Posted by: bkivey | 25 January 2017

Grass and Cash

A couple of months ago The Oregonian published an article on Federal and state marijuana eradication efforts. Or more precisely, government efforts to eliminate illegal marijuana grows. As might be expected in a state where dope has been legal for over a year, law enforcement efforts against marijuana have dramatically declined, in no small part because the Feds have been reducing funding since Oregon legalized the drug. At the state level the federal program is overseen by the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association, and they don’t want it, to the point where there’s speculation the anti-dope effort may not be run in 2017.

The DEA allocated $200,000 to Oregon for marijuana mitigation: not even a rounding error in the Federal budget, and some folks think there won’t be any Federal funds for 2017. One may reasonably ask why there should be any government money spent on eradicating a legal product, and that’s the interesting part of the story.

What anti-pot efforts there are in Oregon are now focused on protecting legal grows. The shift is from all marijuana is bad to only that grown by non-licensed operations. There is some concern that drug cartels will take business away from legal growers. As one person points out, this doesn’t really make sense. Why would a cartel try to compete illegally in a legal industry? Drug cartels are all about profit, and there’s a lot more of it to be made selling unregulated drugs like meth and heroin than selling something on the street anyone can walk into a store and buy. It’s amusing to me to see law enforcement in the position of protecting people they were looking to bust a year ago.

My opinion is that marijuana should be at least as legal as alcohol. While alcohol can make people act in unpredictable ways, the effects of dope are predictable: it makes people lazy and dumb. No one was ever moved to violence because they smoked some weed. The fact that marijuana remains a Federal Schedule I (readily abused and no medicinal benefits) drug is ridiculous. It was put there by the Nixon Administration in the early 1970’s because they didn’t know what else to do with it, and dope was seen as the ‘gateway’ drug to a short life of shooting up in alleys. The fact that use was more prevalent among racial minorities and the hated hippies didn’t help its case. Some 45 years later and legal in eight states, the fears expressed by Senator James Eastland D-Miss in 1974, that

“If the cannabis epidemic continues to spread at the rate of the post-Berkeley period, we may find ourselves saddled with a large population of semi-zombies – of young people acutely afflicted by the amotivational syndrome.”

have not materialized. Hey Senator, if you really want to afflict young people with amotivational syndrome, get them hooked on government benefits. Oh, wait . . .

Truer Words

The National Football League Players Association held an essay contest asking current and former players to write about what they wished they’d known prior to starting their career, and former player Caleb Campbell had the winning entry. I was struck by the last few paragraphs:

More specifically, I wish I knew that excuses kill more dreams than the lack of talent ever will.

It’s easy to stand afar looking at every reason why your life is not the way you had once envisioned as a child. Whether your coach isn’t giving you a chance, you don’t have enough money in the bank, or your father abandoned you as a child, pointing the finger and making an excuse is the real impediment to your life not moving forward.

Unless you’re willing to silence the ego and come to the place of taking full responsibility for your life, in a world of endless galaxies and unchartered waters, excuses will be your ceiling.

But, I get it.

Deep down you won’t want to confront that the problem might be with you. That the fear of never measuring up to the expectation of others is actually the locked door keeping you out. Or, that the unforgiveness you’ve harbored for the things that happened to you as a child is actually what’s sabotaging your life.

But, it’s in that place of responsibility where true victory awaits.

A victory that destroys limitations and gives you a fighting chance to live out your full purpose for this life.

Australian Open

I tried for several years as a child to learn to play tennis. Mostly on clay and asphalt, because those were the court surfaces available on Army bases. It was about this time between tennis and baseball I discovered that I lacked the fine motor control and coordination necessary for a successful athletic career. Stamina and strength weren’t the issues: I could trade ground strokes all day long. Putting the ball where I wanted was more challenging. Tennis is a sport where you have to be good to play badly, and I was never good.

I watched Serena Williams vs Johanna Konta in the women’s singles, and it was an education in using experience to overcome adversity.

Williams won the first set 6 -2, but started to struggle mightily in the second set. It seemed she couldn’t put a ball on target. Konta went up 3 -1 in the set, and you could see the frustration from Williams. But there aren’t time-outs in tennis. You can’t stop play and talk to your coach or take a breather to collect yourself. Adjustments have to be made in the moment. I figured that Williams would draw on her long experience with championship tennis, and that’s what she did.

Williams used her ground game to get Konta out of position and along with some blistering serves, Konta wouldn’t win another game: she had roused the bear. The penultimate serve in the match was a wicked ace in the corner of the service box that I don’t think Williams opponent even saw. Another ace for triple match point followed.

It’s always a pleasure to watch something done exceptionally well, and seeing an experienced, talented professional make the adjustments necessary to put down a worthy adversary was enjoyable indeed.





  1. Blair-
    Good stuff.
    In Michigan, we have the “quasi-legal herb,” in that you have to register, get a “card,” and specify who your “grower” is to be.
    Everyone else is subject to arrest. On-the-ground in our County as a practical matter, the police aren’t really interested in busting people for small amounts of herb, and simple possession charges are used as a lever to plea-bargain. (surprisingly large numbers of would-be criminals, bring their herb with them whilst committing actual crimes.)
    –tangentially– our Community Mental Health system is in a huge bind over all this– they really don’t know what to do with a small handful of clients who went out and secured “cards,” and insist on mixing Herb with their antipsychotics & benzodiazepines. (What generally happens– they sell their benzodiazepines for cash, to supplement their SNAP and SSI benefits.)

    Personally and as a matter of Policy, I want practically everything totally decriminalized, yesterday. And I don’t want our State to adopt the “tax and regulate” stance. ( But they can’t help themselves and we will eventually become Oregon or Colorado, at least in some respects.)
    The “medical herb” ‘thing is SO disingenuous in my humble opinion. Pure THC is available by prescription (schedule 2) “Drobabinol” I believe, is the Trade Name but I’m going by memory. But, nobody really wants the pill-form and Doctor’s are loath to prescribe it, as they already have so much scrutiny over prescribing opiates way-to-freely, the past 8++ years.
    –People like to get high; some people like to be slowed-down, some prefer being “wide-awake,” 24/7. I say “own it and go from that point, don’t try to sell me on “medical herb,” it’s virtue-signaling, but… it apparently works as a tool for decriminalization.)
    I would opine– it’s amazing to see these legal weed people, become the total money-grubbing “capitalist-pigs,” they claim to oppose.
    –I off handedly asked at one weed-shop, “why don’t you start a Co-Op and sell it all at cost?” the response was, “why would I do that?”

  2. Hi Wayne,

    Thanks for reading. I always enjoy your comments. Here in Dope Central (NBA team nickname: Blazers) in two years we’ve watched legal weed go from a curiosity to a fully regulated industry with the concomitant griping from all involved. It’s now just another industry.

    ‘Medical marijuana’ is chiefly a tool to legalize the drug incrementally through decriminalization. I can’t think of a single state that went from illegal to legal in one go. I’ve been hearing about legalization since I was a teenager, and it’s amusing to see all the things the advocates didn’t consider, or ignore, come to fruition. A large number of users seemed to think that marijuana would somehow be exempt from government regulation and control. As Gomer Pyle would say: “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”

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