Gary Bracelin, owner of Bend cannabis store Tokyo Starfish.
Many argue in favor of tightening regulations to prevent diversion, when cannabis grown in the regulated market finds its way on the black market.
Three recent criminal cases in Deschutes County underscore the rise of illegal growing and processing sites. One of the cases was even from a Oregon Liquor Control Commission sanctioned site.
In the most recent case, two Bend residents were charged with unlawful manufacture of marijuana and unlawful possession of marijuana for allegedly exporting cannabis products out of state. They are alleged to have used picture frames to hide cannabis to mail from a farm on Back Alley Road in Bend to Massachusetts. Law enforcement officials seized 93 mature marijuana plants and 55 immature plants, 5.8 pounds of dried marijuana and butane hash oil.
In another case, police charged two Crooked River Ranch residents with unlawful manufacturing of marijuana and charges related to allegedly running a butane hash oil operation used to produce a concentrate.
“We acknowledge there may be licensees conducting illegal activity, but it comes to light through anomalous activity in the cannabis tracking system, which is especially noticeable since our monitoring and detection has improved,” said Mark Pettinger, OLCC spokesman.
“Even before the High Cascade case surfaced, we were paying attention to the unusual ‘wasting’ activity and in some instances asking for video recordings to reconcile and do compliance checks,” Pettinger said.
With one cannabis growing site for every 25 users, Oregon has the ability to produce more than 2 million pounds of marijuana per year, far beyond what it can consume, leading law enforcement to believe that the surplus is contributing to diversion into the illegal market.
In addition, prices have fallen in the legal market from over $3,300 a pound to about $330 a pound, and cannabis businesses say some enterprising people are taking advantage of the lower prices and shipping product out of state, said Kindel, of the CODE team.
“What we’re seeing now is because it’s become lucrative to ship out of state, and Oregon has a reputation for quality cannabis,” Kindel said.
“Illegal grows are still at heart, illegal,” said Bracelin. “With the legal market and the glut, prices are so good for consumers to buy legal cannabis, I would guess the local black market is actually a pretty bad business model. Black market growers probably opt to ship out of state where they can get better prices. Illegal black market growers have been doing this for years.”
Bracelin said that regulated cannabis growers and retailers take a great risk diverting legally grown cannabis into the black market. They face license revocation and criminal charges by selling to the black market, he said.
“I’m not so naive to think this does not happen,” Bracelin said. “There will always be bad players.”
Lizette Coppinger, an owner of Cannabend, a Bend retail cannabis outlet, believes that legalizing the exportation of cannabis is important and could grow the cannabis industry. Legal exportation would enable growers to sell off the surplus to other states, Coppinger said. Allowing the export of legally grown cannabis to other states where pot is also legal could wipe out black market sales, she said. As of mid-2018, nine states and Washington, D.C, have legalized marijuana for recreational use for adults over the age of 21.
Said Bracelin: “Oregon is stifling its newest bounty crop and craft industry. While we fight over counties and state’s borders and federal acceptance, other countries are moving much faster and looking at international import/export markets.”
A byproduct of export would enable regulated shops, growers and processors to showcase the best Oregon growers have to offer. Products with high THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content, unique terpenes and flavor all can be found at the corner retail outlet.
“There’s so much talent, and it’s a fun process,” Coppinger said. “You don’t get that in the black market. You don’t have any choices, just what the dealer offers.”
In Oregon the OLCC has taken steps to prevent the diversion of legally grown cannabis to the black market. This summer saw the start of Operation Good Harvest, a program that requires a growers to notify the OLCC when harvesting begins.
Nearly 70 inspections were done of outdoor grow sites, Pettinger said.
“We acknowledge there may be licensees conducting this type of illegal activity, but it comes to light through anomalous activity that comes through the cannabis tracking system, which is noticeable since our monitoring and detection has improved,” he said.
When growers identify plants as waste, they must take them off their inventory, report the waste to the OLCC, store the plants under video surveillance for three days and dispose of the plants by mixing the plants with yard debris, wood chips or sawdust and taking it to the landfill if composting is not feasible.
This summer also saw the transfer of 2,000 medical growing sites that grow for three or more patients in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to the regulator authority of the OLCC. Those growing sites must tag and register their plants in the cannabis tracking system.
Another step the OLCC took to tighten the system came in August when it began limiting the daily purchase amount for medical card holders to 1 ounce.
Previously, the limit was 24 ounces for medical card holders. The restriction lifts in six months.
“None of us have figured out where the point of diversion is occurring,” said Carol Yann, Oregon Medical Marijuana Program section manager. “The majority of our growers are growing for themselves. We want to get a handle on the diversion.”
Dispensary tour could be “icing on the cake”. Look for an open-sided, six-seat, electric touring car making its way along Bend streets starting in September.
It will mark the advent of marijuana tourism, the next phase in a town already a destination for skiers, beer drinkers and bicyclists.
“By offering this type of tour, we’re demystifying cannabis,” said John Flannery, a partner in The Bend Tour Co. “We’re helping take away the stigma.”
Tourism geared to marijuana is not new in Washington and Colorado, states that preceded Oregon in legalizing recreational marijuana for adults. Portland has its own pot tour. But the Bend Tour Co. plan represents the first of its kind in Bend, Flannery said. He sees tourism as a means to entertain people while educating them about marijuana and Oregon law surrounding it.
“It’s a great tour of town but with a different set of discussion points,” Flannery said. “For a lot of people, it’s the icing on the cake.”
Marijuana is taking its place among businesses that play on Bend’s popularity as a destination along with kayak rentals, flyfishing outfitters and brewpubs, said dispensary owners. They reported a jump in sales starting in June, an increase tied to the availability of edible products infused with the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, but also to the tide of visitors during the first summer of legalized marijuana in Oregon. The Visit Bend website in spring added a drop-down menu that lists the […] marijuana dispensaries in the city. Visit Bend, the agency that contracts with Bend to market the city as a destination, takes a neutral stance on marijuana, its chief executive said.
“The way we see it, now that it’s legal in Oregon, we list them just like we’d list a grocery store or a brewery,” said Kevney Dugan, president and CEO of Visit Bend. “If you’re legally operating under the laws of the state, we can’t dictate who can or can’t be part of the (tourism) industry. Grocery stores, hair-cutting salons, mountain-bike rentals all have that listing. Tourists want that resource.”
Flannery’s tours will provide clients an opportunity to purchase marijuana but not to partake of it. State law prohibits consuming any form of marijuana in public places, and the Legislature last year amended Oregon’s Indoor Clean Air Act to include marijuana and vaporizer pens. The act prohibits tobacco smoking in the workplace, including hotels and motels, with some exceptions. The clean air law permits smoking in cigar clubs and smoke shops, with conditions attached. A marijuana business group in Oregon expects plans for a lobbying effort during the next legislative session to carve out a similar exception for marijuana smoking clubs or lounges.
“What we have to do is get around the Indoor Clean Air Act, that’s the main problem,” said Donald Morse, director of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council. “We’re hoping to allow these clubs, and that would help tourists. They can buy a joint, but they can’t smoke it in their hotels.”
However, dispensaries sell more than dried marijuana flower, which is commonly smoked. Since June, they may also sell drinks or edibles that contain 15 milligrams or less of tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, or a 1-gram container of concentrated THC extract. Adult consumers may purchase up to 7 grams of dried flower or one edible or extract at each dispensary per day under temporary rules for recreational marijuana sales.
Local dispensary owners reported a June sales surge they attributed to sales of edibles like gel candies, ice cream and kombucha with THC, as well as the seasonal tourist influx. Mark Capps, co-owner of Oregon Euphorics, a SW Century Drive dispensary, said 20 percent to 30 percent of the shop clientele were out-of-state visitors. Like other dispensary owners, he said tourism accounted for a bump in sales, along with the sales of edible products.
Edibles “open up the market to a lot of people who may not smoke marijuana but will ingest it otherwise,” he said.
Dispensary owners and employees estimated between one-fourth to one-third of their customers are tourists whose dispensary visits are incidental to some other activity, whether camping, climbing, a concert or a wedding. For many, a marijuana dispensary is a novel concept.
“We’ve seen many first-time people through the shop that are interested in checking it out,” said Jason McAlister, co-owner of Tokyo Starfish, a dispensary on NW Arizona Avenue.
His business partner, Gary Bracelin, said business jumped appreciably in June because of several factors. Work on a city sewer line on Arizona Avenue that hindered access wrapped up in June at about the same time as THC-infused edibles became available. Plus, Market of Choice opened its new location just east of the dispensary, which attracted more consumer traffic. Bracelin attributed the approximately $2 million increase in tax revenue collected by the state in June, about $5 million total, to the availability of edibles.
“With that being said,” Bracelin added, “tourism is having an impact.”
While the mainstream business community still holds marijuana at arm’s length, some sectors are warming to it, he said. Bracelin said he expects to build on his and McAlister’s ties to the outdoor recreation world. Bracelin founded Bend Outdoor Worx, a business incubator for the outdoor recreation sector, and McAlister is a professional snowboarder. Bracelin said those ties may help elevate the Starfish Tokyo brand. He said he expects to take part in community events as a corporate sponsor, but declined to be more specific.
“We are working on some ideas and, you might say, waiting for resistance to soften,” he said. “Yeah, we want to be community partners and be involved in community events. Our options aren’t really open to us, yet.”
With limited quantities of edibles now on sale to the Oregon recreational marijuana fancier, curious dispensary visitors are finding themselves exposed to a wealth of THC-infused candy, chocolate, cookies, and every other snack-y foodstuff under the sun. Even more of a surprise to some: there are now two locally-brewed and bottled cannabis-infused beverages to choose from: Magic Number ginger beer and “kannabucha” from Bent Beverages, both in Bend.
One of the first canna-beverages to the local market was Magic Number, a line of 12-ounce bottles of ginger beer. The name stems from the fact that each label shows the “magic number” of THC milligrams inside: 3, 10, or 25 at the moment, although a medical card is required for the last one. The Bend-based company released a Cold Brewed Coffee in 3mg and 10mg doses in March and plans to release other flavors in the future, such as root beer, chai, and tonic.
They’re joined in the market by Bent Beverage, which produces “kannabucha” in three flavors, including Berry Bomb and Momo Peach Ginger. The company—founded by a 10-year marijuana-growing veteran and a Colorado homebrewer—grows all of its own product. Both companies are committed to using organic ingredients.
Note: neither of these beverages is alcoholic. Having both booze and THC in the same beverage isn’t something the OLCC is quite ready to wrap its head around, although it has certainly been tried by homebrewers in the past. Customers without medical marijuana cards can purchase a maximum 15 mg THC dose of edibles per visit to the pot shop at the moment, and all food and drink will list the dosage on the label.
Consumers can find both brands right now at dispensaries such as […] Tokyo Starfish. But how do they taste? Well, just like ginger beer and kombucha, really—both are quite fine. It’s what comes afterward that makes them, in their own way, just as “adult” a beverage as local craft beer. Our advice for beginners: If you drink, say, a 15 mg-labeled kombucha and nothing happens, do not drink another one immediately! Give it an hour or so and see how you’re feeling before going nuts with it.
BEND, OR / ACCESSWIRE / September 16, 2020 / The interview, which was published on September 4, 2020, can be found on Thrive’s official site here. Thrive Global helps the world’s leading enterprises and their people build healthy habits through inspirational storytelling and actionable micro-steps.
The interview explored Peter Lowes’ extensive entrepreneurial background that spans more than 30 years and includes launching and leading several successful businesses in the real estate, food and beverage, and cannabis industries, respectively. He also touched among some of the numerous awards that he and his partners have received over the years, including winning a silver medal at the North American Brewers Association for best-tasting beer (Tranquilo Mexican Style Ale) and being named by Source Magazine as the best dispensary in Central Oregon (Tokyo Starfish).
In addition, Peter Lowes shared his longstanding commitment to protecting the environment; a passion that dates back to when he was seven years old and joined the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Commented Peter: “Even at such a young age, I had the awareness that animals need our help. This understanding developed over the years and raised my desire to help protect the environment that animals live in.”
Also deeply shaping Peter Lowes’ environmental awareness was a year-long cross-Atlantic voyage in 1982, during which he encountered a distressing amount of ocean pollution. That laid the foundation for what in 2019 would become Teaching Environmental Awareness (TEA): a non-profit foundation that provides scholarships to students who are pursuing education in environmental studies and sciences, and also provides support to various environmentally conscious groups and causes. Commented Peter: “Developing a foundation to make a positive difference had always been in my mind, and then in 2019 when I had the time, resources, and network in place, I put the wheels in motion and launched TEA.”
Peter Lowes also expressed what inspires him about current trends about protecting the environment, as well as what alarms him. With respect to the former, he is energized by the number of young people who are getting involved in various environmentally-aware causes and who are taking micro-steps to reduce their environmental footprint. With respect to the latter, he is deeply concerned that despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, some people still refuse to believe that the environment is in a state of crisis. Commented Peter: “I believe that some people think that the problem will somehow solve itself, or that it is being exaggerated. Neither of these are true. The problem is extremely real and serious, and it will only worsen unless we collectively do something about it.”
Oregon cannabis growers have been flooding the legal market with their plants. And no one can say with certainty how this will play out.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the state agency charged with regulating Oregon’s two-year-old legal cannabis market, has reported that growers in the state are producing far more recreational weed than is being consumed at the retail level.
According to OLCC data, licensed cannabis cultivators produced more than one million pounds of dry cannabis flower in 2017. But retailers sold only 108,330 of herb to consumers. That leaves an additional 891,000 pounds of weed in the market.
However, officials aren’t sure that the state is really growing too much pot. Mark Pettinger is a spokesman with the OLCC. He said that analysts are still trying to determine the connection between retail sales and production. He noted that retail sales aren’t the only market for the flower. So, the difference might not indicate a glut of cannabis.
“We just can’t draw a corollary between the amount on hand, the 1 million pounds, and sales,” Pettinger said.
He noted that with so many variables and a newly legal industry, regulators don’t yet know what the data means.
“There’s a lot of unknowns about this,” Pettinger said. “We’ve not even processed two full years of legal recreational cannabis through the OLCC system. It’s been a challenge to forecast this market.”
He also noted that retail flower sales are not the only market for the state’s cannabis production.
“We need to do a deeper dive into the data and look at the value-added products (concentrates, oils, edibles, and tincture). We need that to answer the question of how much inventory of flower is enough for the regulated market.”
Survival of the Fittest
Although regulators don’t yet have enough information to identify trends, the market is showing signs of overproduction. Wholesale prices are already dropping, even as more growers are applying for licenses to begin cultivation.
After an impressive harvest in 2017, average prices for sun-grown cannabis dropped more than 50 percent in a matter of months– from $1500 to about $700 per pound, according to local media. Prices of $400 per unit, or even less, were not unheard of.
Lizette Coppinger, founder of Bend-based cannabis dispensary Cannabend, believes that some growers will be forced out of business as the market continues to mature.
“Oregon is going through a survival of the fittest phase, and only the top producers will survive,” she said.
Prices More Stable for Indoor Flower
Coppinger also noted that wholesale prices for high-quality indoor flower are more steady. Consequently, retail prices for top-shelf bud at dispensaries like hers haven’t dropped much.
“We have not cut prices because we still pay top dollar for the flower we buy,” she said. “It is the outdoor market that is suffering from the oversaturation of flower and competing against each other to survive. The producers we work with have not had to adjust their pricing as the quality of the product has only gotten better.”
Gary Bracelin [one owner of] cannabis cultivator and retailer Tokyo Starfish. He told local media that as the cannabis industry in Oregon and elsewhere matures, market forces are bound to take over.
“People are going to jump in because it looks promising,” Bracelin said. “The free market takes over and normalizes the supply and demand of the emerging market. California will probably go through the same growing pains. It’s simple economics.”
When it comes to competitive snowboarding nothing compares to the ubiquitous stoke and democratized showmanship of a springtime quarterpipe session. Sure, banked slaloms appeal to soul shredders and speed freaks alike while X Games-esque spectacles have the wow quotient covered, but no matter if you are an active participant or a beer sipping bystander, none of the above compares to a good old fashioned QP jam.
Oftentimes resulting in mid air collisions and inadvertent over unders. Unlike slopestyles and other vast arenas where only a portion of the course or park can be seen from any one spot, even the least attentive QP onlooker can see a riders full run uninterrupted from the time they strap in to the point where they return to earth and ride it out.
Cheers and props are parlayed with an intimacy that is lost over distance. Inside jokes can be enjoyed by everyone in earshot and a couple of decibels can mean the difference between an intimate assessment and a high-profile appraisal. When a rider battles to raise the bar the whole crowd gets behind them hooting, hollering and high fiving.
As intimidating as quarterpipes may seem to the uninitiated, as far as contest venues go they are ironically a relatively level playing field, simply because of their rarity. Unlike what’s seen at slopestyle, halfpipe, banked slalom and jib events, there aren’t any quarterpipe contest jocks and in turn, there are few favorites. Veterans, groms, wildcards, weekend warriors and local heroes all can be considered contenders on quarters because technical ability can only carry you so far. Furthermore all it takes is a slightly miscalculated line for a rider to encounter over vert or under vert in turn sending the sender violently to the flatbottom or deck respectively.
In no other discipline are straight airs so widely revered meaning a double overhead method universally elicits more respect on a quarterpipe than any lip flirting huck ever could. If a rider wants to set themselves apart from the pack all they need to do is hike higher than the rest of the field, tuck the runway straighter and take less turns into the tranny.
All of the above and more were apparent at the 2nd Annual Max Warbington Quarterpipe Campout. Held at Mt Bachelor, OR on May 20th & 21st, Max Warbington’s signature showdown brought together an amalgamation of some of the finest riders and human beings in the shred scene today. Heavy tricks were thrown down amidst a light atmosphere rife with comradery, sativa smoke, sun burned skin and some roughhewn color commentary from none other than cinematic savant John Stark. Spencer Schubert, Dru Brownrigg, Jake Kuzyk, Austin Smith, Max Tokunaga, Bryan Fox, Phil Hansen, Jeff Holce, Jared Elston, Tim Eddy, Naima Antolin, Erik Leon, JD Dennis, Andrew Pace, Blake Paul, Forest Bailey, Will Dennis, Parker Szumowski, Tucker Andrews and of course Max Warbington and his younger sibling Gus sessioned the multi-tiered and jib/wall strewn setup for two days straight, only pausing once the sun dipped over the horizon. Wallride handplants, 50-50 450 outs, tuck knee Haakon flips, chicken wing mctwists, Rippy Flip flyouts and numerous other stunts were executed to much acclaim. At dusk the awards were presented and both a new LTC Utah edit and Freddy Perry’s Benchpress premiered to universal regard. A full breakdown of the awards are below as is a highlight reel of the event filmed & edited by Tyler Orton. In addition to the efforts of Max Warbington and his family, the Quarterpipe Campout was made possible with support from Mount Bachelor, Airblaster, Dang Shades, Drink Water, SnoPlanks, Crab Grab, Bent Metal, Tokyo Starfish Dispensary and Gnu.
It is no coincidence that this event was the 2nd Annual Quarterpipe Campout. If last years gathering was half as good as its 2017 iteration then no wonder that a sophomore effort was in order. Quarterpipe contests are too fun, too entertaining, too rad for them to be just one and done. Add to the onhill action the after hours mini ramp antics, impromptu movie premieres and THC TLC from Tokyo Starfish and it makes you want something like this to happen weekly, not yearly. Thanks to everyone involved and here’s to the quarter pipedream that years from now, SNOWBOARDER will be covering the Max Warrington’s 54th Quarterpipe Campout.
First Place: Mike Rav Best Trick: Parker Szumowski (Extension McTwist) Yead Daddy Award: Jared Elston Queen: Niama Antolin Lost Your Marbles: John Stark Blind Send: Jake Kuzyk After Hours: Forest Bailey Overall Impression: Andrew Pace
Oregon’s recreational marijuana industry is booming. Recreational sales in the state have only been legal since Oct. 1, 2015, but already there are more than 300 locations where adults age 21 and older can legally purchase cannabis for recreational use.
According to data from the Oregon Health Authority, there are currently 418 dispensaries registered to sell medical marijuana. Under Oregon law, medical dispensaries can also opt to sell cannabis to recreational users; 333 of the licensed dispensaries have opted to do so. This provision is set to expire December 31, after which recreational sales will fall under the regulation of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
While this seems like a lot, the numbers will only go up from here. The OLCC, which will assume full regulation of the recreational market on Jan. 1, 2017, began accepting applications for recreational dispensaries, producers and processors in January 2016. As of April 19, 2016, the OLCC has received more than 884 license applications — 610 producer (grower) applications, 155 retail applications, 70 processor applications, 43 wholesaler applications, five lab applications and one research certificate.
OLCC spokesperson Mike Pettinger told OPB earlier this year that the organization is focused on building out the recreational infrastructure first and will issue licensees to producers, wholesalers and labs before issuing licenses to retailers. The OLCC anticipates it will begin licensing recreational dispensaries in October.
The map below shows the OHA licensed dispensaries where adults can purchase marijuana as of April 20, 2016: