There have been two changes since the last long-time post.
Before I tell you what’s different, I’d better explain a little bit, so you don’t click the delete button, thinking you’re reading about a different Universe.
Now keep in mind, most of Oregon’s population lives on the west side of the state. The side that’s only an hour away from sandy beaches or snow-capped mountains, depending on which direction you drive.
The rest of Oregon … well, we call it the “dry side.” About the only way they get rain is in a prayed-up frenzy.
But truth be told, with so few people navigating the gut-jiggling roads, the dry side used to be a great place to cook up 100-proof hooch.
Back in the day, if you needed to make a phone call, you went to your nearest moonshiner. The “shiners” were the only ones who could afford a phone. It was a business expense. With only one way through the pass, revenuers would travel through the first town, and phones would ring down the train line. Smoke stacks on stills came down (the tell tale sign). And the government men were left staring at ranches, cattle, and tight-lipped folks.
Fast forward a hundred years to Oregon’s recently-passed marijuana bill. It’ll soon be legal to grow 4 plants and stockpile 8 oz. (A pound is worth ~$1600. Better than beef prices, huh!). But I don’t think personal possession is the main reason the bill passed.
Turns out revenues of the green stuff are expected to top 100 million bucks a year.
Now, I’m not a partaker of anything that slows down my remaining 3 brain cells. (I still roll call through cats and kids before I can get my husband’s name to come out in a sentence. My conscious mind doesn’t need any more fog.
But hokey smokes…I rubbed my hands together and thought, Here’s an opportunity to make some big moola. So my first question was…
Will the deer and squirrels get high when they eat my cash crop? Because those *&!%#! creatures chew on everything in my garden that my neighbor’s wandering hound hasn’t wet down.
Unfortunately, according to the Master Gardner at the farmer’s market…well, who else was I going to ask? According to him, marijuana doesn’t kill deer (the cursed tomato-hogging creatures), nor does it get them stoned. Probably all it does is give them the munchies for my roses.
It also turns out that to be a commercial grower, I need a license which costs $1,000 with a $250 application fee. (Additional licenses are needed for processing, distributing, and retailing).
Local horticulturists are now rushing to secure warehouse spaces in the metro areas (grow indoors, free of deer, bugs and eternal cloudiness). And the clever folks on the southern tail of the state (near California) are buying up land and branding their hemp crops as “sunshine” produced. For the laid-back American West…things are picking up.
All this and none of it will be available for sale until 2016.
But the west side of the state is gearing up. Getting ready!! I’ll keep you posted…
….except back on the east side of the state.
Unfortunately, none of this will help the dry side of Oregon. It’s still dry. Even the moonshiners are gone now.
The train cars are still there, but only an occasional locomotive chugs through to pick up a few box cars parked on the tracks.
Everything has its day, then passes.
This latest excitement with bongs and branding shall pass, too. But I bet a hundred years from now those deer will still be eating my roses and folks in eastern Oregon will still be looking for rain.
What else is different? The first book in the Two Pan Trilogy is out.
It’s about the dry side of the state where it’s still wild. But changes of another sort are
rolling toward them.
You can Check it out here if you’d like.
I hope you enjoy what’s left of the West.
NEXT MONTH: What’s the big deal with DEER NUTS?