Marijuana Tourism Comes to Bend

Original article by Joseph Ditzler, published on the The Bulletin Aug 28, 2016.

John Flannery, a partner of The Bend Tour Co.

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 Tokyo Starfish 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.”

Drink Weed Every Day

Two local companies bottling cannabis-infused beverages

Original story by KEVIN GIFFORD published on BendSource.com, July 13, 2016.

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.

Summer Strains

Local budtenders weigh in on what they’re recommending for summer stoke, and also dealing with a pandemic

Original article published to The Source Weekly Bend, June 24, 2020 by Nicole Vulcan.

Amid the ongoing stress of a global pandemic, summer has arrived. Some days that might mean hitting it hard on the water or trails. Other days, it might mean coping with lingering stress and worry about finances or physical and mental health. At Bend’s cannabis dispensaries, budtenders dole out a lot of emotional support while they help people choose products that meet their current needs.

Local budtenders agree that Magic Number sodas are delicious! - COURTESY MAGIC NUMBER

We checked in with a few local ‘tenders about what they’re recommending for these competing—and sometimes concurrent—priorities of summer 2020.

Dana Catt, Tokyo Starfish West

For getting out on the trails: “I’m loving the new formulas for Magic Number sodas,” said Dana Catt, a budtender at Tokyo Starfish. The sodas offer some hydration as well as a mellow high, and she says she likes to mix them with other juices to make a “cannabis cocktail.”

For pandemic stress: Catt recommends Tokyo Starfish’s CBD daytime tincture, a 10:1 formulation of 10 parts CBD to one part THC, which she said helps to relieve her stress.Enjoying this story?We depend on your support to help fund our coverage. Support local, independent media with a small monthly or one time contribution. Thank you!

Maggie Fry, Dr. Jolly’s

For summer fun: “The Cherry Vanilla soda and Ginger Beer from Magic Number,” recommended Maggie Fry of Dr. Jolly’s. “The flavor is awesome and the high is super pleasant—less hard than edibles, and perfect for hikes or taking it to the river.” The sodas, made by a local company, come in varying dosages, from 10 milligrams to 25 or even 50.

For pandemic stress: “I smoked a lot during quarantine,” Fry said, with mostly indica flower. “The Dr. Jolly’s Sunday Driver, an indica, is one I like to smoke throughout the day to calm down and mellow out. Happy to have flower there to keep me sane.”

Justin Pohll, Top Shelf Medicine

For summer fun: Whether he’s fishing, working on motorcycles in his garage or taking the dog out for hikes along the Deschutes River, Justin Pohll of Top Shelf Medicine enjoys sativa-dominant hybrids. “You get that uplift and drive to go out and do things,” he said. “Durban Poison is one I really like—a great flavor, great effect that is overall euphoric.”

For pandemic stress: “Hybrids or indicas,” Pohll recommends. “There’s lots of flower being smoked right now—lots of edibles, too. Now that people have time at home, they’re getting creative with their baking and experimenting with other types of cannabis products—trying their own recipes. I also like the Highland Provisions gusher gummies—great flavors. What’s really cool is they’re using an agave tincture as the liquid, so your body is going to feel the effects more quickly.”