Yesterday I realized that I have not written anything on this blog for about a month. Just now “what” to write hit me, thanks to a conversation on Facebook. No, for a change, this will NOT be about politics.
It is about my new life as a pothead. Well, actually not quite a pothead. One of my Oregon friends thinks I may be the only cannabis user in Oregon who is not driving under the influence. This may (does) have its pleasurable effects, but this is not a recreational activity for me.
I was a senior in high school when someone close to me (who will remain nameless and blameless) introduced me to weed. That definitely was recreational.
In college the drug of choice was booze and that was illegal enough thank you. But I was an RA and would knock on the doors of the rooms where smoking was obviously happening and instruct them on how to use a wet towel. That was definitely pro-user activity.
In the late-1970s I lived in a city in the South and a friend invited me to his family’s home to watch Superman when it was first shown on HBO. He lit up a joint and offered it to me. I enjoyed the show and I don’t remember if I was uncomfortable driving home after, but since there is no memory about it, it must have been fine.
In the mid-1980s a friend a I went on a weekend getaway to her family’s vacation home in New England without any husbands or kids. Another friend handed me a small gift, as it was my birthday and told me to open it when we got to our destination. Inside a Sucrets lozenge box, several joints. It was a chocolate weekend.
That is not all, but the gist of my prior life with pot. Not regular at all. Never enjoyed when responsible sobriety was needed. Definitely recreational.
Since then I heard sometimes that people with cancer smoked marijuana and it helped. It helped with nausea was one thing and when we were dealing with nausea from chemo issues in the 1990s, the meds the doctor gave took care of it, so no need to search out the underground market…probably available next door, right?
And then we moved to Oregon and they already had medicinal cannabis. The dispensaries were established and things were regulated. The referendum for recreational use passed with 56% of the votes. I suspect there were as many “yes” votes among the Baby Boomers as there were in the Millennials.
The legal requirements for legal grow operations, laboratories for testing, kitchens for preparing edibles, and shops for selling had to be worked out, so it took over a year after the law was passed before the recreational shops were open.
Today, some shops sell only recreational pot. Some sell only to people who have medical cannabis cards. Some sell both rec and medical. The medical side has different record-keeping to meet the legal requirements of that early law. I prefer to go to a dispensary that sells both as I am, at this point in my life, using the cannabis to help a medical condition.
I have not asked my doctor for a medical card. It is at least a 3-step process including an appointment with another doctor and can cost $800 altogether for people like me (not a veteran, on disability and elderly–I’m too young. LOL) The benefit: no sales tax. In Oregon we do not have a sales tax…except on recreational marijuana. (It probably was THIS benefit to the state financial coffers that convinced the “weed is evil” side to vote yes. After all, they can enjoy thinking the stoners are paying for their sin.)
Since I do not use a lot of pot over the year a card would be valid, I did not think the little bit of additional in tax would offset the fees.
So when I realized the last bit of canna butter was used up, it was time to go purchase something. Asking three different friends which dispensary they preferred gave me three places to check out. (There are about eight within ten miles, but only one state-run liquor store. The dispensaries were not really busy while that liquor store is always crowded.)
Anyone my age who purchased weed in the 70s and the early 80s purchased a sandwich bag (ounce) for $10. The pot in late 1970 was $40 for the baggie and was a strain known as Acapulco Gold. The baggies had leaf, stems, and generally some seeds.
Now you can buy seeds, you can buy bud, sometimes you can buy leaf (shake), you can buy pre-rolls. You can buy extract, you can buy creams and salves. You can buy candy. You can buy infused products like tea or oil. The bud is the most popular. The strains sell for about $200-400 an ounce (that sandwich baggie) so most people buy a few grams, sort of like heading to the store for a six-pack.
Me, I bought half an ounce. I prepared the canna butter yesterday and the gingered pear bars are out of the oven now, aroma wafting through the house.
Why do I turn to cannabis? Two reasons:
Simply, I am in pain almost all the time now. My stupid ski accident at age 19 was exacerbated by the bacterial memingitis I worked through about fifteen years ago. The pain in the knee started the next year and the doctor assured me it was “only” arthritis. For years Advil was my help. Then I switched to glucosamine in all its combinations. When we moved here almost four years ago, I started getting acupuncture and that helped me be pain-free for ten days. But last June I twisted my knee and have minor meniscus and ACL involvement. Two doctors say it is “only” arthritis. But a year later, I am not back to where I was before the knee twist and now having sympathetic pain on my other leg because of my screwed up gait. Again, if you are about my age, you may be feeling some joints now, too. I hope not.
Second, my asthma. I have been concerned with the Congressional shenanigans. I promised it will NOT be a political rant, but I feel I’ve been on the “am I going to die because I can’t afford medical insurance” roller coaster. My two medications that help me breathe cost $1000 a month out-of-pocket. Simply can’t do that. Can’t afford it. And THEN I started hearing how inhaling pot helps asthma. That’s insane! People with lung disease like asthma can not smoke!!! That’s why I make edibles. Smoke pot to help me breathe? Yes, it dilates the bronchi; in fact, I read a medical research extract dumbed down for non-medical readers that said it was the THC specifically that helps the deeper sections of lung dilate also.
Being Oregon, I got into a short discussion about pot at the UFO Festival in May. The guy handed me a joint, telling me it will help. (Yes, I love Oregon). Over three days I tested the concept and, yes, within a short time I could draw a deep breath without any “pulling” tightness. The next morning, still good.
Then my friends stepped in with their recommendations. One vapes. One gave me a bong. Decision made.
So, why did I write this? Because medical marijuana is available in twenty-nine states, while recreational pot can be (or will be able to be once they get it set up) in eight states. And, of course, your neighbor still buys his from his co-worker’s cousin, just like he always has. In other words, marijuana is around you.
And, yes, there are people smoking to get high or stoned. Just like there are people getting drunk or pissed on booze. And just as others seek their escape in street drugs.
But there are more people of all ages using the beneficial aspects of cannabis for a medical reason.
About ten years ago something happened. I woke up.
I became aware that a lot of people were writing about the changes to our foods that had been going on since the mid 1990s and about how some illnesses also had a surge in diagnosis since that time.
The skeptic in me says coincidence does not necessarily show a cause. The cautious part of me decided I needed to prove it to myself.
Having read about how some of the genetically engineered foods kills insects that typically infiltrate plants like corn by causing their stomachs to rupture, I began to think how my daughter, born in 1994, started developing something like irritable bowel syndrome before she was 20 years old. The doctor at the college health center recommended she have a colonoscopy which I wanted to schedule with my doctor when she spent the summer with me. He said, no, 19-year-olds should not need colonoscopies, and we made an appointment to talk with him. After hearing her symptoms and the history, he urged her to repopulate her stomach with probiotics and her symptoms eased. Smart man.
As I read more and more I decided we would switch to organic foods where we did not know a farmer who grew a specific food item. We decided to have a six-month trial and surprise, surprise, we have continued this practice for at least four years now. When we follow our own rules, we feel better. But we generally do not recognize that until we travel and end up eating “regular” food. And then the uncomfortable issues start again.
A few months ago the Federal government approved chickens being sent to China to be butchered and then sent back to American markets. What with past issues with pet food and baby food, I am not comfortable with any of the food grown in the United States going overseas for processing. Especially since the USDA eliminated the “country of origin” labeling also!
Today I read that the milk industry has petitioned the FDA to CHANGE THE DEFINITION OF MILK to include aspartame. Their point is that it would not need to be on the label and sweet things would be “healthier” without sugar. (Oh, and since so many people are now aware of the ill effects of that artificial sweeter, the FDA has approved changing its name to “Amino Sweet,” so watch for that on your labels!)
For those of us who prefer to know what is in our food, this is unacceptable. Personally, I really can not, nor do I want to, have a cow. (Pun intended) But it is getting to the point where the ONLY way to control what you are putting into your body is to source all your food from farmers you know. Farmers who tell you their growing methods. Farmers who are more interested in health than becoming rich.
I really am impressed by ALL the farmers I know, whether they grow with organic practice or even if they grow conventionally. Farming is hard work. Yields are highly dependent on a huge unknown–the weather. And generally, farmers do not make much income. Long hours, low pay.
And yet, most of the farmers I have met are passionate about what they do. They may be exhausted, but they have the drive to keep on growing food for us.
We are extremely fortunate in Oregon’s Willamette Valley to have almost all our food needs met by local farmers. We need to go a bit farther for citrus and for sugar, but the foods we personally eat and the foods prepared in the kitchen of Can-Do Real Food, we support our local farmers as much as possible.
There are tons of diets that claim to offer a healthier body. No one size fits all, but many can lead to better health. But above all, start cooking from whole foods and leave the frozen foods with their high sodium and loads of preservatives at the store. Not only will you discover what foods really taste like, but you will feel proud that you can nourish yourself so deliciously.
Can-Do Real Food provides you preserved foods that have been made from local food raised on farms that are certified organic, bio-dynamic, or naturally grown or farms that grow in the organic style. Our only products that come from trees that have been sprayed are the hazelnut butters. Although new trees planted in the past year or so are a strain that is resistant to insect infestation, the mature trees must be treated or there would be no crop of nuts at all. All other produce used to prepare the recipes in the Can-Do Real Food kitchen are raised without any chemical treatment for insects or weeds. You may opt not to buy our products, but it won’t be because of added chemicals.
CAN-DO REAL FOOD
NO ARTIFICAL ANYTHING!
[Beth Rankin lives with her husband Graham in McMinnville, Oregon. An advocate of the production and processing of organic foods, she is the CEO of CAN-DO REAL FOOD. Rankin is also the publisher of a blog
“Going Places Can-Do Zero Waste” where this article first appeared on July 15, 2017. Readers are encouraged to check out her blog-site at: http://candorealfood.com]
Early in my blog writing a woman who I really didn’t know messaged me “don’t yell. No one listens to someone who is shouting at them.” Or something like that. She became one of my best friends and I trust her judgment often and always.
But it is apparent that many people don’t listen to anything that involves thinking and change.
I will try again, though, I am Taurus = stubborn!
So we have the start of the growing season here. The earth is warming and food crops are being planted in large mechanized commercial farms, much of planting can be done by machines with one worker covering a large field. And some food crops can be harvested mechanically also. However, many require hands-on. And that needs a work force. Part of our national history is the transition from an agrarian economy to an industrial and now a post-industrial economy. Almost 200 years ago most people living in the United States were involved with farming. You can see what has happened over time.
In the past twenty years more and more of these farm jobs have gone empty until filled by migrant workers. Many are Latino and here in the Williamette Valley of Oregon we very much recognize that our vineyards, orchards and large commercial food farms need these workers.
It’s hard work. I know. I took a farm hand job three summers ago. Me. At 60 years of age, overweight, arthritic and with a bad back. The high school worker was heading back to school in August and the farmer needed someone until the end of the season. I never had done this kind of work and my body let me know. But this is not impossible work. So anyone who can walk, can bend, can use their hands, can do this work. However, it seems that in most areas of the country, white people do not want to do this work so much. And so, others fill in. They are not taking jobs away. They are helping feed us. Some are not legal workers.
Trump ran for President hollering (hey! he yelled and people listened…or maybe they didn’t, but that’s a different blog) that it was important to put America first. That we needed to get rid of all the bad hombres and that was translated into all people who are here without full legal status, no matter the agreements in the past. Trump supporters have not yet woken up to the fact that when the work force is removed, something will happen.
In this case, it means the food raised here on large farms in the United States most likely will not be successfully harvested. One farmer we know lost his work crew last year when the blueberries matured early. His strawberries matured late. All that is because of the weather. But it meant his picking crew went off to attack the blueberries, which are easier picking than strawberries. He lost thousands of dollars and many of his strawberries rotted on the plants because there was no one to pick them. This situation will happen again more and more in more places, not necessarily because of the weather but because of a shortage of willing workers.
Trump’s policies are convincing many people without family roots to head back south to their native lands. The risk of imprisonment and deportation is high. So, many people are leaving. There are also many people who are not leaving because they have been here for 20 or more years. Part of their family was born here. Others may have legal status. The undocumented workers are still here, but there are fewer than before and many are not taking jobs because of the risk of being arrested.
As this situation will exist in the coming months everyone, including Trump and his supporters are going to feel it. They may be cheering now, but the time is going to come when they realize there may have been a better way. They’re already feeling it in southern California and in Florida where harvests happen several times during the year.
Prices will go up. To keep your business and their profits supermarket chains will contract for produce from other countries.
Flavor will go down. That long distance produce gets harvested a bit early, a bit green or immature, to give time to the transportation process before it starts to rot. Flavor just does not develop that way. If you buy produce from overseas, you miss the flavor of how it really should taste. [Editor’s Note: My wife and I are still trying to buy a tomato that tastes like a tomato during tomato season here in Kentucky! This year we planted two large pots of tomato plants next to our walkway. It’s worth a try!]
Farmers here in the United States will not be able to continue to farm. Or at least to farm food. (Much of the Williamette Valley farmland is used for wine grapes, hops, hazelnuts and landscaping plants.) Farms will fail financially, and the land will go fallow. That will have a ripple effect on the economy.
So, Southern and Central California are where the bulk of supermarket produce is grown. And harvested. Or not harvested…and then not shipped to your grocery store.
So, why do I say BUY AMERICAN when I am also saying food raised here in the US is going to have smaller harvests and higher prices? Because if we don’t support American farmers we are going to see our food production, like our manufacturing, move offshore.
There are ways to buy produce at affordable prices, but it means a commitment to changing your shopping pattern. Only you can decide if giving your children and grandchildren a chance to buy American food is important.
Am I exaggerating? Unfortunately, no. I remember my parents complaining that it was getting harder to buy American-made when they replaced our black and white television with a color model in the late 1960s. At that time, Magnavox was only one of a few and they are still in business today. All the other TVs that are manufactured here are by Asian corporations who have built factories here to save on shipping and other costs. How did this happen? Simple–we consumers like to buy based on price, not patriotism!
Yet, I bet you believe you are a patriotic American. Demonstrate it by investing in America’s economy! This is a consumer-driven industry! Buy locally raised food. Go to a website like localharvest.com to identify when your farmers markets are, where the farms are near you that offer CSAs, where you can pick your own produce. Perhaps this whole discussion is meaningless as most Americans do not eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, but if you do try to eat in a healthy way, this will affect you unless you happen [not likely] to grow your own food.
And get those teenagers to take summer jobs working on farms. They’ll buff up, tone up, and get a great tan!
This morning my Facebook feed is full of “He is Risen!” I understand the ritual and passion for this Easter Sunday, but once again, I have a perspective as a Jew attending church with my husband for ten years that may never occur to most of you.
All this declaration of Christ as your Savior appears to be meaningless gibberish for most people. Something they say by rote, without thought. Like my ex-husband who wanted to eat the foods on Jewish holidays but he had no understanding of the symbolism of those foods. Many people I know profess to be Christian but are walking a pathway that is full of trimmings but no substance.
I spoke of this at Christmas also. The adoration of Baby Jesus and all the promise He represented goes no further than grabbing presents from under the tree for most people.
I am NOT espousing that someone needs to be strict in their daily observation of religion…ANY religion…in order to be a good person. In fact, with ISIS attacking Muslims who do not believe as they do, with fundamentalist Christians destroying rights and freedoms in this nation, with any ultra-conservative branch of any religion, we see they have very narrow definitions of what is right. That is NOT what Christ taught.
I confuse a lot of people when I say that I am closer to Christ than they are because I practice the same religion that Jesus did. He observed the rules better than I do but he also broke them from time to time. Most of the time, he broke social conventions and was a dissenter, attracting followers and scaring the establishment. But generally, overall, his message was one of “love one another.” Treat people the way you want to be treated.
The Bible Belt where I lived for over 17 years has a preponderance of Christians who believe that Christ died for their sins, that they are saved. It may be a coincidence that that section of the country overwhelmingly voted for Trump, not necessarily because they liked him, because many did not like things about him. They voted for him because he promised delivery from things they perceive as evil. I believe their training as an obedient flock for their churches lead them to have faith without using any common sense about the promises made. But their minds, like all good sheep, are befuddled by those promises. They have not learned the ways to solve problems. They are stuck in a rut of tradition that means there is only one right way. And that includes following the shepherd.
Why am I picking on Christians? I just came from an Easter service when the Praise Band was singing and moving. The congregation, for the most extent, clapped as requested but there was no joy, no smiles. Did the words they learned as children not reach their adult ability to analyze? Are the praises they sing empty words without their hearts. (In order for you to understand that I feel the same way about Jewish services where everything is in Hebrew, I will let you know that my Haggadah this past Monday’s Seder had limited Hebrew. I wanted the participants at my table to understand the story and the reasoning behind the holiday. To chant in Hebrew when you memorized it as a child and have no idea what the meaning is…has NO meaning.)
People often forget this commandment to love one another applies to everyone, everywhere. Not just people you know. Not just people who live near you. Not just people who speak like you, live like you,
worship like you do. All people.
When does the message hit the heart? When does it become part of the soul? When it does, you will rise.
Walking in the spirit is a pathway by people of any or no practiced religion. It means, simply, loving your neighbor as yourself. The rest is