Meet James Orpeza

 

James Orpeza co-owns TJ's Organic Provisions and TJ's Organic Gardens with partners Jim Murphy and Travis MacKenzie.

 

Tell us a little about your personal background.

I was born in the city of Long Beach, CA. and lived in the area until I was about 13. Luckily for me, my parents decided to move us away, because it was a violent and harsh place to live and grow up. Then we moved to Orange County for my teen years, where I met some of my lifelong friends. Around the age of 23 is when my longtime partner/girlfriend Tilly and I decided to move to Oregon for a change of pace, and Eugene seemed to suit us well. We eventually settled in Washington, where we have been for the past couple of years.

I have done a variety of jobs and worked as a document specialist, the owner of cable construction company, the manager of a statewide fire service, a professional poker player, and eventually a cannabis entrepreneur. My parents were key in instilling core values and a strong work ethic from an early age. They reminded me that I could do anything I put my mind to.

When did you first become interested in cannabis? 

I became interested in cannabis at a pretty young age, I’d say 14 or 15. It wasn’t until after a trip to Amsterdam (when I was 19) that my passion started to flourish. I’ve been educating and experimenting with growing methods and styles, tweaking my system for many years now. And I’m not stopping here. There are always advancements and I like to stay on top of the game; research and knowledge are key for me.

What do you like most about growing?

What I like most about growing is being around the “girls” (aka the plants). They keep me grounded and have an almost meditative, calming effect on me. I love the energy they give off and the atmosphere they create with the people who care for them.

Even more so, I love that this beautiful plant has so many healing properties. I feel like we are just touching the tip of the iceberg with its medical potential. I am always researching and experimenting to find ways to become better organically in my growing processes and am trying to work towards a “greener” or sustainable way of doing business. 

In your opinion, what makes Eugene special? 

The quality of people and the vast amount of liberal thinkers. Parts of the city are very community-orientated. I love its location (centrally positioned between the coast and the mountains). The music scene and local eateries are incredible. Eugene has that big small-town feel, and it’s where we chose to live for 15 years.

What’s your favorite TJ’s product? Why?

Our flowers. I enjoy the smell, the taste, the flavor; I just enjoy smoking.

What do you do in your spare time?

You can find me working when I'm not working! Joking. I spend most of my free time with my longtime partner/girlfriend Tilly, our dog Shiro, and our cat Saffy. I'm either going to Jiu-Jitsu classes, hiking/backpacking or exploring the beautiful natural areas where we live. I also enjoy disc golf, poker, snowboarding with friends, exploring the "big" city, seeing live music, relaxing at home, cooking, eating, and watching racing and sports (if I'm lucky).

What excites you most about legalization?

That the industry will finally be treated like any other sort of business. We provide goods, services and jobs.

What’s a common misconception people have about cannabis?

A common misconception people have about cannabis is that it is easy to grow high-quality plants. Yes, it is a weed and it does not take much to help it grow. But to cultivate connoisseur-quality cannabis, it takes knowledge, hard-work, experience, dedication, humility, and of course, true passion for the plant. And a natural green thumb doesn’t hurt.

Anything you’d like to add?

I really enjoy what I do, and I hope that others enjoy and benefit from it too.  

Meet Jim Murphy

 

Jim Murphy co-owns TJ's Organic Provisions and TJ's Organic Gardens with partners Travis MacKenzie and James Orpeza.

 

Tell us a little about your personal background.

I grew up in the marijuana/drug industry. It was commonplace to smoke marijuana in my home and I grew up with disdain for the industry. I was inclined to seek non-using friends. I spent four years in the military at age 19, which helped me. I bounced from meaningless job to meaningless job until I started working in the electrical industry, which I pursued with a passion for the first 10 years. Eventually it was no longer challenging, so when medical marijuana became a potential source of income I decided to get back into the industry... this time as an adult. I have never been happier. I spent a good portion of my life avoiding what ultimately made me the happiest.

What do you like most about growing?

I love the plant, the rewarding feedback from patients, and the competition, 

In your opinion, what makes Eugene special?

The acceptance of all walks of life, which makes our community very eclectic. 

What’s your favorite TJ’s product? 

MTF! It is the holy grail of the soaring high. Stupefying and energetic... the perfect Sunday morning marijuana.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like hanging out with my son Bodhi and playing video games. Currently I'm playing Destiny. Hit me up on PSN Shrapn3L-nF.

What excites you most about legalization?

The end of the weight of prohibition.

What’s a common misconception people have about cannabis?

It isn’t an all-encompassing feeling. When you consume too much alcohol you are capable of losing control. Marijuana is not that way. It's far more subtle.

Meet Travis MacKenzie

 
 

Travis MacKenzie co-owns TJ's Organic Provisions and TJ's Organic Gardens with partners Jim Murphy and James Orpeza.

Tell us a little about your personal background.

I grew up primarily in Montana, but moved to Oregon in the summer of 1986 where I finished high school and met my future wife Cham. We were married in 1990, the same year I joined the U.S. Coast Guard. After serving for four years in the Coast Guard, I moved my family back to Oregon and we finally ended up in Eugene in 1995. I was an electronics technician in the Coast Guard and have always been interested in how things work. I like to take things apart, put things together, fix things that are broken, and make new things that are useful. 

When did you first become interested in cannabis? 

I first became interested in cannabis after my wife was injured on the job in 2005 and suffered a traumatic brain injury. We quickly learned that Oregon's State Accident Insurance Fund was not interested in helping my wife recover from her injuries in a natural, healthy way. Rather, they were interested in giving her whatever toxic pharmaceuticals it took to get her awake enough to show up to work for long enough to avoid classifying her as disabled. At one point she was taking a drug cocktail that included amphetamine salts, modafinil (a drug primarily prescribed for narcolepsy), and drugs for migraine headaches. Not only did this host of prescribed medications fail to alleviate any of her symptoms, but it also noticeably reduced her liver and kidney function within weeks. It was terrifying. I thought that I had lost my wife forever. It was at this very low point in our lives, and Cham's neurologist suggested she try cannabis. After some initial reluctance, Cham agreed to let me grow for her. 

What do you like most about growing?

What I like most about growing is the feeling that I am doing the right thing—an important thing. I didn't grow up in a cannabis culture. I was never a regular user of cannabis. Now I can't imagine my life without it.

In your opinion, what makes Eugene special?

The people. Sure, geographically Eugene is great. There is a mild climate, and we're within close proximity to mountains, rivers, lakes, national forests and the Pacific Ocean. But really, the people make this place. Some of the finest craftsmen and craftswomen in the world call Eugene home, whether they make beer, yo-yos, bows, blown-glass or instruments. There is a culture of innovation and self-reliance in Eugene, and I love it.

What’s your favorite TJ’s product? 

My favorite TJ's product is our CBD tincture. It is such an important medicine, and the times that I have been the most humbled and the most grateful for having the opportunity to grow this amazing plant have been when I've seen the positive effects this extract has had on the lives of so many people.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to go camping with friends and family and spend time in the wood shop with my friend, Charlie, while making furniture. We're much better at finding and reclaiming wood at this point than we are at making furniture. Maybe if there was more free time....

What excites you most about legalization?

We can finally dispel so many of the myths surrounding this plant. The truth that this plant is good is undeniable to those of us who spend time with it. With legalization comes exposure. With exposure comes truth.

What’s a common misconception people have about cannabis?

A common misconception about cannabis among cannabis users is that high THC plants are better. There are interesting medicinal and recreational aspects of plants all across the THC potency spectrum. I don't even like to tell people the potency of any particular plant. I want people to let their bodies—not a laboratory—judge a plant. 

A common misconception about cannabis from non-cannabis users is that there aren't any medical benefits and that it's a dangerous drug (or that only drug abusers use cannabis). All of those misconceptions are so far from the truth that I don't even know what to say to people who believe that. There is so much evidence to the contrary; only through willful ignorance can anyone believe those claims. When someone is willfully ignorant, it's a choice, and you can't teach someone like that. I'm talking to you, Chris Christie.

Anything you'd like to add?

I'd like to add a word of thanks to all of those free-thinkers who have been trying to teach the masses and dispel the myths and lies about the cannabis plant for decades. Many of these people have gone to prison or died having been denied life-saving medicine by nonsensical legislation. I am living the life I want to live—a life that brings me so much satisfaction—because so many have sacrificed theirs to prison cells or graves to raise the awareness of the wonderful properties of this plant.