Jon R. – PNW CannaReviews
The PNWCR crew headed over to Whirled Pies (formerly Cozmic Pizza) in Eugene, Oregon for the third installment of OG Analytical’s Cannabis Science Pub educational seminars. These are provided free to the public on the last Tuesday of the month and are designed to educate the populace on cannabis issues and current events as we move forward into the great “green” beyond of legalization in Oregon.
This month’s theme was “Extractions” and that made our team very excited! We’re dabbers ourselves, and to get a ton of info on extractions made us very happy that this was the first one we were able to attend.
Unfortunately, this ended up not being what we expected….and we weren’t the only ones. I witnessed several people get up and leave with a confused look on their faces during the first presenter, and by the last one people were leaving in droves. Not only that, they lost so many of their audience that the side conversations ended up so loud the MC actually asked people to keep those conversations at a whisper……not very professional to be honest, and that just showed how well the event went!
The evening began around 6 PM with an intro by the MC to what was going on and then they moved right into a trivia segment that was engaging and educational. For correct answers, participants won items from sponsors. The sponsors for the evening were Industrial Source, Critical Source, and Oregon’s Constant Gardener, and prizes included flasks and insulated water bottles, nutrients, and other goodies. I was one of the winners during the OCG sponsored segment, so I won myself a bottle of Herculean Harvest, the bone meal from Nectar of the Gods.
I learned more from the trivia than I did from the presenters to be honest. They covered safety and pesticide issues when extracting cannabis and we were surprised to find out that synthetic fertilizers can actually lower the medicinal value of your cannabis and that compost teas can actually flag your cannabis being tested for yeast and mold.
It was unfortunate that the MC didn’t seem really comfortable up on stage and didn’t really know how to scan a crowd. Several people at my table and surrounding me were the first to have their hands up to answer, but she missed them completely and would only see people on one side of the room mainly.
Ok, moving on…..
Speaker 1 – Tim Rupple – Perkin Elmer
The first speaker for this month’s event was Tim Ripple with Perkin Elmer, a company that offers multi-vendor laboratory services, next generation sequencing, custom labeling and assay development, and clinical lab testing. His presentation was a webinar from Chicago, which for me seemed silly. A presenter we couldn’t see to judge his reactions or responses…..just seemed odd. Tim’s speech was supposedly on residual solvents…….honestly, his presentation was so filled with technical jargon and slides that were nothing more than a wall of text that he lost the entire crowd within 5 minutes.
His presentation was titled “Residual Solvents in Extractions”. There was NOTHING about extractions and solvents left behind, he spoke of solvents used for analysis! He was talking about using chloroform and methanol for extracting, both chemicals would NEVER be used for extractions for human consumption. It took the second speaker to be exceptionally clear on this, and the whole presentation was worthless.
Combine the jargon with blurry slides and even the most motivated of attendees just couldn’t follow along. Major fail here for sure!
Speaker 2 – Dr. Jeff Raber – The Werc Shop
The second speaker was Dr. Jeff Raber of The Werc Shop, a Washington based independent lab and entrepreneur incubator. His presentation was titled “Chemical Process of Extraction”. He spoke about the need for consistent naming conventions for cannabis, how about a quarter of all samples tested failed the Gold standard test for microbiological screening, and how up to 70% of pesticides found on cannabis are inhaled when combusted.
He continued on to discuss how regulation was coming, but he kinda just glossed over the subject. I would’ve like to have heard about his thoughts regarding the exact type of safety regulation he is expecting and how early adopters will be ahead of the game.
Although I was left wanting more, this was the most educational presentation of the evening.
Speaker 3 – Dr. Rodger Voelker – Lab Director – OG Analytical
The final speaker was Dr. Voelker, the lab director from our host company. The MC had just asked the crowd to try to be quiet and the line to order didn’t really get all that quiet. Dr. Voelker didn’t seem to be able to deal with it well, the noises kept distracting him and he finally focused so hard on the crowd that it almost felt like he was hurling his words at us like bricks.
His presentation was titled “Pesticides in Extracts”, and he basically ranted the entire time on the topic of the Environmental Protection Agency and how they deal with laws and regulations regarding using pesticides. He began with blaming lawyers for all regulations, as if the people aren’t the ones asking for pesticide regulation world wide. It was very off-putting. He went on to explain how the EPA develops regulations, and you could tell the crowd was confused as to why this was being covered.
At one point, I was confused as to what side of the line he stood on when it came to pesticide regulation. He seemed upset at one point that the same pesticides used on corn couldn’t be used on cannabis, and then later in his presentation he sounded fully against pesticides. I began to watch steady streams of people leave at this point. Granted it was getting close to the end, but several I talked to mentioned how they were confused and not satisfied with the info being presented.
One thing I did learn is that because cannabis is a Schedule I drug and isn’t considered a crop, ANY PESTICIDE USE is considered illegal. That’s important folks, as the OLCC begins to craft regulations regarding acceptable levels the Feds could potentially use pesticides as a means to continue to persecute farmers and grow ops.
Finally, after about 10-15 minutes, he covered extractions. Sadly, all he mentioned is that pesticides are concentrated in extractions and didn’t cover any potential harms, effects, or make his presentation pertinent to extractions at all.
Even though this article seems fairly harsh against the speakers, I want to take this time to give a very large THANK YOU to OG Analytical and all the sponsors for putting on this event. The public at large knows little about cannabis and it’s effects, uses, dangers, etc. and it’s important that companies step up to teach them. They found a venue, put together a fun opening activity with awesome sponsors, and got some speakers together to put on an event that they make nothing from other than public goodwill.
That said, I wish the theme would have been called “Pesticides” instead of “Extractions”. While they did discuss extractions, it was only when it pertained to pesticides and many times they weren’t very clear on where they stood on the topics they were presenting.
We’ll probably attend another event because we really like what OGA is doing, I just hope they are able to tighten their presentations in a bit better next time.