Spreading the Cannabis Love

As a newbie to PDX, I’ve been really getting into going to cannabis events. 

The cannabis industry is booming out here and to be honest it blows my mind.

There is so much to learn and experience and share with people, well, it’s awesome. 

To be able to go into a dispensary and buy cannabis in a variety of forms just feels very normal to me and like “Oh yeah baby! Finally!”

I’m a smoker; I like pre-rolls or I buy flower by the gram. I will consume edibles but I don’t typically buy them. And I know very little about oils, cartridges and vaporizers, though I do have the Pax 2.

A lot of people ask me about dispensaries I like, or would recommend. I’ve been to a bunch.

I recently found out that they sell super cheap pre-rolls at Nectar. Like three bucks and change for one gram joint. Seriously, unbelievable price. Makes me wonder if it’s all shake, but I had one last night and smoked and felt fine, so, that’s a score in my book. I like Serra for its branding and because they have this nifty chart labeling each strand by effects such as creativity, happiness, relaxation, etc. It’s pretty sweet. But my local joint is Chalice Farms. It’s got a diverse staff (aka not all white dudes) and they have $5 .5 prerolls on Fridays. Plus, that’s where I discovered Estaweeda pre-rolls, which I love love love for their unique packaging and for the smoke (thanks for the rec, Taylor!). When my folks were visiting in September, we ate at local favorite Tom’s Restaurant and then stopped into Brothers Cannabis (which is POC owned). My dad bought a small glass pipe. We didn’t even have the opportunity to try it out when he was here. That will change the next time I visit him in Florida! I also like Foster Buds, they are super friendly, but I gotta admit the vibe is a little dude bro stoner for me.  When T. was visiting from Brooklyn, we went to Urban Farmacy, which conveniently is located at 420 NE 60th Ave and they know their shit. Cute boy bartenders held down the joint (ha, see what I did there), while T. asked a variety of questions to suit her needs. Good, solid info and it’s where I first tried out the Tangie strain. I’ve been to Kaya Shack, which was pretty basic but the budtender was chatty and the very first dispensary I went to when I moved here was the Portland Canna Connection on Hawthorne. I recently went back there and realized they have all their pre-rolls on display, of varying size and kind, and you can just look through it yourself without having to go through a budtender. I like independent shopping. I mean, yeah. I like a helpful shopkeeper but I like some privacy when I’m making decisions.

Anyhoo.

My point is that cannabis culture is booming here in Oregon. Some of you may know that I’ve been writing profiles on CPAs who are helping cannabis businesses. What I’m learning is pretty interesting – these are CPAs who run the gamut. Some have loved cannabis all their lives, some have never been users, some just believe in the cause. These are the people who are helping cannabusinesses with money. With operations. With backend financials. And let me tell you this – there’s a lot of headaches involved. Not only are the licenses for the states and sometimes municipalities in the thousands of dollars a pop (which, side note, who can afford? People with money, or people with access to money aka business people) but they have to deal with an arcane tax law from the IRS that doesn’t allow businesses to write off normal businesses expenses because you guessed it, the federal government still sees cannabis as a Substance 1 drug. So the accountants have their work cut out for them and they have the making of a very lucrative niche because the need is there and it is gaping. Aside from that, cannabusinesses have to deal with lack of access to banking in most states. Colorado is pretty much set, but Oregon has like one credit union in Salem (another, I am told is pending). One. So that means people travel for hours to make a deposit or do any sort of transaction that they can’t do online. And they are pretty much guaranteed to be paying thousands of dollars a month in fees, just to have an account open. It’s rough, but it also leads to a whole host of other issues. Like cash management (people aren’t effectively tracking their transactions, so money gets lost or misplaced or even stolen), the need to buy vaults for security while cash is onsite, and having to sometimes walk over to a vendor to pay their bill in cash, for say, electricity.

It truly is a green rush out here.

And in the midst of it all, cannabis business owners and influencers are starting to talk about how critical advocacy and activism are in this industry. Cannabis drug offenses have destroyed the lives of many black and brown people. It’s fucked up and now we have a lot of white men making a lot of money. So while the industry is lucrative and states are making out like bandits from all the taxes, those municipalities and states need to be giving back those funds and resources to communities of color AND working on legislation to decriminalize, pardon and expunge convictions for people who have been arrested and sentenced for crimes pertaining to marijuana.

I appreciate Samantha Montanaro of Toketivity and founder of Prism House talking about the legacy of the drug war and her own experience in this video put out by The Hood Collective

Samantha is co-creator of Toketivity, with founder Lisa Synder and both of them basically kick it out of the park with their events. Tokeativity is a cannabis community for women. According to their website, their “intention is to nurture a safe space for women to create, learn and connect. Whether you are a first timer or daily consumer, all women are welcome to join.rst timer or daily consumer, all women are welcome to join.”

I’ve been to two Tokeativity events – the social in September, and their one-year birthday party which happened last weekend. This last party, which is always held at the Prism House in outer NE PDX was pretty diverse, though I always want to see less white people and more trans women. BUT. It is getting there and we are in PDX, after all. That said, I came ready with some pre-rolls, but people all around me had their own stash to share. You walk in, you’re greeted, then there’s a room where there’s a photo shoot happening (side note: to be more inclusive, I suggest photographing everyone as they come in, if they want to be, not just a hip, glammed up chosen few), delicious food being put out, a drink station with cannabis-infused drops available being set up, and a DJ doing her thing, with lights vibing over some open space getting ready for a dance party. Go upstairs and there’s a tarot reader in a bedroom (mine was ah-mazing, by The Way Witch) and a craft table where you can bedazzle nug jars and lighters. Be forewarned! Glue guns are for real hot, people. Someone was passing a glass pipe with the new Meteorite by Astronoma, (Gron Chocolate’s sister company). As described on its website, “It’s hand-selected Clean Green Certified flower, covered in distilled cannabis oil, and coated with dry-sift crystals – available in sativa, indica, and hybrid.”

So yeah. 

Go another flight up, and it’s the attic, with lots of dimmed lights, cool art, floor pillows and lounge space. There’s a masseuse giving a massage. There’s another healer leading a group of women through a meditation. That’s when I realized: this party is really thoughtful. There’s something for really everyone – the sativa dance party enthusiast and extrovert, and the more indica-interested introvert. 

Needless to say, this social introvert left feeling very stimulated (I actually left a bit early) and satiated. It’s weird for me to be in women-only spaces after being in queer spaces for so long. I prefer queer spaces because, well, I’m queer and my needs around connection and gender aren’t so specific. Still, the event very much felt like a party an older sister would throw with all her cool friends. The most endearing thing? It was so multigenerational! 

I want to mention one more event I had the opportunity to attend last night on the fly – The Oregon Cannabis Industry Meetup (OCIM). Held at the same place as Toketivity, this was a great event to network with people who are in the industry. I met another cannabis CPA, a blogger for The Weed Blog, the curator of Tender Bud Acres, a pro-cannabis event space in Willamette Valley, and one of the owners from Kush Kart, a new POC-owned home delivery service in PDX “spreading education and access to cannabis,” plus a handful of other people. Tressa Yonekawa Bundren, a communications consultant and entrepreneur, talked about intention and led us through a group meditation. And then, there was an open mic for business owners – where yes! Business owners could get up and do a one minute spiel about their business. It was awesome. I loved that.

So many cool people doing interesting things in the name of spreading the cannabis love. 

[Toketivity image]

 

 

 

 

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