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LETTERS: February 16th Issue

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Re.:Re.:Re.: Sarcastic weed

This letter is in response to Daniel MacSweeney’s December 15 submission and to Michael Johnson’s January 5 submission. It is my impression that many folks in the marijuana industry (such as Mr. Johnson) perceive the public of the Rogue Valley to be overwhelmingly accepting of their presence and activity. This sentiment is expressed in comments made by Mr. Johnson such as, “The truth has won out” and “Embrace the future or go move to Idaho because the cannabis industry in Oregon is here to stay.” On the contrary, the conversation regarding the future of the marijuana industry within the valley is still young and it is my intent with this letter to help facilitate dialog. After all, this is a diverse community and it is only reasonable for some to be dutifully critical towards the recently legal recreational marijuana industry. To those growers; it would be advantageous and wise of you to address the questions and criticisms the public has about the marijuana industry in a responsible manner. Mr. MacSweeney asked some of these questions (albeit with a good helping of sarcasm) and I found some of the responses lacking, disingenuous, and inflammatory towards those asking.

To reiterate: How do we ensure all the weed grown in Oregon stays in Oregon’s legitimate markets? How does this community ensure that growers and seasonal workers are paying their fair share of income taxes? How do we minimize conflicts between the marijuana industry’s seasonal workers and others living in and visiting the area? What are the effects of the marijuana industry on property prices and taxes within the valley and how do we ensure that non-growers (other farmers specifically) avoid being priced-out of the region? How does the community plan to mitigate environmental degradation caused by the marijuana industry? What are the moral implications?

It is discouraging to facilitate dialog when individuals in our community want only to present the marijuana industry as a life-saving endeavor. It’s indicative that Mr. Johnson wishes to support this sentiment with his statement, “You’re wrongly assuming that Oregon doesn’t need a lot of cannabis. It does. For many this is life-saving medicine.” It is my impression that in terms of consumption, marijuana is primarily an intoxicant and secondarily a medicine. I do not say this to discredit or trivialize marijuana as a useful medical substance but rather to better define the industry. To paint pot growers as a key sector of the medical industry would be akin to the Rogue Valley Messenger claiming to distribute fire-starter.

Finally, it is difficult to facilitate dialog when growers pose to be a certain buzzword (carbon-neutral, organic, sustainable, GMO-free, etc) to gain the moral high-ground and sympathy of environmentalists. Not all growers are sensitive to these matters. I’ve personally witnessed atrocious practices in the cultivation process of marijuana and I know people that are reluctant or afraid to use marijuana sourced from specific or unknown growers for some of these reasons. However, these issues should diminish as more growers begin following regulation provided by legalization.

Without a conversation informing the direction of this industry and those who operate it, we could see a future in this valley as bleak as places such as where I grew up: Southern Humboldt County. There is no acceptance without a plan. There are legitimate social concerns associated with each question and it is incumbent upon those who wish to profit from the industry to take the lead in addressing them.

Thank you for your time,

Shannon Filbey

Hey Messenger: People around me always accuse me of talking too much, babbling, ranting, etc.  I’ve even had a girlfriend break up with me for it. I know my brothers and sisters are annoyed by me because sometimes I don’t get invited to major family events. I noticed that I don’t invited to the events that specifically involve big dinners of a bunch of people sitting around a table or events where there are maybe a bunch of people in a small space. They also accuse me of not thinking before I talk and just saying whatever pops into my head. Sometimes I will even make tasteless jokes and immediately regret it, or worse, not notice til someone mentions it later. I’ve made entire rooms go silent and women turn red. My job involves talking to people and selling things, so in that area of life at least I am making money off it. Is there any advice you can give me on this? Can people change something like this?


Dear Anonymous: “Can people change something like this?” Not without some serious willful intent. Personally, I would not worry about it. Human beings being annoying is just normal. Also, there are much worse things to be if you think about it. Like an actual bad person. You said “a girlfriend,” which means you have had more than one. You can’t be that bad if you have a dating life. You have a job that you are doing well in, which also means you can’t be that bad. Similarly, brothers and sisters do shady shit like not inviting each other to events all the time, also completely normal. Regarding the concern of not thinking before you speak, that is actually a basic characteristic of extroversion, which applies to half the population. Stop worrying.


Hey Messenger: I have a significant other who always farts in bed and I think it’s disgusting. They think it’s funny. I haven’t said anything because I was raised in a family where we just don’t confront people about embarrassing things. I know my mom hid the fact that she thought my dad smelled like “beef chili” if he didn’t shower that day for like, three decades. I don’t want to end up like that! I don’t know if it’s easier to summon the courage to confront this, or to learn to not let it bother me like it did my mom.
Dear J.N., For you? It sounds like learning not to let it bother you might actually be easier.
I’m kidding! This is a pretty silly problem, but a problem that could certainly grow as years pass. Might I suggest a silly solution to match? Decide on a day to have this conversation, but make sure you pick a day at least a week from now to prep yourself mentally. Circle it on your calendar and put an alarm in your phone. On the day of, put on the outfit that makes you feel strong and powerful when you look in the mirror. Play the soundtrack from Rocky in your car. Punch the air a few times at stoplights on the way to work. Play the Rocky soundtrack again when you get home and punch the air a few more times. Eat something invigorating for dinner, whatever this might be for you. A bloody steak or maybe some nasty kale shake? It really depends on how you roll. When the time comes for the big confrontation, stay in this character to ensure a confident delivery laced with humor.


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