. . . Faugh. ENOUGH!! So much for my finding a philosophical way to MOURN an at-long-last social outcome that I have been wishing for and arguing for for thirty years!!! :-)
(And probably too definitive. Never, about the psychedelics? Fie. Blasphemy.)
I’ll be talking about a celebration in a moment. :-)
I should clarify that the legalization of recreational marijuana has so far only occurred in four places in the U.S, these being Washington, Colorado, now here in Oregon, and in the District of Columbia - Washington, D.C its ownself! - in the very shadow of the Capitol building where Congress still keeps it illegal under Federal law nationwide. Marijuana for medical purposes has been legalized more widely, in 23 states plus D.C., also without Federal sanction.
(The current administration has not been minded to interfere with the state-level breaking of ranks, nor has Congress, and I hope this continues. Odds are probably decent going forward, at least to that extent, unless we get a real fire-breather of a puritan president. Marijuana has not proven to be a hot-button get-them-marching issue for social conservatives lately as much as it was in the past. Gays and gay marriage, now, that’s another story . . .)
So. We legalized recreational pot here in Oregon in the last election, last year - after Washington and Colorado did it first and apparently convinced some previous holdout voters that such a thing had been done and was therefore real - so, as of the 1st of July, a week ago, it is now legal here to possess up to four ounces at home and one ounce while away from home.
(Marijuana is measured here in ounces and in grams, by the way, a hybrid arrangement that fogs one’s understanding of both systems and has to be learned by eye.)
However, actual legal recreational sales have not begun yet in Oregon - because the state legislature (along with the terms of the initiative version that passed) wants everything controlled and watched by a gimlet-eyed agency (the already-existent post-Prohibition creation the Oregon Liquor Control Commission) which is evidently still trying to set up its procedures . . . and expects to be ready by the middle of next year.
The state legislature has noticed the silliness in the time lag and has approved a bill to let the medical-marijuana outlets start selling to people in general, but, assuming the governor signs it, even that wouldn’t cut in until October.
So we still can’t legally buy the stuff. So how do you get it?
(Don’t answer “illegally just like before.” Shame on you. Although, given that the state has eagerly put an immediate hefty tax on pot - rather than waiting until people have gotten used to buying in shops and gradually phasing the tax in later - I fear the illicit trade may still have a future for a while, selling tax-free and therefore cheaper than the legal outlets. Dumb planning, I think, if the police are supposed to be able to get out of the business of having to crack down on a ubiquitous decentralized infrastructure that is already in place and impossible to get rid of by those direct means. No matter how tasty the revenue looks.)
Well, barring going across the Columbia River and buying it in Washington state, people can just give marijuana to each other. That’s just fine with the law.
(And it may also end up necessary in future - because people are allowed to grow four plants for themselves, but just one plant might end up producing more than four ounces if it’s grown right! :-) Yes, odd bits all over.)
So, in this situation, with the July 1 line just passed, how can there be a big marijuana-legalization-celebration event where people can meet the purveyors that they’ll be buying from in the future - and can sample their wares?
The organizers of an event called “Weed The People” found a way. :-)
They rented a warehouse in north Portland . . . and sold tickets to get in.
In the warehouse, there would be vendors who would just give away samples.
And the police said, “Oh. . . . Well, this appears to be legal.” Which it was.
I went to this. :-)
With my mother. She was the real impetus, I think, although I was delighted to go. She hasn’t wanted to pay the $250 to get her medical marijuana card, and then there’d be the medical signoff thing which we don’t know how it works, etc., so she’s been just going through a couple of presents of pot from my brother up in Washington. This was a chance to replenish.
She is also 77, and not too spry (neither of us is very fit lately; I am a giant lima bean with a tiny head and limbs poking out, myself), and I was wondering how she would do at this mysterious, probably crowded cultural event where they’d be giving out free pot. I wasn’t too sure about myself at 47. Neither of us is much of a social butterfly. What were we going to be walking into???
And in temperatures in the mid-nineties, at that. I wore my usual gear for this summer, which consisted of an increasingly disreputable ragged pair of jean cutoff shorts, a medium-grade t-shirt, and the round bamboo coolie hat that makes the ragged shorts look as if they are a part of some stylish plan. (You can get away with anything with the right hat.) Mom went with a red muumuu.
Neither of us gave any thought to footwear. We both wore flip-flops.
Earlier in the week we had talked to a guy at an agricultural supply shop who had explained how Weed The People could possibly be sure that they’d have enough free samples - free pot?!? I envisioned hordes converging - by saying that they had only sold a fixed number of tickets. I should have thought of that. So, we had decided against going early, and we got off the light-rail train by the venue about two hours after the event had started.
We hadn’t arrived late enough. The line of people waiting stretched blocks and blocks.
It was a very civilized, good-humored line. It was summer, so everyone was colorfully dressed, which was lovely to see (we have not cracked the problem of cold-drizzly-weather plumage here). Most people seemed to have brought water bottles, as advised - and one wonderful fellow who had already been inside proceeded to go to the store and buy a couple of cases of bottled water and pulled up next to us in his pickup and handed them out. Spreading the love. Smiling volunteers kept walking along the line with spray-bottles and misting us all as we inched along and loitered in the occasional shadows.
Anyway, it took a while to get into the event - a little under an hour. At the door we all got green plastic bracelets with seven little removable pips on them, one for each free gram sample.
We then spent MORE THAN THREE MORE HOURS IN LINE.
Let me say that again.
MORE THAN THREE MORE HOURS IN LINE.
The only way in which they could be sure that everyone would see everything, and that none of the vendors would get crazily mobbed, was to keep everybody in a single continuous line, which snaked back and forth inside the very warm, pleasantly shadowed building and did not even go near anything for some long loops. . . . And, together with the line outside, yes, it made up over four hours on our feet in total.
I understand that a number of people fainted. I know that Mom’s legs were on the verge of ceasing to work at several points during the course of it; she had to lean on my arm. I was feeling it too. It would have been different if I could have walked around a little. Just a little. I’ve walked across Portland for that long when I’ve found myself without fare in the wrong place, and I didn’t end it in a fifth of the discomfort that I was in in that warehouse. Just to stand, and stand, and occasionally shift, and then stand . . .
We all went through a number of “winds.” About four or five of them. There were people with spray-bottles walking around inside the building too. It was a good thing I grabbed a couple of burritos for us right at the beginning, next to where we finally located the start of the inside line. Later, when we were both gasping, we (imperceptibly) passed a stand where the one drink left being sold was something we’d never heard of called a “cold brew.” Not beer - it was a cup full of chilled black coffee, nothing else, that had been made using a cold-brewing process that took out the bitterness. My God, it was so iceberg cold and so good, and the caffeine gave us our legs back for a while.
And then the magic started. “CBD Kush! CBD Kush!” A young woman walked by with free sample packets with buds of CBD Kush inside. Magic.
It did hit me then. Back in the ‘80s, named marijuana varieties bred for certain characteristics and openly available were the stuff of, well, of the Netherlands. And nowhere else, barring a much more clandestine business in northern California. I read about them in High Times magazine, and, but for the photographs, I might as well have been reading Omni; they might as well have been science fiction. Back then I organized and rode a float that advocated legalization, when legalization was nowhere in sight and pot was bad brick-pressed detritus just over the border from Mexico.
And now … here I was.
“The empire that you dreamed of while reading Tacitus.” - Illuminatus
Mom had a conversation with the young woman about CBDs and THC, the Swiss army knife of different cannabinoids, with medicinal marijuana bred for higher levels of CBDs. We both got packets of CBD Kush, for one green pip each.
Thereafter, as we slowly passed all the tables, Mom was seeking medicinal high-CBD strains, and I was looking for interesting high-THC psychoactive types, usually on the very-clearheaded sativa end of the spectrum (my ADD, after all) but there’s an indica variety in there that I need to try some evening near bedtime.
I won’t drag this recitation out further, BUT GOOD GRIEF WE WALKED OUT OF THERE WITH SO @#$% MUCH CANNABIS, AND SO MANY KINDS.
When we finally came to the end and we had all our samples, I slowly helped Mom across to the door with the sign on it that said “Vape Lounge.” Mom needed to consume some medicine or she wouldn’t even have been able to walk to the light-rail station. So we hobbled out into the little yard and found it dominated by the big blue canopy-tent, and she sat in a chair and watched a young lady operate the machine and fill a tall plastic bag with silent vapors. Mom inhaled twice from it and coughed. I took a gigantic slow drag, my chest expanding, draining most of the bag . . .
. . . I did not factor in that my usual occasional intake, which as I say had been mostly helping Mom light the pipe, was about a twentieth of what I took in with that single mighty drag. (Not even counting the quality of the marijuana, either.)
So I was STRATOSPHERICALLY HIGH as we made our way down the street to the station.
Mom’s walking had improved. Mercifully the cannabis the girl had loaded had been one of the clear-headed varieties, so navigation homeward and the practical operations it involved wouldn’t be a problem. But there was only one seat at the station that wasn’t filthy, so Mom took that, and I paced slowly, the only thing on my echoing mind being that I was very, very tired of being on my feet.
And we made our way home by train and bus, carrying our ridiculous loads of what was no longer contraband at all.
And that’s the story. Over four hours standing in line. We survived. :-)
And the aftermath? In process. It’s an exploration.
Mom doesn’t like the ones I picked; she wants the pain relief, not so much the mental effect, which I guess she can feel a little. The mental effects of the CBD-enhanced ones she collected are distinctly milder.
So far all I’ve noticed . . . As I said, I mostly chose the ones with the very clearest-headed effects. I’ve only begun to try them, but already I’ve gotten a perspective on some boosters’ claims, who have said over the years that marijuana could sometimes induce or provoke “higher consciousness” - in the same large sense or a very similar large sense to what’s true with LSD and so on. I certainly ought to have powerful enough cannabis to test this.
So? The answer? Well . . . In a way? :-) One difference has become apparent.
With “ordinary” pot, meaning what I’ve been used to, I get “the munchies;” I get peckish, or hungry.
With the rarefied strain I got that is named “Silver Surfer”, I am not aware of feeling hungry as such; that’s completely outside my thoughts . . . but when supper approaches I become consumed with designing and preparing banquets.
(Pure focus, great energy, ruthlessly aesthetic decisions, vision. Left board! Right board! Center spread! We need a green cucumber salad on this end, and I think we’d better use - miso dressing! Segue to left! Over here, we’ll clearly need chicken, but we’ll need it prepared two different ways - one of them must provide sauce for the homai rice, after all . . .)
Clearly this is a higher, and extraordinarily energized, level of awareness and engagement . . . but you will notice that it somehow still seems to orbit around my stomach, just like the other one. :-)
So, I suppose my impression so far is that the Higher Consciousness state is real, and not ersatz or what have you, but that Higher Consciousness need not in itself automatically be everything it’s cracked up to be . . .
(A conclusion that has an extremely familiar feel - and that I think has to do with a lot more things in life than this.) :-)
Last updated July 11, 2015