Oklahoma Pot

Here’s something to recall: After Colorado legalized, Nebraska and Oklahoma sued their neighbor because it’s citizens passed an amendment allowing cannabis. Scott Pruitt (former EPA) was the AG of Oklahoma, and brought the suit. The federal courts tossed the suit because it was ridiculous.

Now Oklahoma has passed a medical marijuana initiative, and I’ve always liked their program as passed: generous possession amounts, liberal qualifications for patients, and a reasonable view on regulation. By far the best medical marijuana program in the country, in concept.

With one mistake, but perhaps unavoidable: The main regulatory authority, the one responsible for making the rules, is the Public Health entity. All medical marijuana states start with this idea on their initiatives to lend some authority to the medical part, but it’s never worked out, and sometimes it’s been a disaster. On the other hand, if there was some honesty involved, putting it under “Tax Revenue” or “Business Development” would send the wrong message to the voters.

Now, Oklahoma has accepted the results of the election and is diving head-first into their new responsibilities; there’s no bureaucratic foot-dragging, despite having a very hostile governor. That’s good.

But looking at their first-draft of regulations, it’s obvious the rule-makers haven’t a clue what they are doing. I have a rule-of-thumb when reading about this subject: If someone proposes limits on THC levels, they are ignorant of the plant, have no useful role in public policy, and have completely ignored all the experience of the other states.

Which is typical of Public Health, they are ignorant.

Another sure sign things aren’t going well is that they immediately prohibited smoking cannabis. Florida does this, requiring only edibles. (Other states might prohibit edibles, only allowing smoking). Whichever form of ingestion you favor, it’s useless to prohibit the other and create a robust under-the-counter market. Yes, we know smoking cigarettes likely causes cancer, but the amounts of cannabis involved are trivial.

Then they propose that stores (they are using the term “dispensary”) be staffed with a pharmacist. Again, a sign of utter ignorance. No pharmacist is trained or licensed in the substance, and no research or guidelines have been published for them to use.

What I’m looking for is a sign that the OK regulatory folk will take a few breaths and ask around about what they are doing, before putting out garbage first-drafts.

Summer not here yet

It’s cool and wet here, completely normal because summer weather doesn’t appear around here until July 5th. Right now Port Townsend is celebrating the completion of it’s main street rebuild in the drizzle. The project involved new street surface, new sidewalks, and undergrounding utilities, all without closing the street or sidewalks or stores. Today was the deadline for completion, and when I checked yesterday, they had about 50 feet to clean up and resurface, which they might well have done last night. I’ll go into town tomorrow to see what it looks like.

I was in the hospital for one night for yet another procedure to clear my right leg artery. This time it was fairly simple, if anything involving a hospital, surgeons, and freaky machines can be called simple. All went according to plan.

As usual my doctor took the opportunity to image the next project, my left leg in this case. There’s a 95% blockage, and an alternate route has been carrying blood to my foot. I talk to him about this in a few weeks. The lack of blood flow to my right foot has led to neuropathy (nerve death) in my toes which is permanent. I must be careful to check for damage in case infection sets in. The most annoying part is that I can’t rely on getting any signals about what my toes are doing, so I have to watch them. It’s surprising how much data your toes send to your brain.

Next up is maintenance on my truck…


I presume if readers want to follow R2AK they have been, so I don’t say much about it. But if you forgot the race is on, it’s turning out to be very interesting. The lead boat, at about the 2/3 mark, is a monohull with 8 women crewing.

In fact, the three leaders are monohulls, the other two are 4-man crews. It’s been tight among them for three days.

If you have a boat big enough to hold a large crew, it offers a lot of advantages. Like rest and sleep. And a chance to prepare decent food.

The big race boats aren’t in this one, so it won’t be a ridiculous blowout that the race has been in the past.

Legalized Canada

It’s legal to possess and consume cannabis in Canada now, from coast to coast. The federal government owns the means of production, but small garden grows are allowed. Sales will be regulated by the provinces, and regulations range from provincially-operated stores only, to a mixture of province and private stores, to entirely private. You won’t get busted (unless you are stupid), but pay attention to local rules.

Edibles won’t be allowed for another year or so while rules are developed. This is likely due to ignorance and fear, though it will provide time for necessary consumer education.

Cannabis firms will have access to capital markets and banking services, and able to export to other countries, except the US. You already see US capital fleeing to Canada and their securities exchanges, and Canadian firms are ramping up fast to get the jump on the US when it comes to the global markets. Canadian weed is very highly respected for it’s quality.

But watch out: Canadians crossing the border into the US might be asked by Border Control if they use marijuana. If they answer yes, or are found with marijuana in their possession, the US will impose a lifetime ban on ever entering the US again. Similarly if they’ve ever been charged with a marijuana offense. If they answer no and then are discovered to have a charge or in possession, it’s a lifetime ban.

Americans returning to the US from Canada will be subject to harsh penalties. Remember that Border Control is exempt from the US Constitutional provisions, including the bill of rights. In their infantile minds, an American returning from say, Vancouver or Toronto, can be regarded as suspicious of using or having cannabis, leading to a search of your body, vehicle and all other possessions. Similarly, Canadian customs can be looking for US weed crossing into their country. Given the stupid attitude of the US administration right now regarding Canada, you could find yourself trapped in a political dispute.

If you have a marijuana charge on your US record, Canada can deny entry.

Going either way, lying and being found out subjects you to similar actions and penalties.

Be sure you understand your risks!

Legal Canada

I heard a radio story today with a Vancouver, BC, commenter about Canada legalizing weed. One of his lines was “In Vancouver, we can’t remember if weed is legal or not.”

Pot on July 1

Next week is good for several pot-related events around the country. Those on the east coast will be watching the first fully-licensed stores open up in Massachusetts. Their program is very similar to the western states, but it took them a while to get there due to some foot-dragging by the state. I’m skeptical about how many people want to buy Massachusetts weed, but they should do well initially serving the surrounding illegal states.

California’s rules kick in on the 1st. From January, those with state licenses have been doing things as they please, as they awaited the official rules to take affect. Specifically, rules that take affect on the 1st involve testing, packaging, labels, and distribution. All of which are extremely disrupting of the current system. Any weed still hanging around on the 1st will have to be destroyed, or, more realistically, sent out of state.

The testing step will be a major bottleneck at first, then the distribution system will become a problem. (My predictions). I’m particularly interested by their distribution system because no other state has this working. Nevada does, but it suffered from lack of interest from day one. California’s plan seems to require a particular THC molecule to go through a distributor from 2 to 6 times before a consumer purchases it. I’ll be watching this system over the next year to try to understand what it does.

There will be shortages in California as everyone gears up. Meanwhile, 95% of the CA output will be exported to other states as it always has…

Back in Chimacum

So I’m back in my spot in Chimacum staring at brown sheds instead of $10 million motor yachts, ferry boats, kayaks, and seals, otters, eagles. I gotta figure out how to spend more time up there.

My neighbor in dry camp (there are two cheaper spots with no hookups in the park) woke me last night with a problem. He was in a small camper, a van conversion, and had run down his engine battery so he couldn’t start the van. He asked for some things from me:

Regular extension cards so he could string a line across the driveway to plug into a full-hookup pedestal to charge his battery.

I said no, and he asked if I could use my truck to push him into a hookup site.

His next idea was to call AAA, and I agreed that would be best bet.

Generally speaking (very generally), dry camp costs range from 0 to $10 a night in the west. At Point Hudson, it’s $30, a very high number comparatively. The hookup sites are much higher, and if you use an extension cord to someone else’s power pole, it’s basically theft of an inn keeper. The “dock boss” here is very nice, very experienced, and very diligent. (She’s a kick to watch and talk to. She spends half her time dealing with the richest people in the west, who tend to have a bias towards not paying the proper amount.)

So since I want to come back and know the boss, I’m out on the theft plan. AAA came in this morning, and it turned out he had other problems besides just a run-down battery.

Nowadays, a dead starting battery in a car is a pretty rare thing, and offering a “jump” is liable to cause more damage to you.

Race to Alaska

You might recall the R2AK, where any boat you might have races from Port Townsend to Ketchikan, provided it doesn’t have a motor. It’s 750 miles, and presents some very difficult challenges, including completing the race. Past finishers have sailed, rowed, and paddled. It starts this coming Thursday.

Usually, the “winners” are big ocean-racing catamarans, able to complete the race in just a few days; others require three weeks.

I was surprised to not see any of the big boats in the line-up, or at least not on the website (r2ak.com). Nor did I see anywhere near the number of entrants there have been in past years. This being Sunday evening, there are three small boats in the marina that I know are entered, not the dozen or so I expected. Nor are there any big boats at all here. Maybe they’ll show up tomorrow, but something tells me the race is going to look very different this year.

The race organizer (one guy) added a new race this year called the Seventy48. You have 48 hours to go from Tacoma to Port Townsend (70 miles), completely human-powered (no sails). There will be stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and row-boats, and plenty of very athletic people driving them.

I’ll be watching both events closely, though I have to leave my vantage point here at the marina on Tuesday.

Point Hudson

I’m at the Point Hudson Marina and RV park for about a week, my annual stay in downtown Port Townsend. I tried to time it so I’d be here for the run-up to the Race to Alaska, but I missed it. I’ll talk more about R2AK later in the week.

Weather will be some sun, some clouds, and some rain.

Oregon cries “Uncle”

Oregon’s strategy for implementing a legal and regulated retail market for marijuana was to leave it open for anyone, anywhere to start a business quickly and cheaply within reasonable rules. They have around 4000 licenses issued, with another couple thousand in the works. They’ve now announced they will stop processing any new applications.

Once a state starts licensing they are obligated to monitor and enforce their rules, which turns out to be a much bigger task than originally envisioned. In Oregon, retail stores have been lax in enforcing age rules, production from the farmers have far exceeded their anticipated output, and some places obviously have “too many” stores and growing operations. Colorado and Washington have safety valves in their regulations to prevent excesses, which also serve to keep the enforcement costs under some control.

Oregon now has to wrestle with their success.