As I’m sure you’ve noticed, Bend has a surplus of dispensaries. When marijuana became legal in Oregon, the novelty of just being able to walk into a store and come out with cannabis was cool enough to keep many dispensaries going—even the hollow Tin Man ones, basically empty on the inside with crappy customer service and a poor selection base.
But now after a few years, the cream has had a chance to rise and Tokyo Starfish continues to prove why it’s consistently one of the most popular dispensaries in Bend. Even as tastes change and customers keep searching for whatever is the new-new, Tokyo realizes the delicate balance it needs to tread to keep people coming back.
When looking at what’s important for a dispensary to offer in 2020, Director of Marketing Jason Shurtz explains the Tokyo philosophy. “Providing consistent, friendly and welcoming customer service,” says Shurtz. “Also providing a product selection that isn’t directly catered to people with a lot of previous cannabis experience. Make things easy and comfortable for customers; coming into a dispensary for your first time can be a daunting experience for some and you don’t want anyone to have a bad experience for their first time.”
Thanks for being gentle with us, Tokyo. It’s always nice for pot shopping to feel fun instead of like a chore, and the Starfish always keeps it light and green.
On a typical Saturday, at 4:30 am, Boulder, Colorado-based competitive ultramarathoner Flavie Dokken takes 5mg of Wana Recreational Tarts, puts on her running shoes, and heads out for a five-hour run. But Dokken is not your typical stoner, she uses cannabis as part of her workout routine and she is sponsored by Wana Brands, a cannabis company that produces cannabis-infused products. Dokken told Vice that the gummies help her tune into her breathing. Although Dokken uses THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive element of cannabis) during training, she stops using it a week before race day because of drug testing.
“Active lifestyle” might not be a set of words commonly associated with cannabis use. But cannabis companies are trying to change that by sponsoring athletes and athletic teams, getting them to post photos of products on their Instagram grids or put brand stickers on their athletic equipment, in order to gain visibility with the athletes’ fans.
Brands like Nike, Saucony, and New Balance, synonymous with the running industry, do not allow their athletes to be associated with cannabis. But that doesn’t mean they never partake. Dokken said she knows of a handful who do. Not only are they secretive about their use, but they also avoid affiliating with her for fear of guilt by association. She said that these athletes, “won’t follow me on Instagram,” but she also states that when she wears her Wana gear on the trails in Colorado, “people give me a high-five, which is awesome.”
Even as big brands don’t want to talk about cannabis use, it is increasingly officially sanctioned for competitive professional and amateur athletes: In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code removed CBD from their list of banned substances, and allows an athlete to have THC in their system during a random out-of-competition drug test. But THC is still a prohibited substance for post-race or in-competition drug tests; this all means athletes are fine to use cannabis during the off-season and even during training, but cannot compete with the drug in their system.
In 2018, Canada legalized marijuana with the Cannabis Act, which prohibits athletes from being sponsored by cannabis companies. Canadian MMA fighter Elias Theodorou is trying to change that. He uses cannabis for pain management for bilateral neuropathy in his upper extremities (chronic pain in his wrists, elbows, upper neck, and spine). “Doctor prescribed cannabis is the best medical option to manage my pain,” he told VICE. “Traditional, first-line medications like pain killers, opioids, and NSAIDs have all had detrimental side-effects to my body as both a patient and athlete.”
Theodorou, who has been sponsored by Pert Plus, Mattel, and Coors Light, explained, “This fight is not only about working with cannabis companies, but also the need to knock down the barriers and negative perception other companies may have with cannabis.”
Mendi, a CBD startup company, has “athlete ambassadors” who help promote their products, including soccer player and Women’s World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe, and her girlfriend, WNBA player Sue Bird. The athlete ambassadors receive Mendi products to promote on their social channels and attend Mendi events. The company was founded by Rapinoe’s twin sister, Rachael, who is also a former pro soccer player. Although CBD is banned in the WNBA, Bird uses it in her off-season. She told New York Magazine, “It’s great for recovery and it relaxes me. I usually take it at night so I can sleep, which helps with recovery, and have had amazing results.”
While the use of cannabis might seem diametrically opposed to what an athlete values—inaction versus action—calm, relaxation, and rest are integral to athletes’ overall success and well-being. But athletes don’t even limit use to off-hours in our modern times: In 2019, The University of Colorado Boulder released a study on over 600 runners with legalized cannabis that found 80 percent of cannabis users mixed workouts with cannabis use. Although cannabis is not a performance-enhancing drug, Dr. Rosemary Mazanet, Chief Scientific Officer of Columbia Care, claimed to VICE it can help diminish performance anxiety. “You’re able to be more in the moment and have more fun, to be more limber, to be more flexible,” said Manazet.
Pulmonologist Vandana A. Patel stressed to VICE via email that smoking cannabis can negatively impact an athlete’s performance. “Inhaling cannabis can cause structural lung injuries, like building air pockets in the lung which can rupture under increased physical stress.” Because of this, many athletes, like Dokken, stick to edibles.
The owners of the Oregon-based dispensary Tokyo Starfish all previously worked in the snowboarding industry before they transitioned into opening a dispensary. Tokyo Starfish-sponsored professional snowboarder, Max Warbington explained that the dispensary focuses on the lifestyle aspect of snowboarding rather than the performance aspect.
Tokyo Starfish-sponsored snowboarder Nora Beck told VICE that she uses cannabis during snowboarding when she needs to relax. She explains, “It’s like you’re on hyperdrive and you just need to turn the volume down a little bit.”
“Tokyo Starfish is actually invested in snowboarding and they understand that I’m out there doing my job as a pro snowboarder and just the fact that I have the Tokyo sticker that’s like a total bonus for them,” Warbington said. As a pro snowboarder sponsored by Tokyo Starfish, Warbington sends the company videos and photos throughout the winter. He also wears their T-shirts and hoodies and markets them to snowboarding fans on his social media.
When asked whether he feels like there’s a stigma as an athlete sponsored by a cannabis company, he replied, “I think they’re probably always will be [a stigma] just the same as there’s a stigma with alcohol because it’s a substance that people abuse.”
In a phone interview with VICE, Warbington said he is particularly conscious of his image. “I definitely don’t want to push it [cannabis] on the youth and that’s why I always like to preach that.” He does not allow Tokyo Starfish to post images on their social media of him smoking pot, though Warbington sometimes posts a picture of a joint in his personal Instagram stories. He said, “I always second-guess it every time because of my influence.”
Brands like Tokyo Starfish and Wana are trying to combat negative associations with cannabis. They want the public to affiliate the recreational drug with an active lifestyle. Warbington said it’s really important to him that people know he and his Tokyo Starfish teammates do not personify the “lazy stoner” stereotype. Far from it. “We’re out here smoking weed,” he said. “We’re the first person up [on the slopes in the morning] and the last one to leave the mountain.”
More likely than not, the cannabis lover in your life already has their favorite dispensary—and dispensary products—well in hand. Putting a container of edibles or flower under the tree this year will be sure to make them smile, but if you’re looking for something besides product to wrap up and give this year, here are a few ideas available at local dispensaries.
A Night at the “First and Only Bud and Breakfast in Bend,” courtesy Tokyo Starfish. Average cost: $160/night (seasonal variance)
Have friends or family who want to come to Bend and experience all the wonders of legal cannabis? Book them a night at the Bud and Breakfast, located above Tokyo Starfish, which is a two-bedroom plus loft that is cannabis friendly. Guests even get a gift card to Tokyo Starfish with their stay. Bookings available at: vrbo.com/1135822
“Bong Appetit Cookbook,” available at Dr. Jolly’s. $30
Sure, you might already know how to slap some ganja butter into a boxed mix of brownies—but for those looking for a more elevated experience, this book delivers. Featuring 65 sweet and savory dishes, and cocktails, that can be made with cannabis.
“A Woman’s Guide to Cannabis: Using Marijuana to Feel Better, Look Better, Sleep Better–and Get High Like a Lady” book, available at Dr. Jolly’s. $16.95
Have a hesitant or new cannabis user in your life? Let this book help them explore the ins and outs of using weed for pain relief and more.
Both of these books are available at Dr. Jolly’s online store at Dutchie.com, where you can even get your goods delivered to your door.
ReStash Jar from Oregrown. Medium size $25.
Love the buds, but not the smell? Give the gift of a stash jar adorned with a super-cool logo and choose the colors your gift recipient loves most.
Look for the “square tumbler” at Oregrown’s store.
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.”
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.”
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:
Salem, Oregon – December 23, 2020 (Newsfile Corp.) (Investorideas.com Newswire) Tokyo Starfish, the on-the-go oriented dispensary brand founded by alums of the action sports worlds, has opened its fourth store in Salem, Oregon. With three established stores in Bend and a number of ‘Best Of Central Oregon” accolades to back up its reputation, the move is sure to shake up the already competitive cannabis market in Salem.
The shop held its soft opening on November 30, and has already begun to win over cannabis consumers in the state capitol with great customer service and a vibe that is all its own. “We want our customers to feel like it’s their best friend on the other side of the counter,” Jason Shurtz, Marketing Director explains. “We definitely bring quality and professionalism, but there’s a laid back and friendly vibe to it. And at the end of the day, we like to say have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously.”
That a brand like Tokyo Starfish would be born in a place like Bend, with its reputation as the outdoor and urban playground of Oregon, should come as no surprise. Nestled in the Cascade Mountains along the Deschutes River, Bend is the unofficial adventure hub for the region. Hence why owners and staff at Tokyo Starfish are just as likely to be up riding at nearby Mount Bachelor or the local skatepark, as they are managing inventory at one of the shops.
Although Salem is located a couple of hours from Bend, Shurtz is confident that the brand will resonate with cannabis consumers in the city. “We really strive to create an environment that makes you feel relaxed and at home from the moment you step through the door. ” When asked why Tokyo Starfish chose Salem as the location for their latest shop, CEO Kale Gray said, “Salem was one city on a short list of new locations for us. When it came down to decision time, we felt that Salem shared the best connection to our current operations in Bend. Whether it’s Bend residents passing through to head to the valley or beach, or Salem residents headed over the pass to soak up some High Desert sun, skiing in winter, or a river float in summer, there’s a constant overlap of people who are looking for the Tokyo Starfish experience right in the heart of our states capitol.”
Inside the TOKYO shops, walls are peppered with mementos and images set to inspire our customers to get outside. Very casual and creative with a touch of humor, their shops capture the adventurous spirit and on-the-go ethos that Tokyo Starfish embodies.
A vertically integrated dispensary, Tokyo Starfish’s in-house products represent a similar philosophy. “We see cannabis as part of many people’s everyday lives – something that’s a source of enjoyment and adventure,” Shurtz says. “Just like us, a lot of our customers are frequently on-the-go, busy living life, so we wanted to create products that fit with that lifestyle.” And because there aren’t many things better than a good pre-roll doobie either at home or out adventuring around, Tokyo has put a lot of emphasis on the pre-roll and joint pack product segment with the release of their Tokyo Starfish branded single pre-roll “DOOBIES” and pre-roll 5-pack “Pocket Rockets”.
In the Tokyo shops, customers can always choose from a wide selection of Oregon’s best flower, edibles, concentrates, shatter, infused drinks, tinctures, and more. They also want to take care of the deal hunters, so always have regular on-going specials, as well as additional vendor deals happening each week. Call or stop by to get specifics! “We’re incredibly excited to join the cannabis community in Salem and hope that folks will come and check us out,” Shurtz says.
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.
We checked in with a few local ‘tenders about what they’re recommending for these competing—and sometimes concurrent—priorities of summer 2020.
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 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.”