Southern Oregon in July is a good place to be, with warm sunny days, long evenings and cool nights. The locals are friendly, and a multitude of hemp and pot farms add spice to the landscape of verdant green trees and fields nestled in the surrounding mountains.

We were on our way to a float trip down the Rogue River, the ‘Wild and Scenic” portion replete with salmon, bears and other denizens of the river banks. Spending some time before and after the trip at the local Farmer’s Market we were lucky to be able to try nitro coffee, freshly caught seafood, and wild morels. Local weed was great!

The river was as it has always been, a place where you leave your personal and business matters at the launch spot and use whatever skills and preparation that your group has to make your experience work to its fullest. It can be a great time or the opposite, just as life itself.

Leaving the river, reality strikes hard. Back in cell range, we find out that an old friend and co-conspirator has lost his battle with cancer. Oregon’s Governor had just signed a bill giving law enforcement a green light to go after “hot hemp” grows and Delta 8 after magic mushrooms became legal there last year? Seems like a bit of a dichotomy as both get you pretty high?

We drive out amidst the ominous smoke of the forest fires as we return to the grind. The road trip gave us plenty of time to reflect on the changes that happen in our lives and in places like Mendocino County and Southern Oregon as the legal cannabis machine gives and takes away opportunities for the residents, and the well-funded foreign investors wait in the wings to cash in on opportunities. Will our government ever allow us to compete with the Canadian companies during our lifetime? Or will the lobbyists of the prison industrial complex squash legalization, or big pharma and the rest take it for themselves?

Back at home, the dogs are happy to have us return, we find out that  the stock market has crashed, rebounded, and set new highs. The news tells us about more Covid, and a lot of our friends and associates are just simply having a difficult time. Crazy rising food, gas and lodging costs clobbered our bank account. The river had given us an escape and sanctuary, but society does not. Thank goodness for cannabis!

by David Tobias

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