A Trip to the Cannabis Fair? What??? No Way!

I didn't expect to find George at the fair.

I didn’t know what type of things I would find at the Cannabis Fair, but a painting of George standing in the middle of a marijuana farm and glowing green wasn’t one of them.

 

Occasionally, I slip in a blog that is outside of my 10,000-mile bicycle trek series. Today we are going to a cannabis fair…

So here I was on Saturday morning, staring out our windows at the mountains, listening to the morning news on TV, and wondering what I was going to do with my day. Peggy was back East playing with the kids and grandkids. I had just put up my post on the Scopes Trial, responded to all my comments, and checked in on the people I follow. I was actually caught up on blogging, a rare occasion— as most of you bloggers will recognize.

The weather person was predicting a 110° F degree-day. Playing or working outside wasn’t an option and I had completed most of my indoor chores. In fact, I had just pushed Robota’s button (Robota is our iRobot vacuum cleaner), and she was charging around, sucking up dirt, and cleaning rugs and floors. She’d return to her dock and plug-in when she needed recharging. I do wish she would learn to clean out her dirt bin, though. It’s such a bother; I could use the two minutes for something else… (Grin)

In other words, I had time on my hands. What’s a fellow to do? That’s when the local television anchor announced that the Cannabis Fair was being held at the Jackson County Fairgrounds in the main exhibit hall. Now I love fairs, and I have been seriously deprived this year (if you don’t count the Fur Rendezvous in Anchorage, Alaska and the International Ice Carving contest in Fairbanks). We missed the local Jackson County Fair because we had to go to Sacramento and arrived in Sacramento just as the California State Fair ended. To top off this tale of woe, I am taking a break from Burning Man.

But go to the Cannabis Fair and blog about it? No way! What would people think? And then I thought, why not. Marijuana is now legal in Oregon. In fact, I voted for the measure to legalize it. The majority of Americans support the idea. Why? One reason is that prohibition doesn’t work; it never has. Look at what happened with alcohol in the 1920s. If people wanted a drink, they found it. The main result of the Prohibition was the creation of the American Mafia. The Mob Museum in Las Vegas provides an excellent history of how it happened.

A similar thing happened with marijuana. Smoking a joint in the 1950s could lead to a 10-year prison sentence and a fine of $20,000— for a first time offender. Did this stop marijuana use? Remember the 60s? I do, vaguely (kidding). Our demand for marijuana, combined with laws against cultivation, led to its illegal production. What a surprise. Millions, and even billions of dollars were to be made. Drug cartels sprang up like weeds outside of the US to supply us. Tragically, thousands have been killed and whole political systems corrupted as a result. Here, billions of tax dollars (that is your money and mine) have gone into creating large government agencies that haven’t made a dent in the flow of pot.

Maybe the billions we spent on trying to suppress marijuana would be worth it, if the drug were the devil it was portrayed to be in Reefer Madness and other such anti-pot campaigns. But the truth is— it isn’t. The negative physical and social impacts are no worse than alcohol, and may indeed be less. A growing body of evidence suggests that a number medical benefits derive from cannabis. Contrast this with the health effects of tobacco. Numerous states have passed laws making medical marijuana use legal. And several have now made it legal for recreational use as well.

Cloth hanging art found at the Cannabis Fair in Jacksonville County, Oregon.

I am not sure what the artist had in mind with this cloth hanging I found at the Fair, but I thought it provided a good perspective on how people view the effects of marijuana. On the left is the perspective of the cannabis industry, the pro-legalization forces and most users. On the right is how those who support the Reefer Madness point of view see it.

But it’s time to climb down off my soapbox (sort of). We have a fair to go to! I didn’t have a clue about what I was going to find. Let me start with noting there were no pigs, or goats, or bunny rabbits— the usual reasons I go to a fair. This was a serious endeavor. Pot growing is big business for small farms in my neck of the woods. Six are visible along the 30-mile road between where I live on the Applegate River and Medford. They hardly blend in.

The law requires that marijuana farmers put their crops behind 8-foot fences if they are located within 150 feet of the highway, supposedly to protect children from seeing them. Instead the fences serve as huge billboards that scream: WE GROW POT! If you can find a six-year-old in Jackson County that doesn’t know what is happening behind those fences, I’d be surprised. And you can bet they are much more intrigued by the hidden marijuana than they would be if the plants were simply grown out in the open like any other crop. Plus the fences are butt-ugly.

Marijuana farms that are visible from the road in Oregon, are required to be surrounded by 8-foot fences.

This fence, legally required by Oregon law to conceal a cannabis farm, is about a mile away from my house.

I wandered around from booth to booth at the fair, taking photos for my blog (after asking permission) and chatting with folks tending the booths. There was potting soil and pot pots. There were salves and seeds. There were lawyers and accountants and security specialists and equipment sales people. One man was offering a bud trimmer for $300 that looked like a combination of an electric razor and a mini-hedge trimmer. He provided a demonstration. Bzzzzzz! I could picture him at a cannabis shop saying, “This Bud’s for you.”

Pots for growing marijuana on display at the Cannabis Fair in Jackson County, Oregon.

I couldn’t help but think pot pots when I saw these. And please note: they are made in the USA.

And of course you need potting soil for pot pots.

And of course you need premium potting soil for pot pots. What better than Cloud 9, Zen Blend, and Gaia’s Gift?

And you have to decide what type of cannabis you are going to plant. There are literally hundreds of string that have been developed, all with different strengths, and if you accept the literature, different qualities.

And you have to decide what type of cannabis you are going to plant. There are literally hundreds of strains that have been developed, all with different strengths, and, if you accept the literature, qualities.I wonder which one will give me an irresistible craving for ice cream?

In addition to all of the services available for growers at the Cannabis Fair, there were also items for consumers, such as this magical butter makers. Grind up your cannabis, drop it in the pot, add butter, simmer for an hour, strain the results, and you are ready to make cookies!

In addition to all of the services available for growers at the Cannabis Fair, there were also items for consumers, such as these magical butter pots. Grind up your cannabis, drop it in the pot, add butter, simmer for an hour, strain, and you are ready to make cookies!

I wandered into a dome tent set up by Pacific Domes. It reminded me of the structures at Burning Man. Even some of the wall hangings seemed familiar. And there was the painting of George Washington enjoying a pipe I featured at the top of the blog. Robert, the account executive, told me that a lot of their tents do make it to Burning Man. I asked him how they handled the windstorms. “They are designed to withstand gusts up to 8o miles per hour,” he told me.

A dome tent from the Pacific Dome company on display at Cannabis Fair in Jackson County, Oregon.

Both domed tents and greenhouses were promoted at the fair for growing marijuana.

Dome tent for growing cannabis at the Cannabis Fair in Jackson County, Oregon.

The tent was appropriately camouflaged.

Cannabis art found at the Cannabis Fair in Jackson County, Oregon.

The wall hangings in the tent reminded me very much of Burning Man, although you don’t flaunt marijuana use in Black Rock City. The event is crawling with law enforcement people happy to bust you.

All types of pipes were available for smoking, some even glowed in the dark under a black light. The folks at Bayshore Smoking Glass from Coos Bay broke out several for me to photograph. Some of the pipes were quite attractive, and some were downright funny. How would you like your pot pipe to look like an octopus?

Cannabis pipes for smoking marijuana found at the Cannabis Fair in Jackson County, Oregon.

I found the variety of pipes fun. What can I say. An incredible amount of creativity goes in to producing them.

A variety of pipes for smoking marijuana at the Cannabis Fair in Jackson County, Oregon.

They come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

This one even glowed when placed under a black light.

This one even glowed in the dark.

"Living the Pipe Dreams" cannabis pipes on display at the Cannabis Fair in Jackson County, Oregon.

Dianne told me I could photograph her art work if I put her card in the picture.

Bongs for smoking cannabis at the Cannabis Fair in Jackson County, Oregon.

I also found these bongs, or water pipes, rather unique.

Maybe you aren’t into smoking but still want to indulge. Then there are edibles, or medibles for medical marijuana. I stopped by a booth featuring Mary Lou’s Edibles and talked with Mary Lou. She had some delicious looking peanut butter cookies on display. “Are these samples?” I asked. (While no marijuana was for sale at the fair, some booths were offering free samples that you were required to take off of the premises before consuming.) “No,” she said, “but you can go online and order them.” She handed me her card. It announced, “Made with Oregon Cannabis and Love by the Happy Granny.” I’ll bet she is.

The rules were quite clear about not consuming marijuana at the Fair.

The rules were quite clear about not consuming marijuana at the Fair. Oregon state law prohibits consumption in public areas.

Kettle Corn anyone?

Kettle Corn anyone? A number of booths had edibles on display. They ranged from kettle corn, to chocolate, to cookies, to brownies and candy. An important issue is keeping these products away from children.

Mimim's medical marijuana being displayed at the Cannais Fair in Jackson County, Oregon.

When edibles are used for medical purposes, they are called ‘medibles.’ I share a concern with the cannabis industry that the pharmaceutical industry will step in, patent medicines, and charge a hundred times more for medical marijuana than people presently pay. I feel the same way about agribusiness stepping in and wiping out the thousands of small farms that now grow cannabis.

A series of lectures were being offered and I stopped by to listen to one being given by Pioneer Pete Gendron. Pete represents Oregon’s marijuana growers on the state level. I am assuming that his pioneer status comes from being one of Oregon’s original pot growers. He certainly looks the part. He is also a highly intelligent and articulate man. He talked about cannabis politics in Oregon. I learned the reason behind the 8-foot fences from him. I also learned that marijuana isn’t quite the water hog it is claimed to be. Alfalfa requires seven times as much water to grow.

Pioneer Pete was one of a number of people who made presentations at the Cannabis Fair on the various aspects of marijuana farming.

Pioneer Pete Gendron was one of a number of people who made presentations at the Cannabis Fair on the various aspects of marijuana farming and consumption.

Today, the Drug Enforcement Agency, DEA, continues to label marijuana as a class-1 drug, on par with heroin. Pete told us that when the cannabis industry requested an opportunity to prove it didn’t belong at that level, the DEA said, “We can’t do that. It is a class-1 drug,” i.e. it is illegal to use so any evidence you gather using it is illegal. Makes complete sense, right. Have you ever read Joseph Heller’s Catch 22?

The times they are a-changing, however. Cannabis plants will join carrots and cabbages at this year’s Oregon State Fair. How much more mainstream can you go? California will vote on legalization for recreational use this fall. On the national level, the Democratic Platform includes a plank that would push for legalization nation-wide. It is only a matter of time.

That’s it for the break! It’s back to bicycling in my next blog. We have a mountain range to climb over: the Great Smokies!

82 comments on “A Trip to the Cannabis Fair? What??? No Way!

  1. Curt, I’ve read some wild things on the blogs but this must be one of the most unusual! A cannabis fair! Unreal! Say fair in the UK and you’ve got a kids dance show, some games, stalls and if lucky a beer tent. Sounds like an unusual day out. 😀😀

    • I know, Annika. Couldn’t resist going to see what it was all about. Besides, I have an obligation to my followers to occasionally take them to places they may not have been. 🙂 Pretty wild! –Curt

    • Confusing, isn’t it. I certainly don’t claim any expertise, Gerard. Far from it, obviously. But there are several promising leads on medical marijuana. Even the DEA seems excited about its potential for children’s epilepsy. I have an inherent dislike for the big drug companies, especially in the US where they are so dammed exploitive and uncontrolled. The more life-threatening disease you have, the more they charge for the products.It borders on criminal. To the degree cannabis/marijuana/pot/whatever proves to be valuable from a medical perspective, you can bet they will try to corner the market.
      Weren’t the pipes fun? –Curt

  2. Legalization is on the ballot for Arizona in November.
    Indeed, big pharma and agribusiness will step in when they will with nothing much I can for see to prevent that. But I do not believe it will happened until after Federal laws change.
    Thank you for sharing the fair. These are indeed amazing times we live in!📮

    • Never dull, eh. The thing about marijuana/cannabis farming is that the product is such that a farmer can make money on a small plot of land. I don’t expect that will change. Big pharma is another issue. It needs to be dealt with on a wide range of issue. It will be interesting to see what happens in Arizona. What are the polls showing? Of course the whole Arizona election appears to be very interesting this year. –Curt

  3. Fascinating post Curt. It’s ridiculous the amount of money spent – unsuccessfully – to suppress it. I can only think it’s lobbyists with a vested interest that has created the pressure over the years. It’s much the same in Canada now – the end of suppression is nigh!
    Alison

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Sylvia. I enjoyed writing it. It is one of the issues I feel strongly about because there are clear and better solutions than the one we came up with. The tail that wags this country often goes down strange paths I have a hard time comprehending. 🙂 –Curt

  4. Very fun. I’ve spent a decent amount of time in Colorado in recent years where things are similar open on pot and its consumption. I’m all for legalization myself; I think it’s a huge waste of money and effort to try and suppress it. And as you noted, driving it underground just makes it all the more appealing to some!

    • Colorado is definitely a leader in the effort to legalize cannabis, Lex. If California votes yes in November, then the whole West Coast will be in agreement. One aspect of legalization that I didn’t mention is it also allows for a degree of control over production. We can deal with such issues as environmental concerns and quality issues. Thanks. –Curt

    • A sense of humor (as you always show) goes a long ways in this day of extreme pronouncements on almost everything, Dave. It is like we have lost the ability to laugh. At least it seems that way when I turn the television on. And thanks on the pics. –Curt

  5. This is such a great post! Love the history, facts and humor throughout. Very happy to see this issue gaining acceptance nationwide. We have bigger issues that could benefit from how much we’ve put into fighting this one.

  6. While I quite agree with you that legalisation is the best way forward reducing both criminality and harm, it looks as though cannabis is no better (and probably no worse) than alcohol. My understanding of the research is that there is an association between heavy teenage consumption and raised incidence of schizophrenia. There are also concerns about memory and long term use. My research has never dealt directly with these questions http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(87)92620-1/abstract and this study is old, but looks reliable, this one more recent http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.334.3701&rep=rep1&type=pdf. This should sort out any of that spare time you thought you had.

    • I am certainly not advocating for creating a nation of potheads, Hilary. Any drug has potentially bad effects, as we have learned. There is an epidemic of painkillers striking the US now. And you certainly want to keep marijuana out of the hands of children as much as possible. One strong point for legalization, from my perspective is that cannabis, or any drug, is easier to control… not only in its use, but in its production (from both an environmental and quality perspective). I spent a couple of decades fighting the tobacco industry. It is a scary industry and addiction is not pretty. Abuse can be reduced however. One of my efforts led to the largest prevention campaign in history. During that period California dropped from having one of highest incidence rates of tobacco use in the nation to second from lowest. So I am a strong believer in utilizing a significant portion of tax dollars generated from legalized marijuana for education for wise use and prevention. Whether that will happen is another issue. Politicians much prefer to use revenue for potholes that they do for prevention. Thanks much for your thoughtful input. –Curt

  7. There’s one thing I’ve wondered about, after hearing complaints from people who’ve been in states where cannabis is legal. After all the struggles over second-hand cigarette smoke, why is second-hand marijuana smoke seemingly getting a pass? What are the regulations in Oregon? If an establishment is smoke-free, is it completely smoke-free? It seems as though it ought to be, but sometimes isn’t.

    Great post, by the way. There’s a good bit of discussion about medicinal use here in Texas. Honestly, I can’t remember where our laws are now — I think it’s still illegal. But is cannabis around? Oh, yes. After all, we’ve had Willie and his bus for decades!

    • There is no smoking in public in Oregon, Linda. So far, it doesn’t seem to be an issue. If it becomes one, I am pretty sure the same rules will be applied with slight modification of legislation. (I participated in and led some of the earliest efforts in the nation to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke.)
      I was listening to Willie the other day and thought about his use of marijuana.Contrast that with Merle Haggard’s, “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee.” 🙂 –Curt

  8. Why, Curt, I had no idea.

    A friend went to Hempfest in Seattle a couple weeks ago, pretty sure he came back stocked for 2017. I read through your entire post hoping for the paragraph that asked why the walls were melting and your T-shirt was talking, but nothing. You big tease.

    PS: If you follow my blog, did you happen to get my latest post in your feed? It didn’t show up other places and I’m trying to problem solve.

  9. What a fun fair! I cannot imagine a fair like this happening in Ohio. Our marijuana legalization bill failed miserably. Maybe we didn’t understand all the fun of picking out pipes and such. And we have HUGE county fairs full of ribbon-winning produce. Surely a 4-H Club or FFA (Future Farmers of America) would be thrilled to enter. 😉

    Seriously, this sounds like a fair I’d love to partake in. Thanks for sharing!

  10. As always, you take me to places I never even knew existed. What great pics to show me this other world! And the names — Magical Butter, Mimi’s Medibles, Bud’s Kettle Nuds! Oh, my. I guess there’s a fair somewhere every day with things I never knew I needed.

  11. Good informative post Curt. Cannabis may not be legal here, but it is definitely around. At a recent party I talked with a man who grew “color” pots for nurseries and also grew three types of marijuana. Several others joined the conversation and I learned for the first time that there were plants of different strengths. Quite fascinating to a non-smoker. What is the difference between the “dangerous” smoke of cigarettes and the smoke of cannabis?

    • Cigarettes are packed full of dangerous chemical additives, for both the smoker and the nonsmoker, Kayti. I spent a couple of decades of my life fighting the tobacco industry. There is nothing good that can be said about tobacco. Marijuana apparently has a number of medical benefits. I don’t think nonsmokers should be subjected to second hand smoke from marijuana either, however. –Curt

    • Went to your site. Very interesting. And needed. Glad you found my article on the Cannabis Fair of interest. We could be way ahead on Cannabis research if it hadn’t been for what I can only describe as the stubborn blindness of those who opposed marijuana use. Whatever their position on recreational use, they should have allowed medical research to go on. Thanks for stopping by. –Curt

  12. Looks like an eye opening experience! Seems like a lot of fun, randomness, and good vibes. I’m attending THC Fest in Bend in a few weeks and will be looking for similar inspiration. Great pics!

  13. Times they ARE a-changin.’ (Hey, congratulations to Dylan on the Nobel Prize for literature) And yes I did read Catch 22 when I was in the 8th grade. My history teacher was adamant about getting us started on our literary education early, and recommended that one, as well as On the Beach, All Quiet on the Western Front, and the daunting Centennial, by Michener. Anyway, isn’t it just like legislation to require fences which draw a thousand times more attention than if nothing was there. How can so many people be idiotic enough not to know this?

      • Both On the Beach and Catch 22 blew me away as a teenager. Emotions can be so overwhelming at that age. I was flabbergasted to realize that kind of choice could be possible in the world, and it did help me consider the people face challenges I could never imagine, and that I couldn’t judge others based on my own experience. Not that these things had actually happened, but it just brought to mind the idea that I didn’t know everything. (That’s always a good lesson to figure out as early as possible)

      • I think I caught up with Catch 22 in the Peace Corps but Berkeley had already taught me that I didn’t know everything. 🙂 I remember those emotions from high school. I don’t need to go through that again, Crystal! –Curt

  14. Wow! In my state, medical use is legal but recreational use is still not. It’s on the ballot for this year’s elections but I’m even hearing other medical users say it’s a bad idea to fully legalize it at this time. It’s hard to get full, straight answers on why but I hear terms like “it’ll negatively affect the medical side” or “big pharma” or “hurt the smaller dispensary businesses” I just don’t understand how. Do you have any thoughts on that? Now that it’s legal where you are for both medical and recreational, are you glad? Would you change anything?

  15. wooooow this post is AWESOME from start to finish. I LOVE THE PICTURES especially the artworks as I love to paint myself.
    check out some of my art on my Insta: Speakstrangely
    or some pics of beautiful places to smoke weed in around the world on my blog
    look forward to reading more from you and keep up the awesome posts
    Nat xx

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