Lindsey Pate, the current president of the Cascades Cannabis Association, realized years ago that major changes had to be made within the local cannabis industry. The co-owner of a cannabis farm right outside of Terrebonne, Pate was extremely active in political advocacy for cannabis growers and distributors before joining the association.
- Cayla Clark
"It was and is very important to me that there are fair and workable regulations in place," she said during an interview with the Source. "I definitely started out as an advocate. One thing led to another, and although I wasn't a founding member of the association, I became the first non-founding board member to join."
Pate explained the role of the association, and the board members' dedication to bolstering the community's love of cannabis while facilitating education and discussion. "We try to balance educational events with events that are simply just for fun. Fun is really what the industry lacks right now. Locally, there's a lack of camaraderie. We noticed that there was a severe deficit of cannabis-related events in Bend. A lot of our community events revolve around beer culture... and rightfully so, Bend loves beer. But to not have this same culture and enthusiasm for cannabis, it's really a shame for the community. We're focused on collaboration, celebration and education."
By our count, Bend has at least 24 dispensaries in Bend, meaning we have roughly the same number of breweries and dispensaries (22 breweries in Bend, by our last count). The Cascade Cannabis Association was founded two years ago, intending to "unify and give voice to the legal cannabis community and shine a light on the positive impact this industry is having on Central Oregon," as its mission statement reads.
"While education is important, so is celebrating those in the industry and their hard work. This is why we developed the Croptober Celebration. It's an awesome event with free beer, raffles, giveaways... we wanted to make the industry accessible to everyone; do what we could to enhance the social aspects of the industry while eliminating some of the competitiveness," Pate said. With so many local dispensaries in operation and more waiting for approval to open, the competition makes sense. Since recreational sales became legal in 2015, Oregon's marijuana surplus has been widely reported. But rather than fight for the best flower in town, Pate hopes to see cannabis growers and dispensary owners working together in celebrating the multi-functional crop.
- Cayla Clark
Highly Enlightened Discussions
Starting a discussion can be an effective way to circulate information and promote cohesion. For CCA, fostering conversation comes in the form of its Highly Enlightened Discussions.
"Highly Enlightened Discussions offer professionals or people interested in the industry the opportunity to learn from other professionals and industry leaders," Pate said, referencing the bi-annual community conversations held at McMenamins Old St. Francis School.
"Our first discussion took place in 2018, and it focused more on the medical components of the industry. In 2019 we focused on the bioengineering of cannabis. We had geneticists and other super smart people on the panel. Our goal is to make the discussion accessible and open, with a more informational panel towards the end. We incorporate about an hour to an hour and a half of networking." Pate explained that bringing in a host of professionals, such as lawyers, physicians and public relations specialists, and breaking into small groups allows for participants to ask questions in person—which are met by genuine, tangible answers.
- Rob Henkel
"We had our third discussion in July, and again, we focused more on the medical side of things. We talked about how CBD and THC are really being used." The Highly Enlightened Discussion slated for November will focus on women in the cannabis industry. All discussions are sponsored by Juniper Analytics, a local cannabis testing lab, focused on testing flower, pre-harvest hemp, and other cannabinoid products for potency, pesticides and water content.
Because the Cascade Cannabis Association is a 501(c)(6) mutual benefit corporation, the group of enthusiasts is always looking for additional members and volunteers.
"When people get involved, it helps us out quite a bit," Pate explained. "We're all volunteers, you know. We're all working together. People are welcome to become a member or just reach out and let us know they'd like to be involved. We want to change the way the local cannabis community interacts. We want to focus on educating as many people as we can in a fun and interactive way."