In the still-evolving world of cannabis in Oregon, people with businesses have to stay up on legislation.
Mackenzie Maier, 29, owner of Miss Mack’s Medibles out of Salem, is a mother of two. Her son has grown up around cannabis like many kids grow up around alcohol; it’s OK for adults, she says to him, but not for kids.
While the 11-year-old has seen the changing attitudes on cannabis in Oregon (through a child’s eyes), Maier is more confident her 2-year-old daughter will grow up not knowing anything different from cannabis being perfectly legal.
Saturday, people crowded around Miss Mack’s table at The Hemp & Cannabis Fair, also known as THC Fair, to check out the edibles she makes in an Oregon Department of Agriculture-certified kitchen. Dozens of booths were set up inside the Deschutes County Fair & Expo center, where hundreds of people were in attendance.
To get around the sometimes confusing and quickly changing laws, Maier played it safe Saturday by selling T-shirts and stickers. As of last week, edibles are legal for recreational use, but regulations are still being worked out for sale. Miss Mack’s edibles came as a “free gift” with those items.
Maier’s edibles include “krispy treats,” cookies, taffies and peanut butter cups in a variety of flavors. In clear clamshells like any other bakery treat, the treats have oils baked in. Some of her products have THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis that induces a high, while others have only the compound cannabidiol, or CBD, believed by some people to help in treating cancer and other ailments.
At the more than 20 dispensaries where her treats are sold, each package goes for $15.
Maier recommends one-tenth of a treat as a “serving size,” at least to start.
“It definitely depends on your tolerance,” Maier said, adding that people should consider why they are eating the treat, whether it’s to help them sleep, to relieve pain or to get stoned.
Her motto with edibles: “Start low, go slow and then you’re gonna know.”
Like any small business, starting Miss Mack’s Medibles has taken a lot of work. On Saturday, her boyfriend, Donovan Spidell, 28, of Salem, helped at her booth while her mom, Kathleen Walker, stayed with her children in Salem.
“You have to have good support,” Maier said. “I do try to stay involved in the politics, know what’s going on.”
Just as Maier offered edibles as “a free gift,” Ben Garbellano, store manager of Portland Hydroponics and Organics, said that his business also used to have to “play the game” before cannabis was legalised for recreational use in Oregon in July.
“It used to be, ‘Oh, you want to grow big tomatoes?’” Garbellano said. The store provides growing materials that include essentially everything but the weed itself: dirt, containers, lighting components and even lab equipment for medicinal use.
Reid Rodgers, owner of Portland Hydroponics and Organics, said there has been a bit of a steady increase in customers since legalisation. Oregon law allows a person 21 or older to use weed recreationally and grow up to four plants per residence.
Chris Hardy, 42, of Eugene, decided to drive over to check out the event. He moved from South Carolina a year ago, so it’s been interesting, he said, to arrive during the state’s legalisation process.
Hardy said he smokes, but “not very often.”
Another attendee, Brian Pagan, 39, of Westfir, is a medical cannabis provider. He said he sometimes comes to events like these to seek out CBD oils, which he said can help soothe pain.
Kevin Simmons, founder of Coboo Creations, which offers pipes and bongs, said this is his fourth THC fair. He’s based out of Livermore, California, but has been traveling over the past year to events out of state to find the best markets for his products.
He took his business to full time three years ago, but he’s been making and selling the pieces for 10 years. It all started when he was living in the Virgin Islands and saw bongs made out of coconuts.
“This is what the Rastafarians use,” Simmons said, placing a hand on the $120 bong, made from a coconut shell and bamboo, with beeswax on the inside for coating. Some of the pipes he makes he throws on his own pottery wheel; the bowls in the pipes (where a user packs in the weed) are 22-karat gold.
“Before 10 years ago I had never done a craft in my life,” Simmons, 46, said. He laughed, adding the woman he learned how to make ceramics from probably thought he’d go on to make plates and mugs.
As customers approached, impressed by his unusual products, Simmons started chatting with them.
“You ever smoke out of a coconut before?” he said. “They found a coconut bong in the pyramids.”