Portland cannabis business are happy to have 2017 behind them. It was a year of costly changes and a rapid transition into operations that, for the first time, had to worry about things like commercial kitchens and building occupancy.
2018 will be the real baseline, the first year when businesses can actually just go about as recreational shops, producers or distributors, without preparing for drastic legislative changes every three months. And now there's enough stability for ancillary ideas to come to fruition, like the mysterious Green Space Lounge on Southeast 9th and Division, a "premier working, meeting and socializing space for the cannabis enthusiasts." Owner Eric Logan was unavailable for comment, but the space's Instagram alludes to an exclusive networking lounge, with annual membership fees of $7,000.
Though there is always uncertainty—Trump hasn't moved on cannabis, but could—it seems 2018 will be a smoother time for businesses to experiment and grow. Here are a few more reasons to be excited for this year in cannabis.
Phylos Bioscience Establishes an Official Certification Program
Maybe your grower has a legit cut of Dark Star, or maybe it's an estranged stepchild of Haze and Acapulco Gold. Finally, in 2018 you'll be able to know for sure.
Phylos Bioscience has been organizing a genetic history of cannabis for the last three years. After developing the foundation to their revolutionary strain Galaxy, the Phylos crew has launched a streamlined certification for growers who have their strains analyzed and added to the first-ever comprehensive map of cannabis genetics.
Phylos certification would put your strain in their galaxy, preventing future patenting of your plants and strengthening the world's only genetic database for cannabis, providing growers with a genotype report showing closest genetic relatives, line stability, population profile and more.
"It's a transparency tool," explains Carolyn White, marketing manager at Phylos. "Everyone that genotypes their plants has access to unique fingerprint seals that have unique IDs that indicate the exact location on the Galaxy. Before the seals, there was no easy way for growers to share their data."
Buds Without Borders: Uniting the West Coast in the Face of Natural Disasters
We read about Napa Valley and horse ranches catching fire, but news coverage didn't mention the devastation to the newborn recreational cannabis farms growing in the path of the wildfires.
"I have friends that lost everything, friends of friends who have lost everything," says Meghan Walstatter, co-owner of the recreational dispensary, Pure Green.
Then she learned that because Californian growers aren't allowed crop insurance, they will have to pay tax bills on crops that burned to ash. Walstatter knew it was time to lend a hand, and reached out to the Cal Growers Association. With help from colleagues at Maya Media, Walstatter launched Buds Without Borders, a campaign to raise funds for those struggling to recover from the California fires.
Donations go to the Cal Growers Association's Wildfire Recovery Fund, available only to those who are licensed or in the application process of licensing and experienced severe-to-total damage. Phylos has agreed to match up to $8,000, so there's a goal of at least $16,000 total.
"It's an arbitrary line between California and Oregon when it comes to cannabis," Walstatter says. "We're a big family of cultivators, and with everything else going on, I am just sick of waking up and feeling powerless."
A Bigger, Brighter Cultivation Classic on May 12
Portland still hosts the world's only serious competition for cannabis produced without mineral salts or synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.
The event, organized by Willamette Week, has a new partnership with Habu Health that will refine and more efficiently compare subjective feedback from 75-plus judges, breaking down the "overall effect" rating into elements like body, cognition and mood. Outstanding terpene profiles will be a new award in the lineup this year, possibly the first of its kind at a cannabis cup.
"We are the most scientifically rigorous cannabis competition on the planet," says Steph Barnhart, director of the Cult Classic. "I take that claim very seriously. I dream of a world where winning the Cultivation Classic 'distinguished terpene profile' is more exciting to consumers who walk into a dispensary than the bud with 25% THC. We're trying to push the conversation there."
The window is open for growers to enter the competition, just note the deadline for submissions is February 16. You can find more info at