Menstruation & Marijuana

By Sarah Weiss

There is ample research available to support the theory that cannabis can help ease our aches and pains. It’s not a stretch to acknowledge these medicinal properties can extend to the pain and discomfort often associated with a menstrual cycle. So why isn’t this potential remedy shared far and wide between uterus-owning individuals?

Stigma.

There is currently a large amount of stigma revolving around cannabis, especially in the United States, and there has been for over half a century. In the early 1900s, Mexican immigrants introduced recreational cannabis to the United States. Shortly after came the Great Depression, during which Americans experienced widespread unemployment. This, in turn, increased the public’s resentment towards the Mexican immigrants – and the marijuana they’d brought with them. 29 states had criminalized marijuana in some way by 1931. The famous anti-cannabis propaganda film “Reefer Madness” was released 5 years later, in December of 1936.

Nearly forty years later, in June of 1971, Nixon would officially declare the “War on Drugs.” Nixon had signed the Controlled Substances Act into law the previous year. The Act outlined 5 “schedules” of drug classification, based on a substance’s addictive potential. Heroin, ecstasy, and marijuana are all classified as Schedule 1 drugs – meaning they are the most addictive. Oxycontin, cocaine, and methamphetamine are Schedule 2. Even today, as many states have legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use, marijuana remains federally classified as a Schedule 1 drug.

But an even wider-spread and longer-running stigma is placed on the reproductive cycle and a person’s period. The stigma transcends cultures and religions. In parts of Nepal, many still participate in Chhaupadi, a practice in which menstruating women are sent to live in segregated huts for the duration of their period. This practice stems from the belief that menstruation is inherently dirty or “unclean.” In some parts of the Caribbean, it was believed menstrual blood holds magical powers and can be used to control the minds of others through consumption. Therefore, menstruating people may have been prevented from preparing food.

These practices may seem extreme in America. However, one can still observe our culture’s blatant aversion to menstruation through our use of language. Using the term “feminine hygiene products” implies something about menstruating is inherently dirty or unhygienic. Additionally, the euphemisms we’ve created to refer to a person’s menstrual cycle are practically never-ending. “It’s shark week,” “Aunt Flo’s visiting,” and “I’m on the rag,” are but a few of the things we’d rather say than “I’m menstruating.”

Photo by Ann Zzz from Pexels

These social stigmas make discussing either topic taboo. It is only logical that two taboo subjects combined would not be a frequent topic of discussion. Even as such discussion could generate a mass of potential benefits. We have evidence to show cannabis has been used in the treatment of menstrual discomfort and other uterine issues throughout history. However, due to these stigmas, there is likely a much larger history that was lost to time.

Despite what was lost, the historical data we were able to recover on the use of cannabis for menstrual discomfort is believed to date as far back as 1550 B.C. One of the oldest medical documents ever discovered – the Ebers Papyri from ancient Egypt – described a practice in which ground cannabis was mixed with honey and applied vaginally to “cool the uterus.”

Before Epidurals and Pitocin, there was cannabis.

The first medical documents found written in Arabic, known as the Al-Aqrabadhin Al-Saghir, were dated back to 9th century Persia. These documents explain that the juice of cannabis seeds was mixed with a variety of other herbs and administered intranasally to calm uterus pains and prevent miscarriage.

Although modern medical science suggests it may be best for pregnant people to avoid cannabis consumption, throughout history cannabis has been used as an aid during the delivery process. For example, a burial tomb from approximately 600 B.C. was discovered in Palestine in which the skeletal remains of a 14-year-old girl were found. After investigation, it became clear the girl had died in childbirth. Ash was also found in the tomb, which was later revealed to be burnt cannabis. It is believed the cannabis was burned and administered as an inhalant to the girl during her difficult labor.

By the mid-1800s, using cannabis – often referred to as “Indian hemp” in medical publications – to help facilitate labor was a well-documented medical practice. At the time, the most popular way to induce labor was through the use of Ergot fungi. These fungi, which are poisonous to humans, can be lethal, and often led to stillbirths. Ergot is also incredibly psychotropic. Clearly, cannabis made for a less intimidating alternative, being non-lethal and less psychoactive than the fungi.

Photo by CBD Infos on Unsplash

As time and science progressed, inhalation lost out in favor of oral administration, usually in the form of a tincture. This is because oral administration allows for a more controlled dose of desired cannabinoids. In 1852 John Grigor published an article in the Monthly Journal of Medical Sciences in which he stated “I have noticed the contractions acquire great increase of strength and frequency immediately on swallowing the drug, and have seen four or five minutes ere the effect ensued; … when effectual it is capable of bringing the labour to a happy conclusion considerably within a half of the time that would other have been required.”

In fact, many doctors of the era wrote of cannabis’s ability to cause contractions and facilitate labor. In 1851 Sir Alexander Christison of Edinburgh wrote “Indian hemp appears to possess a remarkable power of increasing the force of uterine contraction during labour… Shortening of the {pain} interval was, in general, a more conspicuous phenomenon than prolongation of the pain.” It should be noted again that the consumption of cannabis while pregnant is currently not recommended by modern physicians.

Original artwork by Sarah Weiss

With modern-day legalization, we saw a rebirth of cannabis-based solutions for menstrual discomfort. Medicated tampons, suppositories, and lube are just a few of the items to hit the market in recent years. Here at Substance, we have a few favorite products we like to recommend for these uses.

Luminous Botanicals product photography

Luminous Botanicals Cannabis Tonic

This tonic is made with a base of coconut and almond oil. Luminous can be ingested as a tincture. It can spread on the skin topically. But the real treasure here is that their all-natural formula has been approved for internal application. This means it can be used sensually for lubrication. (Being an oil-based lubricant, it is not recommended for use with latex condoms). A budtender tip? Add a few drops of this tonic to a tampon to help ease cramping! It is worth noting, however, that the vagina is a very absorbent part of the body. This means that any cannabinoids are likely to be absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly. Because of this, if you choose either of the formulas containing THC, you may feel some psychoactive effects.

Synergy Skin Worx Product Photography

Synergy Skin Worx Patches

Transdermal patches are a staff favorite when it comes to pain relief. Slap one of these on your lower abdomen and feel your discomfort melt away. Be careful though, patches are the only topical that can penetrate the blood barrier. This means that a patch infused with THC may cause some physcoactive effects.

High Desert Pure Product Photography

High Desert Pure Soak & Fizz

It’s fairly common knowledge that a warm bath can help ease menstrual pain and discomfort. High Desert Pure Soak & Fizz bath salts can aid in muscle relaxation. Their bath products contain a potent 1:1 THC+CBD blend. In combination with their delightful essential oil blends, High Desert Pure has managed to create a bathing experience unlike any other.

Celebrities & Cannabis: Seth Rogen’s Houseplant

By Kit Foreman

In early August of 2008, two little films went head-to-head at the box office. Surprising nobody, The Dark Knight came out on top – but a little cannabis comedy called Pineapple Express came in second. Overall, it grossed $101.5 million dollars worldwide, and wrote Seth Rogen into the annals of stoner history.

Pineapple Express - Cinematographer: Tim Orr

Now, Rogen has made stoner history yet again with the 2021 release of his cannabis line, Houseplant. Houseplant is a joint venture with his long-time partner Evan Goldberg (not coincidentally, the man who co-wrote Pineapple Express with Rogen). Though it was originally released only in Rogen and Goldberg’s homeland of Canada, Houseplant has made its way to a small group of distributors in the United States and can now be purchased in California.

There are really two sides to the Houseplant company; the “house” side, and the “plant” side. On the plant side, of course, is the cannabis – their website describes their cannabis as “for people who love weed, by people who love weed.” They state that Rogen and Goldberg have “hand-selected (and constantly smoked)” each strain under the Houseplant brand.

On the flip side of the Houseplant brand is the “house” piece. In 2019, Rogen began sharing his handmade ceramics with his Instagram followers. They became unexpectedly popular and he brought his designs with him to the Houseplant brand. From table lighters to ashtrays, there are a variety of fun and funky things to peruse, and they all have a delightful midcentury modern flair. While they are not Rogen originals, they are heavily based on his designs (including an “impossible to lose” gigantic tabletop lighter).

So, are the plants of Houseplant so good they’ll make you feel “like a slice of butter… melting on top of a big ol’ pile of flapjacks”? Well, the strains available differ depending on whether you’re purchasing in Canada or California, but the general consensus seems to be that while Houseplant is expensive, it’s high quality.

“The THC in Houseplant packs a nice wallop, and the terpenes are impressive,” writes Mary Jane Gibson of Leafly. In her experience, it “lives up to the hype.”

Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz and Katie Heaney of The Cut write, “Houseplant is exactly what Houseplant positions itself to be: an ordinary smoking experience… something you might easily integrate in your day-to-day.”

Jackie Bryant of Uproxx even titled an article, “We Tested Seth Rogen’s New Weed and It’s Pretty Damn Great.”

As Rogen highlighted in an interview with The Cut in March of 2021, Houseplant also desires to emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion in their brand. “Based on conversations with dozens of policymakers, investors, advocacy groups, etc., we [Houseplant] decided to invest in programs and partnerships that centered around leveraging our expansive network/unique skill sets to assist underserved entrepreneurs through mentorship and to raise awareness around policy issues and the terrible history of the war on drugs.”

Overall, while it may seem like celebrity cannabis has become the new version of celebrity fragrance lines, Houseplant is a company with the drive and the ability to make a high-quality cannabis with a solid ethical foundation. We are looking forward to keeping an eye on this venture — Seth, if you bring this to Oregon, call us!

Pride Month & Cannabis

By Sarah Weiss

Every June we see the rainbows roll out; flags and logos redone in rainbow serve to indicate that Pride Month has arrived once more. However, there’s a lot more to the history of Pride – and it all has a closer connection to cannabis than one might think.

Pride wasn’t always parties and parades. The first Pride was a riot.

Pride was created in remembrance of the Stonewall Riots. The Stonewall Riots, also known as the Stonewall Uprising, occurred in New York City in June 1969. The riot was in response to a police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay nightclub in Greenwich Village. This raid was not abnormal, as the 1960s were marked by all-too-regular police raids of gay establishments in the city.

The raid of the Stonewall Inn began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. The police arrested 13 people, including employees and patrons. Some of the documented offenses included violating the state’s gender-appropriate clothing statute. “The majority of people at Stonewall were either drag queens or gay men of color,” Titus Montalvo, a hairdresser and makeup artist who was 16 at the time, shared in an interview with USA TODAY.

The LGBTQ+ community had had enough and thus began the Stonewall Uprising. Accounts vary on what exactly started the protests – one of the more popular stories is that a Transgender Black woman by the name of Marsha P. Johnson threw a liquor bottle (or a brick) at a police officer. In the years since, Marsha has become an idol in the movement, despite insisting in a 1987 interview that she had not arrived until after the protest began.

Regardless of how it started, the protests continued as the Stonewall reopened the following night and was once again raided. The violence escalated; police employed the use of tear gas against protestors. Over the next week, the Stonewall Inn became a gathering point for LGBTQ+ activists.

In total, the Stonewall Riots lasted six days. Although it was in no way the beginning of the gay-rights movement in America (or even the first documented riot induced by police mistreatment of LGBTQ+ individuals), it is considered a crucial turning point in LGBTQ+ history.

The first Gay Pride Parade was held on June 28, 1970, on the first anniversary of Stonewall. A hundred or so people marched down Christopher Street, where the Stonewall Inn still stands today.

Stonewall, from Travis Wise - https://www.flickr.com/photos/photographingtravis/18007716668

Over 50 years later, cities all over the world hold pride events during June in remembrance and support of the long fight for LGTBQ+ equality.

But how are Pride Month and the gay rights movement intertwined with cannabis?

In recent history, a study conducted by the National Library of Medicine found that Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual adults were more likely to use cannabis than heterosexual adults. But cannabis and the LGBTQ community have a relationship that goes back decades.

A large portion of support for the legalization of medical marijuana came in the wake of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, which disproportionately affected the LGBTQ+ community. Many began to see the medical benefits of cannabis when they started using it to ease nausea, appetite loss, and pain associated with AIDS. Many members of LGBTQ+ communities, particularly those in San Francisco, were experienced activists due to their involvement in the gay rights movement. These activists used this experience to jump-start another cause: legalizing medical marijuana. Two prominent figures in the original efforts to legalize were Dennis Peron and Mary Jane Rathbun, also known as “Brownie Mary.” Both individuals spent the majority of their lives in San Francisco, and both of them witnessed the impact of the AIDS crisis first-hand – which made clear the medicinal value of cannabis.

Peron, photographed by Jim Wilson of the New York Times

Dennis Peron, a man largely credited as the “father of medical marijuana,” began his journey into cannabis at seventeen. Shortly thereafter, he served in Vietnam under the United States Air Force. He returned from Vietnam with two pounds of cannabis hidden in his duffel bag. Paron settled down in San Francisco, eventually opening a restaurant, through which he sold weed from the establishment’s second floor.

The medicinal value of marijuana became rapidly apparent to Peron as the AIDS crisis began to take root. He was an openly gay man and his partner, Johnathan West, used marijuana medically to combat the side-effects of his AIDS medication.

While Dennis Peron was arrested many times on marijuana-related charges, one particular arrest in January 1990 served as his personal catalyst into cannabis activism. That winter, the police raided the home that Peron shared with West. The police found four ounces of marijuana and charged Paron with intent to sell. However, at Peron’s trial, West revealed the stash was his and the charges against Peron were subsequently dropped.

Johnathan West never received any charges in the matter, as he lost his battle with AIDS and died just two weeks after Peron’s trial.

His partner’s death catalyzed Peron. He wrote Proposition P alongside fellow activists, which was a ballot measure asking San Francisco to add marijuana to the list of substances that may be used to treat illnesses (such as AIDS, cancer, and glaucoma). The measure passed in 1991 with an 80% majority.

Brownie Mary, photographed by Maureen Hurley

Alongside Dennis Peron, there was “Brownie Mary.” Mary Jane Rathbun was a single mother working as a server at IHOP in San Francisco in the 1970s when she developed her renowned cannabis-infused brownie recipe. She began selling the brownies on the side to earn some extra income to support herself and her daughter.

Mary was arrested for the first time at age 57 when cops raided her home and found over 18 pounds of cannabis. In place of jail time, Mary was required to do community service, most of which she did for an organization known as the Shanti Project. The Shanti Project was an emerging program to support those diagnosed with AIDS during the emerging crisis. Here, Mary truly came to see the medicinal potential of marijuana.

Mary was increasingly interested in cannabis’s ability to combat “wasting syndrome” (weight loss of more than 10% of a patient’s total body weight, commonly seen during the HIV/AIDS epidemic) by increasing appetite and fighting rapid weight loss. By the mid-1980s, Mary was baking around 600 cannabis-infused brownies a day for patients in the AIDS wards in San Francisco.

This work is especially notable as AIDS was largely misunderstood and widely feared at the time. No one was sure yet how exactly the disease was contracted, and most patients had, at most, 18 months to live after diagnosis. This meant that AIDS wards were not frequented by guests, or even by hospital staff. Mary wasn’t just providing medical relief, she was also providing companionship.

Mary was arrested several times over the course of her career on cannabis-related charges, and after an arrest in 1992 she testified about the medical benefits of marijuana. Her testimony led to a decision to reduce cannabis possession to the “lowest priority” for prosecution.

That same year, Mary Rathbun and Dennis Peron joined forces and opened the Cannabis Buyers Club.

Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

The Cannabis Buyers Club was created with the intention of being arrested. Once arrested, Paron intended to launch a defense based on the medicinal value of marijuana, and to bring awareness to AIDS patients who found the plant to be a necessary part of a comfortable existence. The issue was… the cops never showed. Instead, patients flocked to the club in droves.

Once inside the Cannabis Buyers Club, one could both purchase marijuana and consume it on-site. Besides providing medicine, the club naturally became somewhat of a social mecca. The Cannabis Buyers Club provided AIDS patients and LGBTQ+ individuals alike with a safe place to socialize. Several support groups formed within its walls, from those in cancer treatment to those living on the streets. It seemed that those from marginalized groups could always find some comradery at the CBC. On the weekends, staff would even go as far as to prepare a home-cooked meal for members. In the decades since its grand opening, many of the original members have been interviewed. Many patrons of the CBC reported not only the health benefits of marijuana itself, but the additional health benefits of being part of a healing, open-minded community.

We owe the origins of the modern-day dispensary to the work of Brownie Mary and Dennis Peron.

Here at Substance, we hope to continue in their legacy by creating a safe, welcoming space for everyone.

Substance is a proud member of the Welcome Here Project.

Cannabis Use in Ancient Egypt

Original Art by Sarah Weiss

By Sarah Weiss

Despite existing nearly 2000 years ago, Ancient Egypt remains one of the world’s most popular cultural fixations. This fixation may be due, in part, to just how much modern society has in common with this ancient civilization. One example of this commonality: regular use of the cannabis plant.

Temple of Ramesses III, Medinet Habu, Egypt | Photo by Jeremy Zero

The time period we think of as ancient Egypt took place between 3100 B.C. and 332 B.C.

Why has our fascination with ancient Egypt held the tests of time? Perhaps it’s the fascination with the construction of the Great Pyramids. Maybe it’s the colorful polytheistic religion that is so starkly different from modern mainstream Christianity. But, more than likely, it’s because Ancient Egyptians created their own written language, known as hieroglyphs, consisting of pictures and symbols carved into stone. Because the stone carvings withstood the test of time, historians have been able to translate their writings and have gained first-hand insight into life in Ancient Egypt.

It’s because of these very writings that we have come to realize that we might have more in common with this ancient civilization than we think. For example, much like us, ancient Egyptians found methods of using the cannabis plant medicinally.

The first mention of cannabis historians came across was in The Ramesseum Papyrus, an ancient artifact considered to be one of the oldest medical records ever found, dating to approximately 1750 B.C. This document detailed the treatments used for all types of illnesses and ailments, everything from minor burns to childbirth. One of the treatments within this document calls for the use of cannabis. However, historians believe ancient Egyptians used the word “shemshemet” instead of modern-day terms like cannabis and marijuana.

The Ramesseum Papyrus describes a treatment for glaucoma that calls for a mixture of celery and cannabis. The plants were to be ground together and left to sit overnight. The mixture was then used to wash the eyes of the afflicted. It is incredible to see cannabis used to treat glaucoma almost 4000 years ago because it is still used today. we now have scientific evidence of the effectiveness of THC at reducing intraocular pressure, a key component of treating the disease.

Ancient Egyptians also used cannabis in the treatment of menstrual discomfort.

The Ebers Papyri, another set of ancient medical documents, also contains treatments involving cannabis. It describes a practice in which cannabis was ground in honey before being applied to the inside of the vagina to “cool the uterus.” Cannabis has well-documented anti-inflammatory properties that are more than likely responsible for the efficacy of this treatment. This practice wasn’t left behind in ancient times either, as today we’re beginning to see more cannabis-infused tampons & personal lubricants hit the dispensary shelves – often aimed at relieving menstrual or sexual discomfort.

Historians believe cannabis was used in ancient Egypt because of translated medical documents, but hard science exists to back up the presence of cannabis as well.

Multiple mummies, including that of the Pharaoh Ramses the Great, were discovered to have traces of THC in their tissue, along with traces of nicotine and cocaine. The THC was most concentrated in the lung tissue, implying a somewhat regular inhalation of cannabis smoke.

We know cannabis was used in medicinal applications because of the discovered medical documents. However, it is thought that it may have been used recreationally, as well as in religious ceremonial practices.

PHOTO BY SHVETS PRODUCTION ON PEXELS - https://www.pexels.com/@shvets-production/collections/

The Egyptian Goddess of Cannabis

It is nearly impossible to discuss ancient Egypt without noting its colorful polytheistic mythology. Ancient Egyptians worshiped an array of gods and goddesses. There are well over 2000 individual deities documented. Some of the most popular figures from the mythos include Osiris (the god of the underworld), Bastet (the goddess of pleasure), and Ra (the god of the sun). However, when it comes to cannabis, there has been discussion around the goddess Seshat.

Seshat was the goddess of writing, scribe to the pharaohs, and protector of the libraries. 

With written language at the center of ancient Egypt’s culture, Seshat was a prominent deity. Seshat is one of the few Egyptian deities that appear human and is not associated with any particular animal, and therefore is identifiable through one prominent feature: her seven-pointed headdress. Seshat is depicted wearing a headdress composed of a seven-pointed star beneath what is believed to be a crescent moon. However, there is a lot of modern discussion over whether the seven-pointed star may be a cannabis leaf. This could suggest that cannabis had a larger role in their religious practices and day-to-day lives than we originally imagined. (We’ve included some photos of carvings of Seshat. I don’t know about you, but we think that’s a pretty funny-looking star).

Photo by Karen Green on Flickr - https://www.flickr.com/photos/19479358@N00/4416472934/

Whether or not Seshat was indeed the god of cannabis, it is through her supposed gift of written language that we are able to understand just how valuable the cannabis plant was in ancient Egypt. Despite the centuries that lay between us, the medicinal properties of cannabis have persevered – possibly making cannabis one of the most modernly beloved wonders of the ancient world.

The Oregon Cannabis Equity Act

By Sarah Weiss

The War on Drugs was never really about the drugs.

As the newly legal cannabis industry continues to boom across the United States, with multi-millionaire celebrities like Seth Rogan and Martha Stewart cashing in on the craze, it’s become increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that many people are still sitting in jail on marijuana charges while a predominantly white demographic engulfs the newly legal market. The Oregon Cannabis Equity Act is a legislative attempt to rectify the damaging racist legislation, like the War on Drugs, and their lasting effects on marginalized communities.

The War on Drugs — a campaign launched by President Nixon in the early 70’s — created American legislation that unfairly targeted Black people and other minority groups in the United States. Decades later, the War on Drugs continues to disproportionately affect Black communities and people of color, particularly when it comes to cannabis. While both white and Black groups have historically used and sold drugs at similar rates, today 74% of those imprisoned for drug possession are Black.

In recent years, it appears that whether someone is praised as a cannabis entrepreneur or written off as a “drug lord,” has largely been determined by the color of that person’s skin.

The Oregon Cannabis Equity Act

Oregon has introduced legislation that aims to fight the lasting repercussions of the War on Drugs. The Oregon Cannabis Equity Act is legislation that was introduced in early 2021. Currently, the act is still in its drafting stage and has not yet been voted on by the senate – the first step in making the act become law. If passed, the law will be enacted August 22nd, 2022.

If you’d like to read the bill in its entirety, 40+ pages of legal jargon and all, feel free. I have also taken the liberty of breaking it down for you (you’re welcome).

The major portions of the bill are as follows:

  1. The Cannabis Equity Board

  2. Cannabis Equity Licensing

  3. Cannabis On-Premises Consumption Licensing

  4. Cannabis Delivery Licensing

  5. Shared Processing Licenses

  6. Convictions and Arrests + Data Reporting

  7. Funding Allocations

  8. Medical Marijuana Program

As you can see, the bill includes legislation that would allow for legal cannabis delivery in Oregon, as well as on-site consumption. This means in the next five years you could have your bud delivered to your front door along with your Domino’s, or you could spend Friday night trying a sample flight of different strains in a smoke lounge.

Additionally, the creation of shared processing licenses would allow for multiple processors to operate under one roof – reducing overhead costs which could lead to a reduction in price across extract and edible companies. We’re very excited about these possibilities, and will delve into them more in later posts.

For now, let’s stick to the issue at hand: equity in the Oregon cannabis industry.

The Cannabis Equity Board

The Cannabis Equity Board is essentially a board of directors created to oversee Oregon’s cannabis businesses. The board exists separately from, but within, the governor’s office, containing nine governor-appointed members. A Cannabis Equity Board member is a salaried position with a four-year term. Members appointed to the board must have prior knowledge of the cannabis industry and may not hold any other public office positions. Five of the nine board members may not have any financial interest in cannabis-based businesses.

The board members must have representation from the following groups:  licensed healthcare representatives; cannabis producers, processors, and retailers; Equity operators; and representatives of community-based organizations that support individuals who are American Indian, Alaska Native, Black, Hispanic, or Latine.

The board will oversee the following things:

  • Audit applications for Oregon Equity Licensing

  • Manage funding allocations from the Cannabis Equity Fund

  • Regularly report demographics under all cannabis licenses in Oregon

  • Oversee, measure, and report the outcomes of the Cannabis Equity Act

Cannabis Equity Licensing

Equity Licensing will be available to entities of which over 51% is owned by individuals who are residents of Oregon and meet the following requirements:

  • Has been convicted of a marijuana-related crime in any state & whose income does not exceed the area’s median income

  • Is American Indian, Alaska Native, Black, Hispanic, or Latine, or is a member of another minority group that shows historically disproportionate community arrest rates for marijuana related crimes.

The bill also states that applications filed for equity licensing must be processed within 30 days of submission, a clause which will allow for these minority-owned businesses to open and operate within a small time frame. The OLCC will also be required to provide support, both financial and otherwise, to applicants throughout the application process as well as after licensure.

Convictions and Arrests

Under the Cannabis Equity Act, persons charged or convicted of  “Qualifying Marijuana Offenses” are eligible to apply to have these offenses removed from their records. This effectively moves to decriminalize cannabis and wipe records clean of acts that, although they were not at the time, are now considered legal under current Oregon state law.

Qualifying Marijuana Offenses are defined as follows:

  • Possession of less than one ounce of dried leaves, stems, and flowers of marijuana

  • Conduct that is now considered legal under ORS 475B.301, like the production or storage of four or less homegrown cannabis plants.

  • Child Neglect and Endangering the Welfare of a Minor charges that involved possession of less than one ounce of dried leaves, stems, and flowers of marijuana, or conduct now legal under ORS 475B.301

Setting Aside Convictions + Arrests

  • A person who has been convicted, arrested for, or otherwise charged with a qualifying marijuana offense may apply to have the record set aside.

  • Persons filling this application are not required to pay a filing fee, submit fingerprints, or submit to a background check.

  • If no objection to the application is filed within 30 days, the applicants record will be expunged and the relevant court documents sealed.

  • Upon clearing, the conviction or arrest is considered to have never happened, and persons involved may answer legal questions as such.

Probation, Parole, + Post-Prison Supervision

  • If you are an OMMP cardholder, abstaining from marijuana and marijuana products may not be a condition of your parole or probation

  • Forbidding a person from possessing or using marijuana may not be a condition of parole or probation unless abuse of marijuana was a factor in the original conduct.

Funding Allocations

When you get a speeding ticket or commit a crime for which the court decides to fine you, where does that money go? Those funds are deposited in an account known as a Criminal Fine Account, which are then distributed among state offices such as the states’ forensic services or public safety standards. However, the Cannabis Equity Act would allocate 10% of the Criminal Fine Account to the Cannabis Equity Fund.

Additionally, in the state of Oregon cannabis products boast a 20% sales tax. The money from this tax is put into an account known as the Oregon Marijuana Account. The Cannabis Equity Act would allocate 25% of the for the Cannabis Equity Fund, and another 20% toward mental health & addiction treatment programs.

The act also states that if the Marijuana Account fund were to ever exceed $11,250,000, the remainder shall be transferred to the Drug Treatment and Recovery Services Fund.

Medical Marijuana Program

The Cannabis Equity act also makes some modifications to Oregon’s existing Medical Marijuana program.

One notable change is the creation of a public education program, designed to monitor and report on the known health effects, benefits, and risks related to marijuana use. The public education program will also serve to educate the public on the impact of marijuana prohibition on the overall health and wellbeing of BIPOC.

The cannabis equity act also allows for funds from the Oregon medical marijuana account to be used to provide drug abuse prevention, early intervention, and treatment services to individuals who are American Indian, Alaskan Native, Black, Hispanic, or Latine.

Additionally, the act requires the Oregon Health Authority to annually report on the population of BIPOC OMMP cardholders to ensure these groups have access to safe and affordable marijuana for medical use. This includes plans to eliminate barriers that prevent these groups from growing their own medicine at home, including zoning laws, plant limits, and issues that result from renting rather than homeownership.

So what does this mean for Substance?

Substance eagerly awaits the time when we can watch the market fill with minority-owned businesses here in Oregon. We are so excited for all the new farms and products, and looking forward to supporting those who were previously targeted because of this industry. We are also delighted to know that a portion of the tax money we collect here will directly impact the Black, Indiginous, and Latine communities in Oregon.

Substance is a proud financial supporter of the Oregon Cannabis Equity Act HB 3112, a bill leveraging economic growth of the cannabis industry to create equity in communities most damaged by racially biased enforcement of cannabis criminalization. You too can support equity for Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities. Follow @CannabisEquityPAC on instagram to stay active and visit https://oregonequityact.com/ to donate, learn more, and sign the Oregon Cannabis Equity Act petition.

Sign the letter of support for HB 3112!

We’re trying to get as many people as possible to sign onto a letter of support for HB 3112. This letter will go to the folks on the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, which is where our bill goes next. We need to get the chairs of that committee to understand why this bill must be passed!

Here is the link to sign the letter of support: https://oregonequityact.com/letter-campaign/

Once you’ve done that, feel free to share the link to the letter with any folks in your networks that you think would also support these reforms.

Learn more about this and other cannabis causes supported by Substance at oregoncannabisretailers.com 

Cannabis and Your Pets

By Sarah Weiss

Humans have been using cannabis and hemp for their therapeutic benefits for thousands of years. Following the federal legalization of hemp products and multiple states’ legalization of medical and recreational cannabis, research has only just begun to show the numerous therapeutic benefits cannabinoids can provide through human consumption. As we look into the benefits of these wondrous plants for ourselves, it’s only natural to consider the possibilities it could provide our furry friends.

Almost all animals, vertebrates and invertebrates alike, have endocannabinoid systems (ECS), just like humans. Insects being one of the few observed species to be devoid of said system. “The endocannabinoid system modulates the nervous and immune systems and other organ systems through a complex system of receptors and chemical signaling molecules to relieve pain and inflammation, modulate metabolism and neurologic function, promote healthy digestive processes, and support reproductive function and embryologic development.” (Silver, Robert)

Like us, animals produce their own cannabinoids to interact with and signal the ECS. And, like us, animals are subject to effects from the introduction of external cannabinoids, such as THC & CBD. While all animals have an ECS, that doesn’t mean we all process cannabinoids in the same way. So just because you enjoy a THC high, doesn’t mean your pets will.

Photo by Erin Hinterland

Why THC isn’t recommended for animal consumption?

THC is considered toxic to dogs and cats. The severity of the toxicity depends on the manner of ingestion and the quantity ingested. Instances of exposure to secondhand smoke and the ingestion of raw cannabis plant material are fairly unlikely to be fatal. However, THC exposure can affect your pet’s heart rate and body temperature, and even lead to tremors, seizures, and coma. Additionally, the consumption of large amounts of activated THC, like one could find in a medical-grade edible, could be lethal.

Severity of toxicity also depends on the animals’ size. The same amount of THC is likely to  affect your Boston Terrier more than it would affect your Great Dane. “certainly not all pets follow a single pattern of intoxication. A small amount may affect one pet more than another, so there is no official safe level of exposure.

What does THC intoxication look like in animals?

Signs and symptoms your pet could be experiencing THC toxicity include difficulty walking and maintaining balance, vomiting,  lethargy, excessive drooling, dilated pupils and/or glossy eyes, and urinary incontinence. Additionally, your pet may experience elevated blood pressure, a slowed breathing rare, and fluctuation in body temperature. Fortunately, these symptoms are often short-lived, lasting anywhere from 12-96 hours.

What to do if your pet is showing signs of THC toxicity

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to cannabis and is experiencing THC toxicity, you have a few options. If your pet is a little wobbly but seems mostly comfortable, it might be best to let it pass at home. However, if your furry friend is unable to stand, eat, or drink, it may warrant a trip to your local emergency vet. Your vet may choose to pump your animals stomach or give them some charcoal to help absorb whatever it is they’ve ingested. It’s important to open and honest with your vet and disclose that your pet may have been exposed to cannabis in order for the vet to formulate the best course of treatment.

Photo by Erin Hinterland

What about CBD for animals?

Recent research has shown that CBD does not have the same toxicity to animals as THC. In a 12 week study in which dogs were given CBD-infused dog treats twice daily, the most notable side effect was loose stool, which only occurred around 3% of the time. Physical exams revealed no abnormalities or changes in behavior throughout the study. So while there is little evidence to the positive effects of CBD in animals, the same can be said about the negative.

Many believe CBD has the potential to treat a variety of medical conditions in animals, such as anxiety and seizures. However, there is no current scientific research to back these beliefs. This doesn’t mean that CBD isn’t an effective tool in the treatment of these ailments, it’s just that we don’t know for sure yet.

Additionally, drug interactions between CBD and veterinary pharmaceuticals have not been studied as of yet. If your four-legged friend takes a prescription medication, it is unadvised to administer any CBD without veterinary approval and/or supervision.

If you are looking into a CBD treatment for your pet, we recommend checking out your local pet store or CBD shop instead of your local dispensaries. This is because according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commision, no dispensary may sell products that are specifically to be consumed by animals.

 

Works Cited:

Deabold, Kelly A et al. “Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats.” Animals : an Open Access Journal from MDPI 9 (2019): n. pag.

Frye, Gregory. “CBD for Pets: How CBD Can Increase the Quality of Life for Our Furry Friends.” Substance Cannabis Market, 6 Aug. 2018, www.substancemarket.com/cbd-for-pets/.

Graham, J D, and D M Li. “Cardiovascular and respiratory effects of cannabis in cat and rat.” British journal of pharmacology vol. 49,1 (1973): 1-10.

Gollakner, Rania, and Lynn Buzhardt. “Cannabis (Marijuana) Intoxication in Cats and Dogs.” Veterinary Centers of America, vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/marijuana-intoxication-in-dogs-and-cats

Hauser, Wendy. “THC Toxicity in Pets.” ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, ASPCA, 13 Aug. 2020, www.aspcapetinsurance.com/resources/thc-toxicity-dogs-cats/.

Janczyk, Pawel. “Two Hundred and Thirteen Cases of Marijuana Toxicoses in Dogs.” ResearchGate, Mar. 2004, www.researchgate.net/publication/8899436_Two_Hundred_and_Thirteen_Cases_of_Marijuana_Toxicoses_in_Dogs

Janeczek, Agnieszka, et al. “Marijuana Intoxication in a Cat.” Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, BioMed Central, 1 Jan. 1970, actavetscand.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13028-018-0398-0

Peterson, Michael E. “Small Animal Toxicology – E-Book.” Google Books, Elsevier Health Sciences, 7 Aug. 2013, books.google.com/books?id=BLkPFlB15v0C.

Silver, Robert J. “The Endocannabinoid System of Animals.” Animals : an open access journal from MDPI vol. 9,9 686. 16 Sep. 2019, doi:10.3390/ani9090686

Plastic Packaging Blog Post

The Plastic Problem – Conscious Consumption & Retail Cannabis

By Kit Ryn Foreman

Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide every year — and half of it is single-use. Of those 300 million tons, over 8 million tons are dumped into our oceans. Every week, the average human consumes approximately one credit card’s worth of plastic due to plastic breakdown in the ocean – plastics break down into microplastics, which find our way into our water and our food. Former EPA Admin Judith Enck estimates that the United States now recycles less than 5% of its plastics.

Of all that plastic, nearly half of it is used for packaging. Food packaging, drink packaging, packaging for all sorts of consumable items… including cannabis.

In the cannabis industry, packaging regulations vary from state to state — in Oregon, cannabis must be packaged in tamper-evident, child-resistant, resealable containers… or must be placed in a resealable and child-resistant exit package (ORS 845-025-7020). These plastics do not have to be “virgin” plastics, they can be recycled, but recycled plastic packaging leads to higher material costs — which makes its way to the customer in the form of higher prices.

There are some companies that are at the forefront of change in the cannabis industry:

Sana Packaging makes both hemp packaging and ocean-harvested packaging (meaning packaging made from plastics harvested from the ocean).

The Ocean Cannabis Company, a California-based company, also uses ocean-harvested plastic for their packaging of other products.

SunGrown Packaging uses a tab-locking cardboard system, similar to what our customers may see in our PAX cartridge packaging.

A company called ReStalk recycles and repurposes organic cannabis waste into paper.

Additionally, aluminum is significantly more recyclable than plastic; 75% of all the aluminum ever made is still in circulation. As a result, some cannabis companies are moving towards aluminum packaging as a replacement for plastic.

The bottom line is this: the laws that govern the packaging of cannabis increase the need for plastic use and, consequently, increase our plastic waste as a company and your plastic waste as a customer. The packaging laws surrounding cannabis are significantly more complex than the laws governing alcohol packaging, and they contribute significantly to the sheer amount of plastic use in the cannabis industry.

As a company, Substance has made strides toward reducing our carbon footprint. We avoid the use of pop-top containers for cannabis flower because they are made with petro-chemicals and, due to being big and bulky, are difficult to ship and store. The mylar bags that we use for our grab-and-go flower packing are, in many ways, the least bad option available to us under the current OLCC regulations.

The exit bags that we are legally required to include with any non-child resistant products are reusable and made from recycled materials using wind power. Please reuse them. Keep one in the glovebox of your car or in a pocket of your backpack, bring it back when you come back to Substance for your next purchase (they also make great bags for marinating meat, so I’m told).

Per Substance owner Jeremy Kwit, “While we have researched and discovered options for recycled content and biodegradable flower packaging, it is not air-tight nor available in small containers for single grams. Unfortunately, the environmental impact of cannabis packaging has a lot to do with well-intentioned but misguided policy. Most children can operate scissors, and parents can leave open their packages. The best results for child resistance is good parenting, not cumbersome packaging. Open and honest communication, relationships built on trust and boundaries, will do much more to keep kids away from cannabis (and all drugs).”

Now that you know what we’re doing as a company, what can you do as a consumer?

  • Try to purchase products that come packaged in glass, hemp plastics, paper, or recycled plastics

  • Make sure you bring your exit bag

  • Stay vocal and speak up; demand environmental accountability from your favorite cannabis brands

  • Lobby for change in current OLCC policies

Resources:

“Plastic Pollution Facts: PlasticOceans.org/the-Facts.” Plastic Oceans International, 4 Feb. 2021, plasticoceans.org/the-facts/

“Reducing the Cannabis Industry’s Plastic Problem.” Cannabis Tech, www.cannabistech.com/articles/reducing-the-cannabis-industrys-plastic-problem/.

Schlanger, Zoë. “An Environmental Expert’s Strategy for Unwrapping Our Plastic Recycling Crisis.” Quartz, Quartz, qz.com/1740516/the-worlds-recycling-crisis-is-wrapped-in-plastic/.

Incarceration & Cannabis : A Closer Look

by Kit Ryn Foreman

The United States leads the world in cannabis-related incarceration, with an estimated 40,000 people behind bars. The federal government has stepped back and allowed states to legalize or decriminalize cannabis. Arrest numbers have fallen drastically in legalized states. Numbers have also fallen (if more modestly) in decriminalized states. However, arrests are still occurring in legalized and decriminalized states. These numbers continue to reveal a significant racial disparity, as the ACLU says in their research report:

“Marijuana legalization should be — and indeed is — a racial justice issue. But thus far, racial justice has largely been a peripheral or incidental goal of legalization, resulting in continued racist enforcement of marijuana laws, the exclusion of people of color from participating in, leading, and building wealth from the marijuana industry, and the failure to repair the harms done to communities of color by the drug war.”

In the nine years between 2001 and 2010, there were 8.2 million cannabis-related arrests in the United States; according to the ACLU, 88% of these arrests were for possession of cannabis. Black people were 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than white people.

Between 2010 and 2018, there were over six million cannabis-related arrests. These arrests were more likely to involve a Black person. The ACLU states in their research report, that “Black people are still more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people in every state, including those that have legalized marijuana.” Nine out of every ten arrests, according to the report, were related to possession of cannabis.

The battle doesn’t end when someone’s sentence has been served to completion. According to Richard Bronson, founder of 70 Million Jobs (a staffing agency serving formerly incarcerated people): 70 million US residents have extreme difficulty finding employment due to previous incarceration and people of color bear the brunt.

Currently, eleven states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational cannabis. Fifteen states have reduced legal consequences for cannabis-related activity. The state-by-state solution becomes complicated when viewing cannabis through a medical lens. People who rely heavily on cannabis to treat a variety of symptoms (from PTSD to chronic pain) cannot bring their medicine with them when they fly because it remains federally illegal. They also cannot bring cannabis across state lines without breaking federal law. They must purchase new cannabis products when they arrive (if they travel to a legal state) or go without entirely.

Substance is proud to be a founding member of the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association (ORCA) — ORCA’s mission is to “represent and advocate for the unique needs of cannabis businesses and consumers in our region.” In 2020, Substance joined the ORCA Board of Directors in order to have a bigger hand in their strategic focus and legislative priorities and helped create ORCA’s Comittee for Social Equity & Racial Justice, to build political and economic power for communities of color.

Substance is also currently contributing to fundraising efforts to establish scholarships for BIPOC individuals working towards a career in cannabis. These scholarships cover the costs of cannabis worker permits and support ongoing professional development. Additionally, Substance has recently joined an advocacy group called the Cannabis Workers Coalition. The CWC is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization that actively lobbies for policy change and is heavily focused on community, advocacy, and education.

Substance is dedicated to using our agency and power to represent under-served, criminalized, and stigmatized populations. We remain dedicated, as ever, to helping to establish cannabis policies that are, in the ACLU’s words, “equitable, smart, [and] reparative.”

Cannabis Consumption Methods

A Brief Guide to Edibles

As of June 2, edibles can be purchased in Oregon’s recreational marijuana market. Here at Substance, we decided it was high time to put out our own guide for this brand of cannabis consumption. Whether you are a first-time user or a veteran looking for a refresher, we hope you find this guide useful.

Dosage

The new regulations allow for Oregonians over the age of 21 to purchase “one low-dose cannabinoid edible” a day. Low-dose here is defined as 15 mg of THC or less. Why so low? The answer is that edibles tend to have much stronger, longer lasting effects than smoking.

Your smoking tolerance may also be higher than your edible tolerance; it’s hard to know beforehand. Furthermore, once you have put the cannabis into your system, all you can do is wait for the effects to wear off. While not toxic for your body, consuming too much THC can be very unpleasant.

This is why first-time consumers are encouraged to start small and work their way up. Colorado has even initiated a ‘First Time 5’ campaign, encouraging those new to edibles to begin with just 5 mg of THC per serving.

Delivery System

Edibles have a stronger effect than smoking because of the way the THC enters your system. Once metabolized by the liver, the THC becomes more potent and bypasses the blood-brain barrier more quickly. This means that while edibles hit harder for longer, they also take longer to set in. On average, you can expect anywhere between 15 and 90 minutes to begin feeling the effects. Peak effects may not arrive for up to 2 hours, and can last for several more.

The THC in an edible is absorbed into the bloodstream one of two ways: sublingually or gastrointestinally. Those absorbed sublingually, or “under the tongue”, set in much faster, as they enter the bloodstream directly through tissues in the mouth. Sublingual edibles include tinctures, suckers, lozenges, and hard candy.

Gastrointestinal methods tend to take longer, as they must enter the intestinal tract before you feel the effects. Expect a longer turnaround time for brownies, cookies, baked goods, savory snacks, and drinks.

Ultimately, everyone is affected by edibles differently. So start low, go slow, and play it safe until you find what works for you.

Chem Dawg Strain

New Products Available for Oregon Recreational Marijuana Market

As of June 2, adult cannabis users in Oregon have legal access to a whole new range of items. Adults over the age of 21 will now be able to purchase edibles and extracts, in addition to flower. More specifically, adult users can now buy:

  • One low-dose edible a day (15 mg of THC or less)
  • Topicals (therapeutic, non-psychoactive cannabis products applied to the skin) with a THC content under 6 percent
  • One extract with less than 1,000 mg of THC

As for flower, you will still be able to purchase up to a quarter ounce of bud per day. Adult users can purchase up to 4 clones through December 31, 2016.

Shifting Regulations

Oregon’s recreational marijuana market opened last year, allowing dispensaries to sell limited cannabis products to adult users. Since October 1, 2015, dispensaries licensed by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) have been able to sell up to a quarter ounce of bud a day and four clones to all 21+ consumers.

The new regulations allow these same adults to have access to the full range of cannabis products, albeit in limited quantities and dosage levels. All adult use cannabis products sold at medical dispensaries are subject to a 25% sales tax.

Shifting Regulators

Oregon’s recreational marijuana market as a whole, however, is still in its experimental stages. Adult cannabis sales at medical marijuana dispensaries are part of a trial period in which the OHA remains the primary regulator. After December 31, 2016, however, purely recreational stores are expected to open, licensed and regulated by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).

Sales taxes on cannabis products at OLCC stores will range between 17 and 20 percent. While these recreational stores will have all the same products as medical dispensaries, dosage levels are likely to be limited, and are being determined in coordination with the OHA. The OHA and OLCC will likely be looking closely at the June 2 changes when making their final decision.