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.
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.
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.”
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.