LETTERS: January 5th Issue
RE: RE: Sarcastic Weed
Dear Daniel MacSweeny: My name is Michael Johnson. I’m a cannabis grower in Southern Oregon, and I felt compelled to respond to your letter (December 15). It’s full of so many inaccuracies and biases, I felt it necessary to correct the record, and respond to your questions as best I could.
When you complain about the fences that we are “hiding behind,” you must be unaware of the root of the problem. Growers are not hiding: it’s the state that mandates the visual barrier. No medical cannabis may be seen from a public roadway, so says the state. If you don’t like the fences, write your State Representative.
And to your question about where will all of the product go? Oregon currently is on track to purchase nearly 60,000 lbs. of flower this year through licensed retailers, and that’s not counting all of the edibles and extracted/concentrated products. That’s not counting all of the unregulated recreational use. And that’s completely ignoring the tens of thousands of Oregonian’s who produce their own cannabis to treat a myriad of illnesses. You’re wrongly assuming that Oregon doesn’t need a lot of cannabis. It does. For many this is life-saving medicine. For a lot more it’s a relatively harmless form of relaxation and recreation.
In response to your questions about our access to banking, it’s been a real struggle. Due to federal banking laws, no local or national banks are willing to work with the industry. There are slowly becoming exceptions, but it’s been a very tough piece of the puzzle. That being said, there are easy way to pay your employees on the books, and pay all of your State and Federal payroll taxes, without having adequate access to the banking system. Don’t accuse us of being criminals, just because you don’t understand banking and payroll.
As far as the harvest laborers that you mention, it’s simply a matter of seasonal agricultural labor, and the labor economy that’s there to serve the needs of the farmers. If you’re familiar with agricultural zone’s in other areas of the country, harvest time brings an influx of labor. Whether it’s Latino farm workers, or tattooed tribal hippies, does it really matter? These aren’t steady jobs; they are seasonal temporary positions. It’s difficult to staff these positions, most people don’t want to do it, and often farmers are happy to take the help they can get.
And to your last point, about how I feel about being out here “growing weed for a living, and raising children?”. I feel fucking awesome. I couldn’t be happier. I produce a carbon neutral product that helps people. I do it organically, and I do it legally. I am proud of my occupation, and I’m tired of Canna-Bigot’s like yourself trying to paint us as poor parents or bad citizens due to our choice of agricultural crop.
I am proud to show my children that I was a part of the revolution that brought this plant from the shadows to the light. Of those who stood up to the lies of prohibition, who risked incarceration, and who brought us to where we are today.
The reefer madness era is over. The truth has won out.
Embrace the future. Or go move to Idaho. Because the cannabis industry in Oregon is here to stay.
– Michael Johnson
RE.: Sarah Westover
Phoenix is in a time of great change. A $72 million freeway is coming to end after 12 years of planning and construction. Phoenix is also the natural gas hub for Southwest Oregon with new pipelines and a direct interstate pipeline connected to the major international lines to the east. The big question where are we going?
– Glenn Archambault
Hey Messenger: I’m a 35 year old father of three. All of my kids have different mothers and it is really hard balancing my time. To make it worse, two of my kids’ moms are both trying to get back together with me. The problem is that I have a different girlfriend and she even thinks she might be pregnant. I just feel like I keep making the same mistakes and I guess I was looking for advice.
Dear B.E.: You are most definitely making the same mistakes repeatedly. You need to stop having unprotected sex with all women, immediately. I am sure you have noticed by now that a child is a huge responsibility. You are very clearly having problems being responsible for the ones you already have. My advice would be: 1) continue to be a good father to the three kids you know you have, 2) shut down the romantic pleas from their mothers, and 3) focus that energy on your current relationship. You two need to find out as soon as possible if she is pregnant, and you need to support her in whatever decision she makes.
Hey Messenger: I’ve been “trolling” this guy through Facebook who believes he is a faith healer for a few days now. He told me that he is the son of God, and that Jesus is the son of himself and God the Father. He also told me he is Adonis in the flesh and that Jesus is actually Cupid. Oh yeah, he also regularly hears the voice of God. I pretended to have AIDS and asked him to heal me to get his attention, and then I pretended that he really did heal me. Then I acted as if I was in love with him. Then he told me that I could come live with him, in his family’s house and we could get married; anyone who marries him gets eternal life. He said that he gets $735 a month in the form of a “crazy check.” I think he’s talking about a disability payment? Anyways, it’s really fun to mess with him but I was wondering if this is morally wrong.
Dear C.C.: Wow. Okay. Wow. Yes, that is probably morally wrong. At the same time, when a person expresses belief in a reality that is so disconnected from ours, it is NOT advised to break their delusions unless you are a doctor who specializes in such sensitive procedures. It can actually be dangerous to the sufferer, or even to the people around them. My advice, if you are asking for it, would be to stop talking to him gradually, but to maintain his narrative as you have been doing. If you want to take the next step and help him, you could get in touch with his local disability office and explain the situation. Your trolling seems to have revealed that he could be on the verge of making rather huge life-altering decisions based on little to no judgment, which could have a seriously adverse consequence. Someone else could come along who is not just pretending and push him too far. Another possibility is that another pretender could come along with much worse intentions, and take advantage of his mental state. It is unfortunate, but it doesn’t sound like he is getting much support from his own family.