Hypocrisy Rules; the State of the Pot Business in Oregon

By Don L. Dupay

June 2012

I've been smoking, buying, selling, and advocating for (in print and on cable TV) the availability of marijuana for medical and casual use, for about 35 years right here in River City. I don’t like the word “pot” because of its negative connotations. But it's the most recognizable name for marijuana; which is by the way, a Spanish word for cannabis, the Latin word for pot. But since most folks wouldn’t know “cannabis” if it ran over them, “pot” is the word I use, so we’re all on the same page.

From a 35-year, local expert, here is the truth: pot is not a drug. It's an herb with unusual properties. Only big pharmaceutical companies make drugs. The first untruth is that pot is a drug! The feds want you to believe it's a drug, so they list it as a schedule one drug, right up there with cocaine and heroin. The other hypocrisy is it's against the law to sell pot. But which law are we talking about? In California it's sold openly in so-called “dispensaries.” For $17 a gram, for example, at Harborside in Oakland.

Federal law says you can't buy or sell pot, California included. States with medical marijuana laws say you can purchase it, grow it, and smoke it. Federal law still says no, that it's a schedule one drug. So since you can't buy it, or sell it, or smoke it, this forces word games, codes and whispers. We “donate” money to the seller, for something they can't sell and they “donate” pot to the medical patient for something they can't afford to purchase. We evade, we avoid, we form cannabis clubs and collectives. Anything to get around the letter of the law. We users are then forced to participate in the hypocrisy with these word games and made up co-ops, making the situation worse.

Oregon jacked up the fee it charges qualified medical patients from $100 to $200, so the state has doubled the fee on something that the feds say we can't have at all! How is that for a little hypocrisy? Who the hell is in charge? What law are we supposed to follow? What am I supposed to do or shall I just ignore it all?

Also damn few politicians in Oregon favor marijuana. It was not politicians who made pot legal for medical use, citizens took action through initiative petitions to make the law. And now that the program has made money over the past several years, the same politicians who didn't want pot in the state, now don't mind taking a couple million dollars from the program to fill holes in the state budget.

This is a defacto tax on sick people and more hypocrisy. Now, lets talk about demand. Unless you're in a local pot business, you don't have a clue about the absolutely insatiable appetite for pot. The demand astounds even me and grows everyday! Ten years ago, when I first obtained my medical marijuana card, we were closing in on 2,000 patients. Dr Leveque, Paul Stanford and myself talked about it on a cable TV show, “Cannabis Common Sense.” Now, ten years later, we are closing in on 60,00 patients! How is that for an increase in demand?

Also pushing the demand higher are various cultural ties to pot, from within our increasingly diverse ethnic populations. Just try to separate the Jamaican community from their “ganja,” black folks from their good old “weed,” Mexicans from their “marijuana,” Hawaiians from their “pacalolo,” or Samoans from their “maluaga.” It's like trying to separate the Chinese from fireworks. It doesn't work. Give it up. Stop trying.

The demand is increasing and there is nothing the government can do about it. The law of supply and demand is more powerful than the government's ability to control it. The law of supply and demand, the law of gravity, and the law of averages are all beyond our ability to control.

Now lets talk about doctors in the pot business. Physicians swear to the Hippocratic oath when they become doctors. The oath says first, “do no harm.” Now doctor, if you know about a medicine that might help my chronic pain and you don't tell me about it because of personal reasons or the federal government saying you can't recommend it, then you are guilty of malpractice and in violation of your Hippocratic oath. Ignoring the Hippocratic oath is hypocrisy!

Dococrit is my newly invented word for doctors who ignore the Hippocratic oath. The most evil of these dococrit's are the ones who operate so-called pain management clinics for folks in chronic pain. They dispense addictive narcotic pain killers like Oxycodone. Once addicted, their pain patients are like slaves. I call the addicted patients 'slaves to the drugs' but dococrit's call them repeat customers. Dococrit's do not tell their addicted patients about the pain-killing benefits, the CBC's and the Cannabinol in pot or attitude improvements due to the THC in pot.

And isn't medicine supposed to make you feel better? Rather than numb and confused? A dococrit is any doctor who does not follow the oath he/she took to Hippocrates and instead follows Big Pharma and allows those corporations to dictate their business. There is a big steaming load of hypocrisy in the dococrit business! Amen to that!

Now lets talk about growing pot. The cultivation is hard, heavy, hot, dirty, frustrating, and time- consuming work. When it's a labor of love, this makes it better, but not much. In my ten years of growing pot, I've grown in five-gallon buckets, 35 gallon garbage cans, in bathrooms, bedroom closets, closets under the stairs, and indoors with dozens of hundred thousand watt lights. And in multiple locations, outdoors on Sauvie Island and in buckets of water in my garage. (They call this hydroponics.)

I've grown it all ways and all different ways. “Aeroponic cloning” which is growing plants in a water mist, without any dirt must have come from the space program. They knew they had to have plants in space but they didn't want to haul all that dirt up there. My advice is to stay away from hydroponics! Every bucket, every hose connection, every nutrient reservoir, every pump is one more thing that can go wrong. Put your plants in dirt; there are enough problems in this medium.

Additionally, every 1000 watt light bulb you add will increase your light bill about $20 per month, along with encouraging spider mites, which are an everyday threat to your crop. Spider mites like your pot about 10 times as much as you do and can envelope your plants and destroy them. Although they are tiny, they really are spiders and they really do spin webs.

All growers are in a hurry to harvest. This encourages over-fertilization of the plant to get it to hurry up and at the same time encourages an early harvest to get the pot on the market.

I've looked at dozens of pounds of pot under my magnifying glass and seen spider mite damage and signs of over fertilization. Too many crops are harvested before the tri-cromes have become mature and turned amber. This will certainly get the recreational user high but is not the best medicine for patients because the pot was harvested before its time. Growers need to sell, to recoup their investment in soil, fertilizer, power and time. Growing medicine is a money-driven operation. The medical patient is not the first priority; cash is the first priority and always will be.

Now that you can see the difficulties and contradictions in law and principles, newcomers to the medical marijuana program must be aware of the next hypocrisy. Beware of any grower you may meet at an Oregon Normal meeting or other members-only meetings, who says “I will give you free pot, up to two ounces a month or a pound in the fall and a pound in the spring. All you have to do is give me your medical card so I can legally grow for you, some serious cash so I can buy the equipment, fertilizer and soil, and then of course you must wait for the plants to grow and be harvested (a three or four month wait.) If you hear this promise from anyone, run, don't walk, to the nearest exit and hold tight to your wallet. With my advice, you've just escaped being ripped off.

What must the new patient do then, to get their medicine? Sadly, the only real way, the only safe way, is to grow your own. Failing that, perhaps your mother can grow it for you, but then only if she has the soul and compassion of Mother Teresa with a green thumb. The fact is, in the ten years I've been growing pot and active in the pot business, not once (I repeat not once!) did I ever see a good relationship or a good outcome for anyone with a hired grower. The patients always get ripped off, the grower walks away claiming spider mites got the crop, the plants died, the cops took them, the plants were stolen, etc. He got his and you got screwed.

Perhaps, just perhaps, if you can't grow it yourself and Mother Teresa is not available, you might be just as well off buying your pot from the guy you always bought it from. Chances are your old dealer gets his supply from a medical grow. There is a lot of “leakage” of medical pot into the black market and I'm okay with this. I think every adult should be able to use the plants God gave us. Government officials falsely think they can legislate away or take away a natural right! I consider this to be arrogance beyond belief! Legalize pot, yes or no? No, no, a thousand times no! Emphatically no! Does my answer surprise you? I'll tell you why.

Let me bring in the Dandelion analysis; both pot and Dandelions are weeds. Both groups have a support group and a hate group. Some folks like Dandelions and eat the greens, like they would mustard greens or collard greens; a food source. Some people think Dandelions are a pesky weed, growing in their front lawn and in cracks in the driveway. They buy poison and kill them. One weed, with two different points of view. Now suppose the government made Dandelions illegal and a schedule one drug. An ounce of Dandelion leaves and flowers will get you federal prison time.

So, now the pro Dandelion folks get up in a huff and say “Well! Since the government made it illegal, we have to make it legal!” No, you don't! You make an end-run around the law and remove the word Dandelion” from the statute. This returns that weed to a simple status of neither legal or illegal.

Its the same with pot. Just because the government wrongly made it illegal, we proponents don't need to make it legal. Make an initiative petition end run around the law and remove the words “Marijuana/cannabis” from the statute. Tear the teeth out of the law and the balls off those who dared to propose it. Return the plant to the simple status of 'weed.' Just like it was, when George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew it and smoked it. Washington was purported to “require” it. Which was a word he used in a letter to one of his employees. And who does a person who “requires” it smoke it with? Probably Tom Jefferson and his cronies. Pot has always been a social thing. They smoked pot with their cronies. I don't know what they drank; probably something strong!

Fast forward to now. Remove the word “cronies” and insert the word “homies.” Now we smoke pot with our “homies” and drink whatever. It's how we roll today. It's how we chill today. The epiphany here should be, although the culture between our forefathers, (the old white guys) and the ethnic mix of cultures today has changed dramatically, what has not changed is the weed! Its the same pot! I don't support the Oregon Cannabis tax act or any legislation that seeks to legalize pot. It's the wrong legislation.

But what if this does become the law in Oregon? What if pot becomes legal? How does this brilliantly successful multi-million dollar black market pot business integrate itself into a legal system where only a few select growers can compete? There are thousands of growers in Oregon and they are all used to selling their pot for $200 for an ounce and up. The $50 an ounce price, bandied about by some proponents of legalization is just a guess. I think its unrealistic.

The demand for pot that exists today will not go away if legalization occurs. It will increase. How many growers are going to be willing to sell their $200 ounces for $50? None that I know of and I know a lot of them! The only thing I see bringing down the cost of pot, is cheaper growing costs.

Is the price of pot growing equipment going to come down? No. Is the power company going to give pot growers a cheaper electric rate? No. So what happens? Pot will not be cheaper. Remember the law of supply and demand? No profit, no product! If Fred Myers couldn't make money selling bananas, there wouldn't be any bananas in the store!

The DEA strategy to enforce federal marijuana laws in Oregon, (if they ever had a strategy) has failed badly. They could not anticipate the voracious demand for pot or the equally voracious supply chain. They could have arrested each medical marijuana patient for violating federal law; that would have been a big chill. They could have told the IRS about pot doctors taking their payment for services rendered in cash. Crisp $100 bills are hard to trace and doctors know that. They could have arrested the doctors for “conspiracy to facilitate access to a federally-controlled substance.” They could have arrested medical marijuana clinic owners for “facilitating access to a federally-controlled substance.” They could have arrested state workers in the medical marijuana program for “facilitating access to a federally-controlled substance.”

                                But they didn't.

And now with almost 60,000 medical marijuana patient's its too late. The DEA lost the battle in Oregon, just as they have in California. Too much demand and too much supply for these authorities to deal with. This doesn't mean they're not still dangerous because they are! They want you in prison.

If I've left you in a swirl of hypocrisy, it's because I've told you the truth. And if pot becomes legal in Oregon and you don't like what the government is selling at their store, then perhaps you should buy it from the same guy you've always bought it from. Odds are, he gets it from a medical grow you don't know about a couple of miles from your house.

Failing that, there is always “that guy” sitting on a park bench on Waterfront Park, down by the public restrooms. Wear a shirt or hat with a marijuana leaf on it so he knows you're cool. And no, I don't know his name.

By Don DuPay