Crop-tober Is Upon Us

Its that wonderful time of year again my weed smoking compadres. Crop-tober is finally here. All the beautiful sun grown marijuana is almost finished ripening to its optimal potency. Patience guys, it’s almost ready to hit our stash jars.

Lets dive into this a little bit and think about the impact the outdoor October harvest has on us.

Realistically, the raw bud harvested in October probably wont be ready for packaging or further processing until around thanksgiving or even a little bit after. So we gotta keep in mind it takes a little while to see the impacts trickle down from our crop-tober season.

What I’m getting at here people is we should see a lot more weed be available from producers and processors here in the next month or so, and you know what that means… drumrolll… cheaper prices to the masses!

Right now the price of an ounce of weed in our store is ranging from $50 all the way up to $315 for some top shelf. I don’t see the price dropping any lower than $50/ounce any time soon and like, lets get real, that’s already too low. What we will see is the quality get a lot better at those lower price points.

Bargain shoppers be warned! We are going to start reaping the benefits of crop-tober sooner than later, so stay vigilant people.

Michael Winslow, “The Man of 10,000 Sound Effects” @ House Of Cannabis on Sunday, 10/20/2019

Michael Winslow is coming to Tacoma! Appearing Sunday, between 5PM and 6PM at House of Cannabis – Tacoma for a Meet and Greet. Come meet “The Man of 10,000 Sound Effects” and experience his stunning gift in person, in an intimate environment. After the meet and greet, 30+ lucky fans will board a party bus with Michael to enjoy an elevated tour of evening-time Tacoma with hilarity and hijinx certain to ensue over the next 60-90 minutes.

Michael Winslow is bringing his multiple talents to House of Cannabis

In order to be entered to join the VIP bus, you can do one of two things (no purchase is necessary… You must be 21 years old.

1) you can share the Facebook Event to your own Facebook page (it needs to be a public share so we can see it and put your name in) OR…..

2) Come in to the store and write down your first name and phone #, and put it in the envelope for the drawing. That happens at 5PM on Saturday, and we’ll be reaching out via phone immediately thereafter to notify folks.

Spaceballs

Closer Look, Flavored Vape Ban

So it happened, flavored vape carts are gone. We can all pour a little e-cig juice out in remembrance for what we once had…

I mean, I think pouring out e-cig juice into the trash is probably the best thing you can do with that stuff in the first place, but that’s just my personal opinion.

Back to marijuana vape carts… Our state has drafted legislation on the banning of flavored cartridges. What defines a flavored vape cart you may ask?

Our state Board of Health and Liquor and Cannabis board is in the process of figuring that out. They are trying to lock down what it means to define the word flavor.

According to WAC 246-80-010 they isolate the two words “characterizing flavor” and try to define what that means.”Characterizing flavor” means a distinguishable taste or aroma, or both, other than the taste or aroma of tobacco or marijuana or a taste or aroma derived from compounds or derivatives such as terpenes or terpenoids derived directly and solely from marijuana, as defined in RCW 69.50.101(y), or hemp plants that have been grown and tested as required by state law, imparted by a vapor product. Characterizing flavors include, but are not limited to, tastes or aromas relating to any fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, menthol, mint, wintergreen, herb, or spice. A vapor product does not have a characterizing flavor solely because of the use of additives or flavorings or the provision of ingredient information. It is the presence of a distinguishable taste or aroma, or both, that constitutes a characterizing flavor.

So again we have this definition that I literally copy and pasted from the LCB website, but what does that actually translate to when considering product on our wall? Let us dive deeper.

On Thursday, October 10, it was my coworker’s and my task to take all the flavored vape carts and store them in quarantine, because ya know Governor’s orders.

So were sitting here taking down all our fruity and minty and basically any non-marijuana strain named cartridges out of our inventory. I cant help but notice that it just so happens all of the vape carts that we are ordered to take down are distillate vape carts. Excuse me, flavored distillate vape carts.

I would say that a large majority of the vape cart company’s in the i-502 market happen to be using the distillate extraction method. Many distillate cartridges claim to be strain specific when they are sourcing their terpenes from the same natural terpene vendors that the flavored distillate company’s were.

These distillate vape cart company’s use mixes of different natural terpenes to produce a similar taste and smell as a specific cannabis strain would. WITHOUT BEING CANNABIS DERIVED. We are allowed to continue selling these “strain specific” distillate vape carts despite them being made the exact same way and sourced the exact same way as flavored distillates. Which to me seems like some bullshit.

Lets look at this definition one more time… “Characterizing flavor” means a distinguishable taste or aroma, or both, other than the taste or aroma of tobacco or marijuana or a taste or aroma derived from compounds or derivatives such as terpenes or terpenoids derived directly and solely from marijuana.

To me, it seems like a ruling to allow a strain specific distillate vape cart that is derived in the exact same process in which our now banned flavored distillate vape carts is a complete oxymoron ruling from our governor.

I guess we’ll just chalk this ruling up to that’s what you get when the entity’s who regulate an industry don’t know nearly as much about it as the people who have to follow the rules.

Here’s one more look at a little graph I pulled off the LCB’s FAQ page:

Not-Allowed and Allowed Under Emergency Rule
Per the State Board of Health’s emergency rule amending 246-60 WAC and the definition of “characterizing flavor” contained therein:

Not AllowedAllowed
Synthetic terpenes and terpenoids or other synthetic flavoring compoundsTerpenes and terpenoid derived directly and solely from marijuana, as defined in RCW 69.50.101(y) , or hemp plants that have been grown and tested as required by state law
Botanically-derived terpenes, terpenoids or other botanically-derived flavoring compounds, except if directly derived and solely from marijuana plants tagged within the I-502 system or hemp plants 
Any other compounds that impart a “characterizing flavor” that is not specifically excluded   

So once again naturally derived terpenes that are found in our strain specific distillate vape carts are allowed to be sold but our almost identically made flavored distillate vape carts are banned.

If you want my real pro-tip, do yourself a favor and don’t buy distillate vape carts, they’re all garbage disguised as recycling.

We now process credit and debit cards, and ATM surcharges have been SLASHED!

Great news, friends!

We can now accept debit and credit cards through an LCB approved processor, with a super low $1 charge. We’ve also dropped our ATM fees to just $0.50 per withdrawal!

Now you don’t have to be nickel-ed and dime-d to death by fees from both the weed store, and an out of network debit transaction. Some stories we have heard from customers are hair raising, including up to $8.50 in additional fees to the list price of the packages purchased.

Part of the reason we had not be able to bring card services to you to this point was the cost prohibitive fee that ALL the other weed stores charge you when you purchase. Rather than sharing the load, they pass along all those fees to you to maximize their profit.

house of cannabis logo with a link to online ordering

At House of Cannabis, we think a little differently about things because we are in this for the long game as the little hometown chain that could. From our roots in Medical Cannabis at places like Tacoma Holistic Collective, Cannatonics Society, and Rainier Xpress (Olympia), to the House of Cannabis chain in Washington State legal weed (Tacoma, Tonasket, and Carlton), we are FROM Tacoma. #LocallyOwned and #VeteranOwned, we care about you. We care about our city.

Q&A With NPR

NPR called our shop last week! It was freaking cool. What the hell does NPR want with our homegrown little Tacoma House of Cannabis shop you say? Freaking Vape carts.

In the last week Governor Inslee announced an Executive Order to ban all flavored vaping products. The reality of that impact for marijuana businesses is still to be decided. On October 9th the Board of Health will draft legislation that if approved would ban flavored cartridges, require much more descript ingredient lists on labels, and other forms of potentially tightened regulations.

Back to earlier… When the NPR reporter called the shop, I gave my usual “Welcome to Good Burger, Home of the Good Burger, blah blah blah this is Kyle,” to which he replied, “Budtender Kyle! from the Blog? This is so and so from NPR…” I was a little stoned and thrown off at first, but then flattered that he had referenced our lowly little blog. I quickly put him on hold and handed the cordless to the boss. He was calling of course of the recent executive order from Governor Inslee.

So yea, the boss’ had a sit down with an NPR reporter. Fans of Tacoma House of Cannabis be on the look out for the article, we’ll even try to put a link to it on here, as long as they don’t say anything bad of course.

My boss gave me access to the talking points that they went over in their interview, so I decided to have a little fun and have my own Official unofficial Q&A with NPR.

So, in the universe where NPR reporters interview bloggers/budtenders for their opinion on groundbreaking topics, I imagine the conversation went a little something like this…

Q: What are you hearing from your customers about this? are you hearing anything?  

A: Most of our vape cart consumers either don’t know about the concerns in the media lately, or maybe they just don’t care. Three weeks ago when I first heard of vaping related scares in Oregon in the news maybe one or two consumers in a weeks worth of shifts asked me what I thought about the issues. In the last week, I’ve had maybe 10 consumers have concerns on the issue.

Q: How do you go about evaluating these vaping products as retailers?

A: Man you should probably freaking talk to my boss, but as a consumer I’ve always felt weird about vaping or smoking artificial flavored anything, if you ask me it should taste like what it is, not strawberries, or blueberries, or anything that isn’t cannabis derived.

Q: Has there been any noticeable impact on your business?

A: Not my business bro, I’m just the meter maid. What I do know is distillate vape carts make up 50% of the inventory of our vape cart selection, the flavored distillates being probably a quarter of the total section. If the state bans flavored distillates outright, certain processing companies will have to drastically change their business models or cease to exist.

Q: What would you like to see the state do or not do?

A: I think that on October 9th when the state’s Board of Health meets, they are going to continue the ban on all flavored vape carts and impose more regulation on the vape carts that they deem safe. Until then processors and retailers will continue to sell and buy all the flavored vape carts they can. Doesn’t really affect me to much, besides maybe having a few extra disappointed stoners to break the news too. So that sucks.

Q: Do you believe there needs to be more regulation/testing of these vaping products?

A: Honestly man I don’t think there is anything wrong with the vape cart products that we currently sell in the i-502 market. I also however do not have a problem with a bunch of white coats further regulating what is allowed into this industry, as long as where talking the science-y stuff like vape carts.

UPDATE FROM MANAGEMENT:

KNKX, a local NPR affiliate, filed their story, at this link. You can hear an audio version just below this text.

Loup Loup Ski Area and Sitzmark – under celebrated and not crowded.

Ski or snowboard, it doesn’t matter — the season is right around the corner, and Cliff Mass thinks we are going to have a wet and wild winter! Avid borders are getting their Subarus, VWs, and Audis up for multiple trips up the mountain. If you don’t have your own gear, and helicopter, getting to some of the more desirable, dangerous, and exhilarating spots is difficult; go to the touristy, more expensive spots is an arduous journey in crowds, high costs, and long lines at the lifts can really put a damper on the spirit. If only someone put out a guide of a couple awesome spots with no lines and awesome runs, where to stay on the cheap, where to eat, and of course – where to grab some pot.

The Seattle metro area has a habit of going to three places to ski – Crystal Mountain, Snoqualmie Summit, and Mount Baker Ski Area where the prices are steep, and the lift lines can be daunting on those perfect days on the weekend. So, one might wonder how to get a fulfilling and reasonably priced ski adventure in without heading to California, Montana, Colorado, or Wyoming. House of Cannabis has you covered in so many ways. For those of you in our loyal, loving Tacoma crowd, you may never have been to our ‘East of the mountains’ stores. Both are wonderful, fabulous cannabis stores in small towns buoyed by the recreational atmosphere of Okanogan County. There are also at opposite sides of the county, so the landscape and to do list can be varied and wide. For the price of a day at Crystal, Summit, or Baker, you can stay and ski the weekend in Okanogan County. I shall elaborate.

The second store we opened has become House of Cannabis – Twisp, in the Methow Valley. It is the closest store to Lake Chelan, and it is right on the Loup Loup Hwy 20 / Hwy 2 Scenic byway.  Twisp offers several affordable, clean places to stay, including the Sportsman Motel ($, Rustic, Clean), Idle-a-While Motel ($, Cute, Quaint, Private), Twisp Terrace Lodge ($$, Modern, away from town), Twisp River Suites ($$$, Modern, walk the town), and even the uber ritzy Sun Mountain Lodge ($$$$, in Winthrop 8 miles North, mountain bike / horseback / cross country ski paradise). There are many other options as well that a simple google search will reveal – Abby Creek Inn, Mt Gardner Inn, and these AirBNBs. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SKIING??

From the “Double Z” ski run at Loup Loup Ski Area

Loup Loup. Yeah, it’s a funny name, but it’s what it has. About 10 miles east from Twisp on Highway 20 is the summit of Loup Loup pass. A couple hundred yards after the summit is the turn to the left of the Loup Loup Ski Bowl, which is well marked. The road is well maintained, oft plowed, but you should have an AWD vehicle and/or chains or the appropriate fitting for your vehicle just in case conditions change while on the mountain. Two different lifts and a tow rope introduce you to varying levels of slopes available for your shredding desires. 1,240 vertical feet of skiing starting at the summit at 5,260 feet awaits you, with little to no lift line, and the highest single day pass starting at $55 each. Ski rentals are available in the towns of Winthrop, Twisp, and at the base of the Loup Loup ski bowl, so if you don’t have your own equipment, that’s ok!

Loup Loup Ski Area Trail Map

The ski bowl has several long, enjoyable beginner and intermediate slopes, and many short and medium run expert slopes, with a skill level and ability to work on form with a variety of hill challenges. Loup Loup also has a tubing hill, and 23km of groomed cross country skiing available. Of course, House of Cannabis is there for you, just down in the town of Twisp, for all your cannabis needs during your stay. Check out the pics below for a current view of the mountain from their webcam, the ski map, and a pic of our fabulous store in Twisp. Continue past the pictures to read up on the Sitzmark ski area near House of Cannabis, in Tonasket.

Just 35 miles past Twisp, to the east, is our 3rd store, House of Cannabis – Tonasket. Aside from being an absolute gem inside its’ central location in the town, the interior is amazingly crafted through the vision of our partnership. Like Twisp, there are several great places to stay like the Red Apple Inn ($), Omak Inn ($$), The Junction ($), and many AirBNB and small resort style stays.

A topigraphic trail map of the Sitzmark ski area
Sitzmark trail map

As for the hill, Sitzmark is ideal for families, or those just learning to ski. Base elevation is just over 4300 feet, and the summit is 4950 feet. Sitzmark has two lifts (one of them is decidedly the main, and most trafficked lift) serving the mountain. One of the things I really like about Sitzmark is positioning of the runs, relative to the main lift. The three expert runs are immediately under and to the sides of the main left, while beginners and intermediates after unloading from the chair will ski to the left quite a bit before beginning their runs. Expert skiers can expect to make frequent runs during a day, maximizing on slope time because of quick access at the top to the black diamond slopes, and at the bottom to the queue for the lift. Beginners and Intermediates will enjoy the long runs back to the base down a variety of green or blue rated slopes. Lift rates are a bit more value driven at Sitzmark, compared to Loup Loup, with the basic adult pass clocking in at $45 for a full day pass.

After your day on the hill is done, there are lots of dining options in the Twisp/Winthrop area until about 8-9pm on weekdays, and as late as 11pm on weekends. In Tonasket, there are several options but the town closes down a bit earlier, but for the night owls, Omak is 20 miles to the south, and features great dining into the night, and also has 12 Tribes Casino on the south side of town.

For more information, you can always check out their websites:

Loup Loup Ski Area

Sitzmark Ski Area (not mobile friendly, really… not the worst, either.)

Online ordering - Click this image
Click here for online ordering!
Ski The Loup • Mountain Webcam view from the Top (NOTE: If this view is missing, camera is temporarily offline.)

The current view from the top of Loup Loup

Puffco Peak vs Vuber Electronic Dabbers

The evolution of the electronic dabber has leaps and bounds in the last few years. I remember my first load your own dab pen, The Game’s Jesus Piece G-Pen. I used to rock that thing with the lanyard like it was going out of style. I bought it secondhand off one of my buddies, man, I got at least a good couple of months out of that thing before it crapped out on me. Keeping in mind the tech of those old school electric dabbers, I chalked it up as not a total loss.

Didn’t I say these electronic dabbers have made some serious leaps and strides in the last few years? The Puffco Peak and Vuber portable dabber are testament to that statement.

We are currently carrying both in stock at Tacoma House of Cannabis.

The Puffco Peak being the crème de la crème.

First time I hit one of these puppies I was in one of our vendor’s hot box on wheels. We were smoking on some strain that I can’t remember, taking fatty globs out of a big jar of what we’ll call one legal limit of dabs.

The strategy we were using that day was to put roughly a half g of our finest into the ceramic bowl, set the Puffco to sesh-mode, and pass that beautiful piece of electronic dabware around until we were righteously baked.

Pros to the Puffco:

  • 20 second heat up time.
  • 4 different heat settings that will keep the bowl/banger at the perfectly desired temp throughout the whole dab with the LED light display/ haptic feedback.
  • Sesh-mode makes dabbing with the Puffco comparable to dabbing with a hardwired e-nail at home.
  • Fully charges after 2 hours of charge time, and that charge lasts around 30 dabs.
  • Silicone wrapped base, keeps glass protected at all times.
  • Awesome carrying case with all the essential tools included.

Cons to the Puffco:

  • One-year protection plan.
  • $420

The Vuber portable dabber is no Puffco Peak, but ill tell you what, it has treated me very well in the past and it doesn’t break the bank for that portable dabbing experience.

My buddy used to whip around with his Vuber portable Dabber perfectly tucked between his Ford Ranger’s captain chair and the center console. That truck had the most perfect stash spot, you’d swear it was tailored to fit that portable dabber. We put some serious miles on that thing whenever we were out and about playing billiards.

The one thing I remember about the Vuber is having to heat it up two separate times to get that nice stable temperature, good enough for a nice fatty dab.

Similar capabilities as the Puffco Peak, but im not gonna lie, not nearly as dope of an all around experience.

Pros to the Vuber portable dabber:

  • $120
  • Lifetime Warranty, either handled on your own or by us in store.
  • 3 different nails/bowls; titanium, ceramic, and quartz.
  • Awesome carrying case with all the essential tools included.
  • Fully charges after 2 hours of charge time

Cons to the Vuber portable dabber:

  • 35-45 second heat time.
  • 2 different heat settings that keep heat for up to 25 seconds.
  • Estimated battery life of 16 dabs. (sometimes it takes two heat cycles to get 1 big dab)