A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

What I think about pot

Written January 24th, 2014 by Hasso Hering
Marijuana was one of the things host Jeff McMahon, right, and I were talking about on KGAL's "Valley Talk" Tuesday. Unfortunately, we may have to talk about it again.

Marijuana was one of the things host Jeff McMahon, right, and I were talking about on KGAL’s “Valley Talk” Tuesday. Unfortunately, we may have to talk about it again.

Let me get something off my chest about all this talk about marijuana. It think smoking marijuana in order to relax or feel mellow or something is just plain stupid. I said something like that on KGAL’s “Valley Talk” radio program Tuesday, and now I’m warming to the theme.
Compared to the old days when there was a classy way to smoke a cigarette — in the movies, if nowhere else — sucking on a crumpled, twisted joint even looks ridiculous. Those glass pipes look even worse. The people shown on the news in a frenzy about legalization in Colorado and Washington, some weeks ago, they all looked a little on the mindless side. To be in a joyful frenzy about being allowed to smoke some weed — what does that say about a person?

Lots of people swear by marijuana smoke as a way to relieve certain symptoms of disease or the side effects of treatments. That I can understand. If you’re bending over the toilet throwing up all the time and smoking a joint allows you to stop — that is a reasonable choice.

If you suffer from great pain and the makers of the drugs to treat it charge a thousand bucks a month, sure it makes sense to smoke something that works just as well or better and costs a whole lot less.

But if you looked at some of those goofy faces of young people lighting up outside marijuana stores in Washington and Colorado on TV, you had to feel sorry for them. Or for their parents. As a matter of principle, I’m against the idea that the government can punish citizens for rolling up and lighting any plant material and inhaling the smoke. But making it legal does not mean people should do it or it’s a good idea.

And then along comes President Obama and tells The New Yorker that as someone who smoked pot as a kid, he didn’t think marijuana was any worse than alcohol. Maybe, but at least a beer or a sip of whiskey tastes good going down.

I have no way to back this up: But maybe whatever the president smoked when he was young — and what so many voters smoked then or smoke now — has some relation to the all-around fecklessness of our government and the mess we are in. (hh)

3 responses to “What I think about pot”

  1. Rhea Graham says:

    The good news is … you don’t have to smoke it! Smokeless Cannabis Remedies include many applications such as capsules, tincture, salve, liniment, suppositories, and more. At Albany’s Canna Kitchen and Research, LLC, we convert OMMP patients medical cannabis to a smokeless Cannabis Remedy. It’s a REMEDY, it fixes more ailments that you can “pop a pill” for… and the side effects are euphoria, dry mouth, and sometimes a desire to take a nap if you use Indica during the day. Did you notice it doesn’t say your hair will fall out, you will vomit all day and wish you would just die already? I really hope you will learn more – call and make an appointment to come see us, we can be reached at 541-981-2620. We’re not a dispensary, we were approved to open two years ago and have operated successfully ever since. Thank you!

  2. Jim Engel says:

    Mr Herring, my experience & thoughts on pot comes from 29 years with Albany PD. In the early years, ’71-’85, many of those arrested had pot on them. Very prevalent! Then came the coke years followed by the scourge of crank to our current time. These drugs were encountered often also during arrests.

    All during these years there was boozel. Booze was & is legal. It fueled most every type of incident. Driving, fights, most any kind of dispute, domestic violence, assaults on officers, burglaries, thefts,shoplifting, even to cause death… you name it, booze may have played a part. There’s been no move to go back to prohibition! Booze provides Cities with income from fees & taxes.

    As to pot…NEVER went to a dispute fueled by pot. Never attended an overdose death caused by pot. Never had an arrest problem from a person on pot. Those who smoke plain pot are very mellow people prone to just sit back & relax for the time. I’ll grant you that those who didn’t want to work but wanted to smoke might commit crimes to finance their pleasure. It grows naturally even, not manufactured like booze or drugs.

    As to booze…inhibitions are gone & quite literally the fight is on! As for me, I’d take dealing with a mellow pot smoker to a flag waving, USA loving loud mouthed belligerent drunk ANY time. JE

  3. Greg Bechtel says:

    Rhea is exactly right. As a journalist, I’m sure you can relate to sensationalism in “mainstream media”. What the news outlets in Washington and Colorado don’t show are the 72 year old veterans sitting on their couch munching a gummy bear or toffee to make the pain subside enough to be able to stand up from said couch, watching the same reports you are.
    I’ve said all along our main fight is with stigma. I am not a “pothead”. I smoke sometimes (when the pain warrants immediate attention), but most of the time I eat cookies, cupcakes, or candy bars (hey, it’s the only “junk food” the wife lets me get away with!).

    Smoking the plant is the fastest way to receive the benefits and effective gauge your own effects and volume necessary to consume for those effects, but it does have some adverse side effects (lung damage over time, though no chance of increased cancer risk, and smell as the universal adverse side effects). Of course, I’d happily take the side effects of smoking marijuana over the side effects of say Mirapex (a drug taken for Restless Leg Syndrome).

    I don’t have RLS and I bet it is not pleasant, however, it would be a hard sell to get me to willingly take a pill that can cause: hallucinations, instant unconsciousness (regardless of current activity – basically narcolepsy), low blood pressure, headache, dizziness, feeling faint, nausea, sweatiness, problems with compulsive shopping, compulsive eating, gambling and an increased sex drive.

    I’m not making that up, that’s from the Mirapex Side Effects website. The problem with Big Pharma these days is that it’s all about creating drugs that treat symptoms but not the condition. It’s called repeat business. Take Pill X to treat the symptoms of RLS, but Pill X causes condition Y. Fortunately we have Pill Y to treat artificially created symptom Y. Unfortunately Pill Y causes condition Z. Fortunately….

    We talk to people on a daily basis trying to get off Big Pharma meds through marijuana. Some have actually handed me their medication list to send with their forms to the doctor (as the entire process of getting an OMMP card starts with meeting with the doctor). Some of these lists read like a brand list from Walgreen’s pharmacy. These people take 17 different medications, of which half are taken to deal with the side effects of the other half. It’s ludicrous!

    I’m not a doctor and it’s not for me to tell patients that they can eliminate prescription drugs through marijuana. That’s for their attending physician to decide, however, the studies exist and I heard 2-3 anecdotal stories daily of this happening. Smoking marijuana is the easiest, fastest way to get relief, but it’s only a small fraction of the number of ways in which this natural perfect medication can be administered.

    Lastly, Mr. Hering, I respect your opinion and fifteen years ago signed a contract saying I’d give my life if necessary to defend your right to that opinion. I am of the same opinion about smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. I don’t do either (though I will have a mixed drink on rare occasions), however I don’t have the right to tell other people they can’t. Smoking in public should be illegal, but consuming anything from the privacy of your own home is not mine or the government’s business to regulate, and it certainly isn’t up to a single city to overrule state law because two people on the city council clearly despise either patients or personal freedom, like Albany is trying to do.

    As an aside, and I’ll be explaining this more in detail at the January 27th Planning Commission Meeting (City Hall, 5pm), we are kind of like Canna Kitchen now. We are no longer a “dispensary” (until we get our state licensing) and instead went back to our roots of patient outreach – basically just playing middle-man between trusted growers and patients (we just create relationships between patients and other patients/growers/caregivers and don’t dispense anything ourselves).

    Greg Bechtel


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