Need for Legal Weed. Not Steed!

Thursday, a gal-pal persuaded me to venture out into the World. She had one party tip, but it was much too early; prefunking was required. Else I’d lose my motivation and go to bed early with a book.

Or so I threatened…

“Where should we meet?”

She answered with a question, “Where’s boys at?”

“Heck if I know. Rontoms? Uh… What kind of boys? East Side? West Side?” Waited two whole minutes with no response before I continued, “Think I might stay in. Losing my mojo.”

“Really? I’m ready to fly.”

She doesn’t mean ready like you or I mean ready. She runs on her own time. Gotta use a bit of mental gymnastics to get her moving. Sometimes, Reverse Psychology.

Put on decent clothes. Braided my hair, changed my mind, unbraided it. Took my time shutting down, securing the house (with my newly acquired obsessive compulsive behavior, thanks to the robbery). Finally headed out the door.

Still managed to beat her to Rontoms.

It was a packed because, surprise! OPB’s Think Out Loud was holding a town hall symposium on WEED!

Here’s what we gleaned:

There’s one dude in the audience who doesn’t smoke grass. (We know this because he announced it, before asking his question.) He’s got an afro, glasses and a hip sack, some sort of cross between Russell Simmons and the late/great painter, Bob Ross. Other than That Guy, everyone cheered at various intervals throughout the presentation, whenever there’s something positive said about our new special friend, Legal Marijuana.

What does LM mean for Oregon?

Oregon’s black market for marijuana is 4-5 times bigger than the medicinal market. A management and tax system for our (already flourishing!) green economy could go a long way toward stymying the black market. AKA: We are losing potential tax revenues as we speak.

Questions about soon-to-be retail weed operations versus the (already in business) medicinal shops. What sense does it make for anyone to keep paying $200 per year to use OMMP (Oregon Medicinal Marijuana Program)? Should that program be eliminated? Or would the retail tax make it cost-effective enough to keep OMMP? Is there a magic number? Is it even possible to calculate? What remains unwritten or unseen?!

If there is no OMMP, it might force needy patients to buy from the retail stores… To pay a tax for medicine? Obscene.

Discussed our two current case studies: Washington, where the weed tax is so bloated, ends up fueling the black market. And Colorado, which seems somewhat better-off with a lower tax, but is posting less-than-predicted tax revenues.

Concerns about Big Marijuana. Oregonians prefer to avoid “going corporate” whenever possible. There’s no cost-effect analysis for study, because this is unchartered territory. Do we even have a choice? It there’s Big Money to be made in Oregon’s green economy, we can expect Big Marijuana to absorb a significant share.

“What’s wrong with a Starbucks of weed?” Asks the moderator.

Stoned guy in the audience shouts, “Everything!”

For input on widespread social changes, OPB brought a Professor of Sociology:

Legitimacy of marijuana removes the justification for a widespread stigma against users. Also, LM creates an ability to conduct valuable new research… where Oregon should be at the forefront! The Professor then summarized his opinion by inventing a new word: Legitization.

He doesn’t foresee any uptick in the number of users. “People who already use will keep using. People who don’t use, won’t.” And that retail customers will be “Oregonians over 62” as if there’s some sort of weed-access handicap for the elderly.

Who doesn’t have days when their stoner friend/weed dealer is MIA? Or perhaps, have a little taste in variety? Something tells me, these shops will have a much broader demographic than the Professor impugns.

A gal in the audience argued, there absolutely WILL be social changes. For example, at Thanksgiving this year, her family kicked off a new tradition. Instead of drinking, they opted to burn one down together. Cheers all around.

We were occupying the small area just inside the door, chatting with security.

“How come none of these people has given me a joint yet?” Asked he, when I mentioned, many of those who passed between us, reeked of dankest weed.

Standing across from him, half the people entering the bar tried to show me their ID.

I joked, “Maybe we should tax em, when they cross the Rontoms threshold. Both ways. Just like the CRC.” (Code for Columbia River Crossing, biggest bridge debacle in recent Oregon history.) “Let’s tax the RTC!”

Another comment from an audience member, started with an apology. Pardon the term, but the root of the social problem is, in a nutshell, the “niggerization” of marijuana users. This received nervous chuckles among the crowd, seemed to have the moderator blushing. Had a distinct feeling, if they could’ve cut to a commercial, they would have. Maybe I’d have phrased the notion differently.

Either way, we can celebrate. With increasing exposure (as more people “come out of the closet” regarding use), in concert with de-criminalization, social norms will continue shifting toward a more tolerant stance on marijuana.

Post-presentation, made our way to the patio to get lit among the trees. Met someone commonly known (on YouTube) as Household Hacker. The guy has well-over 2.7 million followers. Wow.

The three of us moseyed to the Body Party at Holoscene, where another male member joined our group. But the dance party was weak. Headed to the nearest strip bar, Sassy’s, across the street. (For some reason, no one was as enthusiastic about this as me.) Within a space of less than 50 feet, picked up yet another dude. Sergei.

Noticed a rapid-blooming bromance between Sergei and Household Hacker. Unfortunately, something about HH set off the bouncer at the club; he was refused. He and Sergei (after three attempts to get in) went elsewhere.

Meanwhile, my gal pal was flirting with our last-standing man-friend. Hard.

Pulled her aside and whispered, “Do you actually like him?”

She gave an answer without words. Which I heard, loud and clear: She had the munchies; she wanted him to take us out to eat.

“But we can buy our own food.”

It’s an abuse of power, all too common. Taking, cause we can get away with it. Come on, woman! I wanted to shake her. We get what? Dinner? By wooing a man she’s not even into… at the uncertain cost of his mental health and happiness?! This is the reason, so many men hate us. It fuels bitterness and resent toward women on a grand scale, ultimately souring relations between us.

Went to dinner at Montage. Everyone went home stuffed.

And alone.

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