Monday, October 20, 2014

The State of Marijuana in Oregon

Oregon was the first state to vote in medical marijuana, in 1998.  Enough people now have medical marijuana cards that the in-state black market mostly collapsed several years ago.  One used to be able to find pot by asking any scruffy-looking kid on the street.  Not so anymore; the kids are unable to make money at it anymore without taking it out of state, and most kids are not able to do that.  

As the street market collapsed, clinics became convenience pot shops for medical users, charging black-market prices, because selling it was illegal.  For several years, we had clinics and large grows being busted for selling instate, out of state, or trading pot for trimming buds.  They were often busted because people were caught taking large quantities on the road, heading for other states or home.  In some cases, narcs bought pot at the clinics by the pound.  Thus, people realized that selling was more dangerous than giving it away, and the market was further depressed.

After recreational marijuana was passed in Colorado and Washington but voted down in Oregon, the legislature allowed medical marijuana dispensaries to be licensed.  It seems that stoners with connections to growers in Oregon were too comfortable with being able to get their weed cheap or free to go for taxes and even light regulations.  

Meanwhile, those without connections, who are new to the state or the part of the state that they were in, are shut out, as growers had plenty of people already to give it away to, and many are taking their excess out of state or to the convenience clinics and dispensaries.  Since the dispensaries are limited to medical card holders, they are still charging black market rates, just to keep the doors open, probably.

Now we have Measure 91 on the ballot, a bill apparently written by tobacco companies for their profit and for people who don’t like marijuana, but would like to take taxes from it for their schools and regulate it so tightly that the taxes can be high.  It allows a household to grow only four plants and possess only a half-pound, a pound of marijuana edibles, and up to 72 ounces of “liquid marijuana,” which can only be glycerin extract, going by the definitions in section 5, and the prohibition of other extracts in section 57. 

It also mandates that all Oregon police enforce this law, and gives local governments a cut of the taxes only for enforcing it.  It mandates as the primary punishment that they confiscate any marijuana “items” when they find violations of the licensing, including violations of these “homegrown” exceptions to licensing in Section 6, which put one under the licensing requirements if one goes over those limits.  Those “items” include “facilities for the storing, serving, or using of marijuana items.”  In case of homegrown, that means your home.

If this passes, poor people who live several adults to a household will lose their homes because they will get caught keeping enough pot to cover their own household’s use.  Some who support the measure say that we can lose our homes now and the cops won’t know and can’t get a warrant to search without reasonable suspicion.  But legalization should mean that we don’t have to hide our weed or worry about being busted as long as we are not selling it.  

Measure 91 would make people criminals and perhaps homeless just for keeping enough for our own use.  It will pay our police to bust us for over-possession, taking them away from stopping real crimes.


What is most interesting about this campaign is that the paid ads and editorials against Measure 91 are few and unpersuasive to anyone who isn’t totally against pot already.  It seems as though it is token opposition, designed to get people to vote for it, not against it.

#Measure91 can #TakeYourHome.  @AnRycke


Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener              541-955-9040              rycke@gardener.com

Friday, October 17, 2014

Measure 91 can take your home: Marijuana speech 34

Honorable Public Servants,

If Measure 91 passes, people will not just be busted for growing and storing enough pot for their own use; they will lose their homes to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.  The measure allows 4 plants but only 8 ounces of “usable marijuana,” dried bud and leaf, per household, not per adult.  8 ounces, a half-pound, is enough per year for only one person who smokes only in the evening.  The poor often must live several adults to a household, and we need to grow by sunlight, which allows for only one good crop per year. 

The exceptions to the licensing rules, listed in Section 6, also restrict a household to one pound of marijuana products, like cookies, and 72 ounces of liquid marijuana, which can only be vegetable glycerin extract, the only exception defined in Section 5 to “marijuana extracts,” which are forbidden in Section 57.

If your household falls outside of these exceptions to licensing in Section 6, you are subject to the licensing rules.  Without a license, you are automatically violating those rules, so being caught with too much marijuana or its products subjects you to the penalties for violating sections 3-30 or 45-70. 

Those penalties start in Section 64 with confiscation of “marijuana items,” which are any items that have anything to do with marijuana, including, in Section 64 part 3, “facilities for the storing, serving, or using of marijuana items.”  In the case of homegrown, that is your home and the property on which it sits.  OLCC will sell your home and other confiscated items and give the proceeds to the Common Schools fund.

Section 63 mandates that “state police, sheriffs, constables, and all police officers in the state of Oregon shall enforce sections 3-30 and 45-70 of this Act and assist the [OLCC] in detecting violations…and apprehending offenders.  Each such enforcing officer having notice, knowledge, or reasonable ground of suspicion of any violation…shall immediately notify the district attorney…”

Police will have funding from marijuana taxes and fees dedicated to this purpose in Section 44.  After OLCC takes its cut, 15% goes to state police, and 10% each goes to cities and counties in proportion to the number of marijuana licenses in their jurisdictions, which funds can be used only for enforcement of this Act.

So our local sheriffs and police will still be underfunded for fighting real crime and nuisances, but they will have money dedicated to revenuing on behalf of OLCC, and a mandate to do so.   We are better off now, without such dedicated funding to oppress us.

Marijuana Speech #34, to the Josephine County Commissioners, 10/22/14.
Online at http://current-news-you-can-use.blogspot.com

#Measure91 can #TakeYourHome.  @AnRycke

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener              541-955-9040              rycke@gardener.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vote No on Measure 91! Marijuana speech 33

Honorable Public Servants,

As I told you last week, I have resumed smoking marijuana in the evenings after work.  I found that, after two weeks without it, I was progressively more depressed, to the point where good things that happened to me could not lift my mood.  It is my anti-depressant; that’s why it became my drug of choice and caused me to lose my taste for alcohol when I smoked it in college. 

I have read Measure 91 in the Voters Pamphlet.  It seems to be written by the tobacco companies for their profit and for people who don’t like pot but want to tax it for their benefit.  Look at the endorsements in the Voters Pamphlet; it includes many people who formerly were stridently anti-pot.

The proposed tax is a black-market-sized markup at $35 per ounce, paid by the growers.  It will revive our in-state black market, as unlicensed growers will easily be able to beat the taxed price.  Some licensed growers will also be tempted to sell part of their crop untaxed.

The limit on private possession is only ½ pound per household.  A half-pound per year is only enough for one who smokes only in the evenings.  It will oppress the poor who grow by natural light, and must often live several adults to a household.  It allows sharing only one ounce at a time with another household, so one could not efficiently give it away to friends and relatives legally.  And yet the 4 plants allowed can easily yield 2 pounds, so poor people will be busted for possessing too much, while only trying to supply their own household. 

It seems to be written for out-of-state corporations like tobacco companies because it allows an unlimited number of licenses “per person” all along the chain of production, processing, wholesaling and retailing, and “persons” includes corporations.  With the high taxes and heavy reporting regulations, it will allow out-of-state corporations to take over our legal pot market.

It also includes a definition of “marijuana extracts” that specifically excludes vegetable glycerin as a solvent, but is non-exclusive regarding other named and unnamed solvents, extracts of which are forbidden.  Glycerin is used in nicotine vaporizing mixtures and can be used for vaping extracted cannabis resins as well.

We who like our weed and/or hate the black market should wait for a better offer.  We are allowed to make up to 200 gallons of alcohol per year without a license.  Marijuana should not be more tightly regulated and taxed than alcohol.


Marijuana Speech #33, to the Josephine County Commissioners and Grants Pass City Council, 10/15/14. Online at http://current-news-you-can-use.blogspot.com

#Measure91 will oppress the poor and enrich corporations.  @AnRycke

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wait for a better offer on "legalizing" pot

Letter to the The Daily Courier

Editor,

As a daily pot smoker, I will vote against Measure 91.  It allows only ½ pound of dried marijuana per household, barely enough for one user who smokes only in the evenings.  This will allow police to oppress the poor, who often have to live several adult consumers to a household.  It likewise allows one to give away only one ounce per recipient, restricting sharing between households.

The tax is too high at $35 per ounce, and can be raised at any time by the OLCC, which will have a conflict of interest in regulating a product that directly competes with liquor, which it sells in its own stores. 

The regulations are too tight.  Failure to file a monthly sales report would mean that the state would file for one and demand the tax they think one should pay.  Penalties for other violations are draconian, including forfeiture of all property in any way connected with a marijuana business, up to and including one’s home. 

It also allows unlimited licenses to “persons” all along the chain of production, processing, and sales, allowing out-of-state corporations to take over our commercial pot business, because such regulations are easier for big corporations to comply with.

This is written to bribe and mollify those who dislike pot.  We who like it should wait for a better offer.  We can make and possess up to 200 gallons of alcohol without a license.  Allowances for home growing and gifts of pot should be similarly generous.

Yours,

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener



@AnRycke

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cashews made my arthritis worse

About 6 weeks ago, I stopped eating cashews because I thought they might be contributing to inflammation and thus causing the arthritis that was making me think I had to give up gardening professionally.  My symptoms immediately began to ease, and I was able to stop taking cayenne to control them.  I still have sore muscles from overuse at times, but not the pain that caused me to eventually use a full teaspoon of cayenne every day, which caused other painful symptoms as it came out.
I had been eating about a half-cup of cashews nearly every day with my lunch for the last 10 years for their vitaminB17, AKA Laetrile, which supposedly wards off cancer.  It was a good excuse to eat an expensive but favorite nut that I saw listed in the sources of this vitamin.
I had occasionally been having arthritis symptoms in my hip before I changed my lunch from tomato juice with a half-teaspoon of cayenne and a yogurt, to sesame-chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and cashews, and taking orange juice, cranberry juice and cayenne (Crazy juice) first thing in the morning to ward off the arthritis with cayenne and keep bladder infections at bay with cranberry juice.  The combination of cayenne, tomato juice and yogurt was causing heartburn as I bent to my work.  Cookies and cashews worked better for my stomach, but I eventually had to give up cookies to preserve my teeth.  I started making sesame crackers instead, eventually figuring out that sesame had clearedup my sun spots.
A few years ago, I had a bout of Lyme disease from a tick bite and ended up with swollen, arthritic joints in my hands.  I cured that with oregano oil, but the arthritis remained and got worse from working with scissors and litter grabber.  I had to increase my cayenne intake to a teaspoon a day, causing its own distressing symptoms. 
After a bit of heart pain, for which I now carry nitro pills to take if necessary, I started thinking hard about what might be causing all of this inflammation.  I remembered what I’d long known, that cashews have urushiol, the irritant in poison oak and poison sumac, and that their nuts have to be roasted to be edible.  I am allergic to poison oak; perhaps some urushiol lingered in the lightly roasted nuts I was eating.  So I stopped eating them and my arthritis soon cleared up to the point that I could discontinue the cayenne, though I still need cranberry juice for my bladder.
I then searched “cashews, inflammation” and found a lot of articles saying that cashews don’t cause inflammation.  No smoke without fire; they would not need to deny it if there was not a problem with cashews and inflammation in some people.

Special October supplement
Gardening is easy if you do it naturally.  Litter is tagging, marking the territory of the disorderly.


Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener              541-955-9040              rycke@gardener.com

Pot is my anti-depressant: Marijuana speech 32

A month ago, I told quite a few people that I had quit using marijuana for good.  I was feeling worse instead of better when I smoked it.  It seemed that, instead of losing my high as had happened in the past when I smoked too much and too long, I was staying too high for comfort, as though my aging body was unable to clear the THC from my system and I was building intolerance rather than tolerance.

I told this to various groups because I am the most famous pot smoker in the county, after 10 years of street protests against the Drug War, 31 Marijuana Resolution speeches to the Board of County Commissioners, and another felony pot conviction, tied to my protest.  It ended in May 2013, when I decided that I had won my point after two states legalized pot.  Being a locally notorious celebrity, I had nothing to lose by letting people know that I was quitting for my own good reasons, and I owed people the truth.  I also thought that, by being so public about it, I would not go back on it.

Being so public about stopping meant that I would have to be even more public about resuming my use, which frankly is a lot harder, as I am disappointing people who love me and were happy I quit.  I cannot live a lie and not be myself.  A cover-up would definitely be worse than this so-called crime.

So I stand before you to tell both you and your audience that I resumed smoking pot in the evenings a week ago.  The first two weeks after I quit, I was fine, except for exceedingly vivid and memorable dreams and difficulty sleeping.  But over the last two weeks, I became progressively more depressed, and my mood could not be lifted by good things that happened to me, especially by the end of the day.

I remembered that I had been a depressed teenager before I started smoking pot in college.  I also had vivid nightmares and difficulty sleeping before I became a pot smoker.   I knew that pot had saved me from becoming a social drinker; I was drunk at a party when I started smoking it, found my drug of choice and lost my taste for alcohol.


My dreams no longer haunt my days and I sleep well again.  Most chronic pot users, I believe, depend on it to ward off depression.  It’s our medicine.  Governments should recognize it and stop punishing us because we take our medicine.



Marijuana Speech #32, to the Josephine County Commissioners, 10/7/14. 

#Cannabis is my #antidepressant; we shouldn’t be #punished for using it. @AnRycke

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener    541-955-9040      rycke@gardener.com

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Keep food and drink cool with water


You can keep food and drinks cool on a camping trip or in an emergency without ice or a refrigerator, using the powerful cooling ability of water, which evaporates at 41 degrees, and therefore can cool stuff to 41 degrees, regardless of air temperature, as long as relative humidity is not 100%.
Take a jug of water.  Put it in a shallow pan.  Cover it with a towel, and let the ends of the towel lie in the pan.  Pour water over the towel and fill the pan.  The water evaporates from the towel, which wicks more water from the pan, cooling the towel and the mass of water beneath it eventually to 41 degrees F, the point below which water stops evaporating.   Theoretically, one could cool a box of food by setting it in a bigger box and covering it with a wet towel that lies in water in the larger box.  I cool and keep grapes and melon slices fresh, moist and free of flies by covering their bowl with a wet towel set in a shallow pan of water.
One might think that standing water would likewise cool off to 41 degrees, because it evaporates.  But it has a smooth surface with surface tension, allowing relatively little evaporation compared to a towel, which has a rough surface with lots of surface area to evaporate from, and no surface tension.  Towels are made to suck up and evaporate water efficiently. 
Standing or flowing water also sucks up heat from the mass that it is sitting in or flowing over and holds it in its mass, so a low-running creek or river or standing water can get warm, because it does not evaporate faster than it soaks up heat. 
The water cycle that makes summer thunderstorms depends on evaporation and condensation.  We used to water most of our in-town properties and most of our farmland back in the '80s with sprinklers, and we had frequent wet storms in midsummer, more frequent and stronger uphill and upstream in Jackson  and Klamath Counties, keeping our creeks running. 
In the ‘90s many cities started raising water prices to save water, regardless of local supply or costs.  Drip irrigation and letting lawns dry came into fashion.  Watering plants with drip saves water at the price of losing the evaporative cooling effect of wet plants and soil, and thereby reducing the water cycle that makes summer rain.  Letting land go dry stops most transpiration from plants, and makes no rain.  Half or more of our town and farms are dry.
Now we get more dry storms and forest fires, and creeks going dry that used to run year-round. We have lost nearly a tenth of an inch of midsummer rainfall per decade for the last two decades.  Our July and August storms used to be larger than those in June or September.

September issue, published in GardenGrantsPass.blogspot.com, sold at the Mail Center, 305 NE 6th Street
Gardening is easy if you do it naturally.  Water is not precious; it overpriced.