by Emerson Malone, @allmalone

After an historic low from the Oregon football team last weekend, the state of Oregon is preparing for an historic high today, as those over 21 years old may now legally buy and recreationally use marijuana.

Medical marijuana dispensaries around Eugene are now extending their services to recreational sales, starting Oct. 1, when the law goes into effect throughout Oregon. Customers will be able to purchase a limit of seven grams (a quarter ounce) of marijuana flower and four clones (immature MJ plants).

“Based on the amount of [non-patients] currently calling in or trying to come in [for recreational weed], I’m thinking Oct. 1 is just going to go crazy for all of us,” said Jim Wymore, manager and budtender at Oregon Medigreen (570 Lawrence St.)

While buying bud is allowed, marijuana edibles, concentrates (such as hash, oil, and tinctures) and topicals (a medical lotion or essential oil to rub on your skin) cannot be sold recreationally, according to the Senate Bill 460 that Gov. Kate Brown signed into law on July 28 this year. This mandate expires on Dec. 31, 2016.

Beginning Jan. 4 next year, retail outlets can apply for recreational marijuana licenses from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the governing body that oversees and regulates marijuana sales and usage in the state.

This soon to be mature marijuana plant is known as “Power Nap,” due to its sleepy side effects. (Cole Elsasser) Photo credit: Cole Elsasser


Recreational marijuana sales will be taxed somewhere between 17 to 20 percent, until Jan. 4, when it’s hiked up to a 25 percent tax. A downside for people who don’t have a connection in the black market is an upside for schools, mental health, alcoholism and drug services and state police, who will receive some cut of the taxes (as written in Measure 91.)

Recreational shops won’t open until later in 2016, at which point some dispensaries, including Oregon Medigreen, will revert to being exclusively medical.

Depending on your preference, adults over 21 can now choose between sativa (the kind that makes you active) and indica (the much-less active) strains. For beginners, budtenders at several dispensaries around Eugene recommend that newcomers and the uninitiated should go for a strain of marijuana that’s high in cannabinoid (chemical compounds known as CBD) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (the active chemical known as THC.)

The high-CBD/low-THC combination makes for a mild, relaxing high with low psychotropic effects that won’t be overwhelming.

Budtender Andrew Thatch at Twenty After Four Wellness Center (located at 420 Blair Blvd.) recommends the following flowers for beginners: Bubba Kush (indica, 25 percent THC) and Lemon Haze (sativa, 20 percent THC.)

Wymore suggests that the uninitiated try small amounts of different strains – the operative phrase being small amounts.

“You don’t have to look like the guys from Cheech and Chong and blow out a big plume of smoke that fills the room,” Wymore said. “Just take one or two small hits, give yourself a half hour to an hour and see how it really affects you.”

If you were lucky enough to get a sticker from Twenty After Four, you may redeem it on Thursday for a free pre-rolled joint while it’s open (10 a.m. to 10 p.m.). Twenty After Four has roughly 14 varieties of flower for recreational sale, says budtender Chris Miller.

* * *

by Daniel Bromfield, @bromf3

*Names of sources and strains have been changed to protect subjects’ privacy.

Ariel has just driven across town to make a delivery. She plops down on a couch in a dusty college living room and unzips her bag, surrounded by tapestries and posters of rock stars on the walls. She pulls out jar after jar in front of her buyer, who stares greedily at her wares as an unmistakable reek settles over the room.

Her wares come with colorful names like Beezlebud, Trinity and Dolly Dagger. For those unsure, there’s the signature “Ariel Mix.”

“I’ll take the Blue Dream,” her customer said, gingerly sniffing a jar.

This is a scene from the twilight of Oregon’s soon-to-be-bygone era of illegal recreational marijuana. These sorts of living room pot deals are likely to become far less common once the sale of recreational marijuana is legalized on Oct 1. In fact, Ariel’s friend Sebastian, another dealer who sometimes sells her wares for her, intends to stop as soon as it becomes legalized.

Ariel has no plans to quit anytime soon. She predicts there will still be ample demand for black-market pot thanks to legal recreational marijuana’s high taxes and prices.

“People are going to be paying 20 bucks or more a gram at rec shops,” she said, compared to her average price of $10 per gram. “[Plenty of] people who smoke weed in this town are poor college kids. The number of people that want weed won’t go down with legalization. And there’s always the under-21s.”

Selling pot is Ariel’s main source of income at the moment. Currently unemployed, she sells marijuana to repay her student loans at the University of Oregon, hoping to re-enroll in courses this winter. She generally picks up a half to a pound from her grower, making between $100 and $500 every five-day business cycle before she re-ups her stash.

Though most of her customers use pot recreationally, Ariel also sees a future selling to medical patients who can’t afford high-priced dispensary marijuana.

“Selling ganj is something I can feel good about doing in that the plant is, for a lot of people, an important medicine to have access to affordably,” she says. “I have always felt like if dealing was something I was going to get into, I wanted it to be worthwhile.”

Ariel isn’t completely closed to the idea of going into the legitimate marijuana business someday. She apprenticed to a grower over the past summer, learning the ins and outs of cultivating and harvesting pot plants. She could see herself growing for recreational or medical dispensaries.

The black market isn’t dying out any time soon, and dealers like Ariel are sure to give the state’s newest industry some serious competition.


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