"What a wonder life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

Oct 25, 2020

Magic Mushrooms, Anyone?

I placed my ballot in the unguarded white mailbox in front of the town library. Not since Jimmy Carter have I voted in a Presidential election; and I was pleased NOT to see armed militia standing guard as predicted elsewhere. Sis tells me they’ve got legalization of recreational marijuana on their ballot; wait'll she reads we’re voting on legalizing psilocybin, or magic mushrooms, for use in treating depression and anxiety in terminally ill patients.

Of course I’ll vote Yes,” I’ve been telling myself ever since the ads began airing on TV.  I’ve never tried yet certainly heard of the mysterious fungi, but I had no idea signatures were being gathered for this new law. Only a troll wouldn’t have compassion for the elderly in distress near their end-of-life.

But when the time came to color in my circle I voted No, I'll sheepishly admit. I’m supposed to be an Oregonian, for God’s sake; what’s wrong with me?

Photo Hillary Volk

I am concerned that this will become another good intention which produces disastrous consequences, often at the expense of young people. Look at e-cigarettes, OxyContin and it even sounds like the original Coca-Cola formula is coming back into style.

I’m fine with pot being legal for recreational use (since 2016 here in Oregon) but it was nicer before everyone started moving here with hopes of making a fast buck.  Prices have risen universally while crime has not decreased. Pot stores are everywhere, confirmed by the Mail Tribune,
"Medford has the most pot stores per capita in Oregon, and the second-highest number compared to 600 U.S. cities with a population of 50,000 or more."
Now as I drive through beautiful southern Oregon, the vistas of open spaces are brutally interrupted by 8-foot stockade fences topped with barbed wire, protected by barking dogs and armed employees to ward off thieves. People who moved here for isolation are selling their properties for such a profit and moving elsewhere less up-and-coming, I’m wondering where that is.

You know who was hurt by legalized pot? The Hippies who have kept the industry alive for the past 50 years while the government got its act together. What used to go for $200 an ounce went for $100 after legalization and down another 35-40% because,

“There is such a surplus of marijuana in Oregon that we have enough to supply the public for the next 6 years.” (I drafted this in Feb. 2019 and I can’t recall where the quote came from; but still, it’s plausible.)

It’s not always the homeowner who’s the grower, for many are renting out acreage at outlandish prices, pun intended. It’s hard for those strapped for cash to say, No, I get it; but it doesn’t mean I want to live in the middle of it. Still, this is a wonderful place to live so I resent being priced out of the county.

Who’s making money?  Wealthy individuals or groups from elsewhere (as usually happens) who have the money or backing to open large-scale growing operations and dispensaries. It's not a cheap or easy cash crop.  One Congressman has a large operation going just outside of Jacksonville, a quaint old town along the wine route. Neighbors are complaining but nothing can be done because he's just outside the city limits. The smell can get to you even if you’re used to it, like cilantro.

It seems to me there’s already plenty of legal options available to help someone in distress.  Legalized psilocybin, even for such a noble purpose, will undoubtedly attract those intent on syphoning off enough here and there to get WHO hooked next?  Your child or grandchild?  Are we no longer interested in Death with Dignity laws?

And besides, who wants to have to travel to a dispensary to have mushrooms administered under supervision, and then go home? If any combination of therapy, alcohol, prescription drugs and good ol' Oregon bud doesn’t work for me, I’ll take a 2x4’ upside the head and put that in writing here and now, thanks for indulging.

“I believe just about everyone I know would disagree with my argument, but nobody thought Donald Trump would be elected, either,” I wrote to a friend who expressed some positive points about the issue.

“If Donald Trump is re-elected, I think I’ll need 4 years of mushrooms,” she wrote back.

“I’ll opt for the 2x4’…a quick death for me, if you please.”

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