It’s harvest time for all the outdoor growers of marijuana in the area. It’s also a dynamic time in the evolution of the pot industry in Washington. The rules for growing medical marijuana are changing, or so they say. They, being the state of Washington. And this is the first large outdoor crop for the 502 producers, the legal recreational growers sanctioned by the state. It is about to turn the pot industry upside down.
In the area where I live, there are families who have been growing pot for generations. The black market for pot has been alive in this country since the 1940’s at least. A guy I used to work with tells of visiting the back porch of people in Louisiana before World War II, and selling them “smoke.” But for people in this state, the game has changed. The state of Washington is already collecting millions of dollars in tax money and are on the cusp of collecting a whole lot more. These “revenuers”, as the used to call them in the 1930’s, are about to put the kibash on the medical growers who just may have made a few bucks on the side, by selling their “medicine.” But don’t expect the black market on pot to go away any time soon.
I spent part of my twenties in Alaska during the pipeline days. I flew on a Hercules (C-130) as a loadmaster, flying cargo from Fairbanks to the north slope of Alaska during that time. The north slope of Alaska was full on men, few woman and a whole lot of cold and darkness. Selling booze and drugs to those guys was a profitable business for anyone who could get it to the oil camps in those days. Two states east of Washington is North Dakota, where an oil boom is going on today and a state where pot is illegal. Profit motive insures that the black market will not go away any time soon.
So the times, they are a-changing. There are so many young, motivated and passionate people getting thrown into this cement mixer of the burgeoning pot industry. There are a fortunate few who will turn this opportunity into personal fortunes. There are some passionate, some say spiritualistic few, who are enamered with the drug marijuana, who will try to be among those fortunate few. The winners in this endeavor will have to go up against some corporate and government juggernauts that are driven only by the profit/tax motives. In the end, I think that some very shrewd, well monied people will gain the most. But this is America, and there will be a Deschutes brewery or two who will prevail against the Budweisers of the world. How this fundamental change in American culture will effect us and what legacy is left behind, is the meat that I want to chew on. Marijuana is after all, a drug. It alters your thought process. It alters your personality. The things and processes that you value may be altered buy the use of the drug. Some say for the better, some say for the worse. None of this is new of course.
In the 1960’s marijuana came into wide use by the generation coming into adulthood in those days. Timothy Leary spoke about, Ken Kesey wrote about it and a legion of rock and roll stars sang about it. Bill Clinton smoked, but did not inhale it. Those baby boomers of that era are now running the county. Bob Dylan’s prophecy still rings true, “The times, they are a-changing.” But, so are the drugs. Today, the drug has been refined by growing techniques and breeding techniques. In the day, the 1960’s and 1970’s, the pot we smoked was mostly Mexican rag weed, seeds and stems included. Today, pot is a highly refined. Nowadays, only the “bud” is smoked. I’m not a scientist but I would guess the THC content is probably three or four times higher than the pot we smoked in those bygone days. And the method?
A lot of todays users smoke “dabs.” Dabs are a product made by refining the pot, reducing it to an “oil”. This oil, which is actually a pasty substance, is then dropped on a superheated bowl, atomized into smoke and inhaled via a bong device. I refer you to a youtube video called “ophichus explaining dabs.” The person in the video’s name is Brendon. He was a medical marijuana grower in this area until he died in a shootout with a sheriff’s deputy about a half a mile from where I write these words. It is believed that he was high on meth at the time. (I have found out since, this is not true) I knew Brendon well. He came to this area to pursue his dream, growing and making a living from marijuana. He is the inspiration for one of the main characters in the book I am writing. One of Hitler’s legacies, methamphetamine, may have aided in the death of Brendon, but so did marijuana. And therein lies the dilemma, the enigma that is marijuana. Brendon came to this area to find peace and grow marijuana. In the process, he found some demons that destroyed him. Another person I met that same year is now serving hard time as a result of the very same dream. A man named Britton got arrested after he chased his partner down the highway firing at him through his side window with a high powered hand gun. What was Britton doing in this area? Growing medical marijuana with that same partner he ended up shooting at. There is, or at least was, a dark side to the miracle bud, marijuana.
I have been lax, both in the writing of the book and the posting on this blog. That is changing now. From now on, I will post weekly and write diligently. I would welcome any sort of input and respond to it.