A Hard Rain for Croptober: Harvest Realities and Opportunities in Boutique Cannabis’ Most Important Region
If you run in the cannabis circles of Southern Oregon, the rumors had already started to circulate when I received an email Monday morning, October 15, that supposedly confirmed the growing concerns. Suicide by a hemp farmer. I’m so saddened to hear something like this hit our community. This is a side of legalization we never hoped to see. My heart goes out to any loved ones or crews affected by shaking incidents like this.
Sure, the vape “crisis” is worsening. And Oregon officials overreacted and temporarily banned flavored THC vape products in Oregon, potentially putting entire companies out of business and forcing consumers back to the black market. We’ve yet to really learn the results of the hemp pollen scares that have been plaguing Instagram and “Stop” signs around the valley. Early rain, early frost, and early mold are beginning decimate an entire season’s work overnight for some hemp and high-THC cannabis farmers as fall set in early this year. And, did you hear four different hemp drying buildings have burned to the ground so far?
I talked about industry growing pains in the last issue, but now that the season is coming to its climax, it’s nearly impossible not to trip on your own thoughts while trying to juggle it all. The historically recent transition from black market gold mine to agricultural commodity is moving too fast for nearly any one person to fully comprehend. From breeding to growing to processing to sales to laws to regulation to medical uses and claims and everything beyond, it seems like there is a fire to put out nearly everywhere one turns in this fledgling industry.
The truth is that it has taken a lot of risk by many individuals for us to reap the collective rewards of large-scale legalization that we are currently enjoying. However, when the gambles don’t pan out or the weather doesn’t follow the patterns entrepreneurs have recently grown accustomed to, it’s an opportunity for us as the cannabis community to remember what the push is for. Yes, to follow our dreams. Yes, to make a better life for our families. Yes, to make money. But more to the point: legalization is becoming a reality because “cannabis people” have always pushed to lift each other up and to raise the plant back up to its rightful place in our lives.
Sure, mistakes have been made this season. Over estimations. Under estimations. Complete miscalculations. (Ask me how I know.) And I imagine dollar $ign$, not community improvement, have sparked a lot of the motivation that turned Jackson and Josephine counties into the epicenter of boutique/craft hemp & high-THC cannabis in Oregon (and arguably the world).
However, this is our time to demonstrate our skills as a cannabis industry and our strength as a cannabis community. I highly recommend we pull together and give of our time, equipment, crews, drying space . . . or whatever it is our fellow Southern Oregon cannabis entrepreneur needs to finish their harvest right.
This moment in time is a shifting point in cannabis history. Now, like never before, farmers and processors have the chance to put the region’s cannabis (albeit mainly low-THC, aka “hemp” cannabis) up against the rest of the country to prove yourselves as one of the world’s premiere cannabis growing regions. Now is the time to lift each other up so this region can shine bright like a trichome!