KPOV reporter in Bend Oregon, Tris "Tristone" is a cannabis grower and a long time puveryor of fine cannabis lotions, tinctures and other products now working for High Desery Pure. Topics include decrim, illegal grows, penalties and a comparison of Oregon to the hosts state of Texas.
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
High Desert Pure
Wed, 08/03/2022 - 01:04
DEAN BECKER (00:00):
Hi folks. I am Dean Becker, the Reverend most high. This is cultural baggage today. We're gonna tune in with one of our fellow broadcasters on the drug truth network. Mr. Tri Trione carries a one of our programs up there at KPO V in bend Oregon. He's been broadcasting our shows for, uh, 18 years. Now I'm gonna let him introduce himself to you.
TRIS RISTONE (00:23):
I think the first time we met as was at a patient's out of time conference and it may have been the one in Portland. Um, they start to blend together after a few years and I know we certainly spent time at the one together in Berkeley, cuz I play the, uh, the drop you did for our radio show all the time that you made for us. One day we were sitting out on a, a nice porch somewhere. So
DEAN BECKER (00:48):
The, the, the, what I wanna talk about is when I met you, I think you were a grower.
TRIS RISTONE (00:53):
Well, yeah, when we first met, I was actually running a medical marijuana clinic here in bend at the mama clinic. And, uh, and so we were actually helping people access the organ medical marijuana card back in those days, that kept me busy for about eight years, helping people do that and we'd teach 'em how to grow herb for themselves and make their own edibles and topicals how to make hash and all that stuff that we used to be able to do back in the day. And, uh, we legalized cannabis here. Gosh, it's, it's scary, but I think it's been eight years now, let me rephrase that. Your man, Vivian MI peak gave me something to think about. We commercialized cannabis here in Oregon. a few years ago. Yeah. And since then I became quickly unemployed in the medical field. Didn't take long for us to lose our jobs and that I was a desirable member of the cannabis community and my current employer, high desert pure here in bend, uh, made me an offer. I couldn't refuse. And I just finished my fifth year. I realized because I had to renew my Oregon medical or my Oregon cannabis workers permit. So I know I've been at this gig for five years now.
DEAN BECKER (02:06):
And, and what products are you guys making there? What, what are you doing? Well,
TRIS RISTONE (02:09):
We started off actually making CO2 extracted, uh, cartridges, you know, the little vapor cartridges back actually in medical. We, we got our start here in medical, uh, and then transferred over to the adult use side, uh, once measured 91 passed and got rolling. And, you know, the goji gods have kinda led us along. Uh, here we were in cartridges for a long time. It is a tough business to be in for many various reasons. And one of the cool things I got to do here at high desert pure was early on test cannabis oil to see if it tasted good, make sure it was gonna flow well in a cartridge and all that. Oh, and if we had something that was funky and you know, or didn't work well in a cartridge, we had to do something with it. And so we kind of related back to, to the medical days and, uh, started making topical cannabis infused topicals.
TRIS RISTONE (03:05):
And right now we are the, uh, the number one cannabis infused topical company in Oregon by far, no one even comes close to us. We make a product that actually does work, and I'm still kind of really helping people on a medical side, even though it's in the adult use world in which we're dealing with most of the folks with our products. So we make lotions, we have bath products. We have, uh, roller balls. Well, most people use our topical products, just apply it on their ay parts of their bodies. And, you know, thanks to science and places like patients out of time, over the years, we've learned things about cannabis topical use that we've got all these, you know, CB one and CB two receptor sites right on our skin. And it's not rocket science. We just have to let the, those receptor sites get in contact with the OIDs and whether it be a lotion or what have you.
TRIS RISTONE (04:01):
And once it comes into contact, it binds to those receptor sites. And it will work just as if you had put it in your body, except for the fact it's not in your bloodstream and you will not get high from it. And you will not flunk a P test with it either. And so we sell, uh, ridiculous amount of those products here in Oregon. I'm proud to say, uh, our market share gets bigger every month. Um, as more and more people discover the advantages of cannabis in this form. And it actually brings a lot of new folks into the world of cannabis. As you know, Dean they've been lied to most of them, their whole lives about how cannabis, uh, works therapeutically. And you know, it's through word of mouth. People are starting to share these topicals with each other. They know they've get a, a positive response from it and they're more than happy to share it.
TRIS RISTONE (04:52):
And before we know it, they're run into the shop to get a lotion. And, uh, it's really been a success for us. You know, we just kind of followed, followed, like I say, the goji God's pushed us in that direction. And for us, it, it, it turned out to be a winning formula and we've gotten sense into the tincture world, which, you know, somewhat what works well with topicals. It's more of, uh, an internal aspect. I mean, you get high from it. We make products that will get you high. I've been kind of wanting to do that. That's why I got into this gig in the first place. So interest. Yeah. We're getting back into that with some, some interesting technology. So yeah, that's been my journey to where I ended up here today, at least on the, uh, professional side of cannabis
DEAN BECKER (05:41):
Interest. I, I think about it like this, like here in Texas and probably many other states, there's not a lot of regulation controlled oversight. If you will, of products that are being distributed. Do you have that oversight there in Oregon for those, uh, type products?
TRIS RISTONE (05:57):
Oh yeah. We have a ridiculous amount of oversight here in Oregon. It's called the Oregon liquor and cannabis commission and they are basically our overlords here in the adult, uh, recreational side of things. As some people like to refer to it as they basically make rules up for us, the legislature's given 'em an awful lot of power and, uh, it's, it's a constant battle dealing with these folks. Um, part of the deal, which is a good part of the, the program here in Oregon is we know all the cannabis products that reach the retailers have been tested for mold, pesticides, residual solvents. We're about just to start testing for heavy metals as well. And so we at least know that the products that end up in our, our neighbors and friends, bodies are gonna be healthy and they're not gonna have any nasty stuff in it. And that is one of the good aspects I think of that regulation has brought us that we really do have legitimate testing. We know the potency of the products that we're using. There's not a lot, there's some people that don't want high power cannabis products out there. They want the lower ones, and it's nice for them to be able to self regulate just from having legitimate, good numbers to follow.
DEAN BECKER (07:15):
I was digging on the, on the net and found a note that says 300 million every two years is raised in taxes from the cannabis industry. Um, well you can tell me in a second if that's close or what, but the, the fact of the matter is, is much of that money is now being used for an effort to decriminalize drugs to fund that effort. Uh, let's talk about that situation. Will, will you please?
TRIS RISTONE (07:40):
Well, we have decriminalized all drugs essentially here in Oregon, personal use amounts here. When we pass measure, uh, one 10 here, a couple of years back, and one of the unfortunate aspects of measure one 10, it actually redirected the cannabis tax dollars from where it was previously going to, to drug treatment, basically, which has created all sorts of havoc here in the state, most of the money prior. And let me back up a second Dean, we don't have a sales tax in Oregon. We have no sales tax here in Oregon, except on cannabis products we created or the legislature I should say, oh man created Oregon's first sales tax shortly after the passage of measure 91. And so we now pay sales tax, unless you, of course, you're a medical patient, then you're a tax exempt. But, uh, and so with that, it raised a tremendous amount of money here during the first 5, 6, 7 years of, of legal cannabis here in Oregon.
TRIS RISTONE (08:43):
And most of it like here in the city of bend, where I live was directed 17% of the money raised on the state stales tax goes to back to the state and, and they were distributing it a lot of it to law enforcement. So law enforcement was getting their money. We were paying law enforcement for the first time. I actually kinda loved it. I was on a police advisory committee and I got to talk with the chief about how we were gonna spend our marijuana money, which was a full circle come around on that one. But, uh, yeah, so, so anyway, major 91 came around and it redirected that money that went to primarily law enforcement and drug treatment to a lesser degree to mostly, uh, drug treatment. Of course, all the drug treatment corporations were all excited about all their free windfall of free money for a let's face it a profession that's not very, uh, good at getting the job done for what they're getting paid for.
TRIS RISTONE (09:43):
Um, and so right now we're still starting to see a little bit of the, uh, fallback from that. The legislature has gotten the attention that Hey, law enforcement is not getting the money they used to get. Years ago. We cut law enforcement off from civil forfeiture here in Oregon. So, um, up until just recently, they've, they've not had that as an option for themselves as well. So we're seeing, you know, a little bit of a unexpected consequence of measure 91, decriminalizing all drugs. So if I got caught with a personal use amount of heroin or cocaine or any kind of hard drugs, uh, here in Oregon, they would probably issue me a ticket and I would have to show up to court and then they give you an option. If you want to they'll, they'll let you go to treatment or not. . So nobody's taking them up on the treatment option for the most part. Um, and so, yeah, it's still just two years in measure one tens, two years in running. We're still figuring it out for that matter, but it's changed. It's changed the landscape here and really it's, it's, it's hard to get busted for drugs unless you're a big time dealer.
DEAN BECKER (10:57):
Well, now I had the privilege of, uh, going to Elizabeth Portugal. I met with, uh, the drugs R Al GU LA. Um, several times we've, we've had many discussions over zoom as well. And, and I, I learned that over there. It's well, I think the, the amount of drugs is certainly more than what you guys are showing on this list. I look at one gram of heroin, I think there it's, it's it's two, and then, you know, the, the numbers are larger and Portugal than what you can possess, but what they, they find is that most people are supposed to go to these dissuasion committees as they're called over there. And they, you know, many times do not show up. And, and what I learned from kind of quietly from Dr. Guile is that if they get busted too many times and they keep telling the dissing commission, I like doing drugs, that they're eventually gonna leave them alone. And, and I think, uh, many of the, uh, what was it I see if I can find the note here, uh, nearly 50% of those who are accosted, uh, basically just tell the court to go to hell they don't show up and they just ignore the whole thing. Your thought they're police Chris.
TRIS RISTONE (12:08):
Yeah, well that that's human nature. I mean, I, I would be one of those people myself. I mean, most people, I now choose to do drugs, uh, for whatever reason and, you know, you're act, you know, trying to change people's free choice, which seems futile to me anyway. Um, you know, we're seeing that play out here in Oregon, just as well. I mean, if, if people really do wanna get off drugs and, and seek professional help, there are programs available here in Oregon. It won't cost you one red cent. Um, that money is being paid for, with cannabis sales tax dollars. Wonderful. You know, and so people are using that and, you know, it has helped some people, you know, there are people that struggle with some of these substances out there. Um, luckily cannabis helps a lot of folks with those issues as well, but, you know, if you do need professional help, it is available here.
TRIS RISTONE (13:02):
And it's easy to access here in Oregon as well. And so, you know, this is an experiment we're getting, you know, a lot of attention from other states. You know, I, I know Washington's talking about doing something similar to what we did with measure one 10 and the decriminalization of all drugs. And I know California is looking at it as well. So, uh, you know, probably starting off as the west coast, as we typically do with such such big social changes and in a, hopefully a wave will roll across, uh, head and eastward and, uh, you know, it doesn't do anybody, any good law enforcement is probably still dragging their feet on a lot of this, you know, here in rural we're in, we're in central Oregon, it's a little more rural here. And, uh, law enforcement still, you know, dragging their feet on this when they're fighting it, they're, they're beating their chest as often as they can, whenever every day, the opportunity.
TRIS RISTONE (13:55):
And, you know, let's face it. They're still busting lots of people for, uh, big time, big time drugs, you know, bringing lots of fentanyl into the area. Methamphetamine has always been, uh, an issue here on the high desert. Um, and it's not changed even with all the draconian results of being caught with it. You know, people are still using those drugs and still people are in the business of providing those. So, which means law enforcement stand pretty busy here. We just had a huge fentanyl bust here locally, just this last week. And, uh, that seems to be the big concern. We still have battles with cannabis issues too, here in Oregon as well with law enforcement.
DEAN BECKER (14:37):
And I, I wanna talk about that a minute. Um, the way I understand now look, the, what I, I, some of the headlines I saw 1500 plants busted here, 1200 pounds of process marijuana found along with, uh, that sort of thing. If that, if I had that here in Texas, I, I would be behind bars for about 20 years. Yeah, yeah. Now, now what happens to these people up there? The best I understand it, they might get a $75,000 fine or something, but they're not going to jail. I, is that true?
TRIS RISTONE (15:07):
Yeah, that's pretty much true. Um, they're just really not arresting people for this. What they've been going after lately are the, the property owners. And so if a property owner rented, uh, their property to somebody that put one of these illegal farms on it, um, they'll bust everybody, destroy the crops, make everybody have a bad day. Um, and then they go after the, the landowner civilly in court, and there's been some pretty large fines. I know that's still being kind of battled out in the court, whether that is legal or not, but state of Oregon passed some laws to do that. There's a lot of pressure on the legislature from law enforcement and a lot of different groups and particularly Southern Oregon, uh, to do something about all this illegal grows and they're coming at 'em with all fronts right now, we've got a we're in the midst of a huge drought here in Oregon. It's really, really noticeably bad. And right now they're, you know, really making a big point that these illegal grows are using ridiculous amounts of water, um, illegally out of the watersheds. And so that's becoming an issue as well. And so that, like I said, they're coming at every direction to try to, to shut these grows down. And honestly, it's, it's tough. I mean, you're in Oregon right now. The, the cannabis industry is suffering, uh, because of low prices. And a lot of people do blame it on those illegal, illegal grows throughout the state
DEAN BECKER (16:37):
Now. Okay. And now I wanna jump into that arena, um, here in, I mean, I got C O P D thanks to Mar boroughs 50 years, you know, I, I, I can hardly smoke anymore, so I don't really keep up with the prices, but I know it's in the hundreds of dollars announced still here, you know, low, low end, maybe a hundred, um, good stuff can go up to 400 and, and gimme some price, uh, references there in Oregon.
TRIS RISTONE (17:04):
Yeah. So right now prices are at an all time low here for flour in particular, I was just at a little shop. I actually in a rural area of Oregon here a couple weeks ago where they were selling $35 ounces. And this is like legitimate herb. Now, they're what we call B buds in, in the professional world. They're little tiny ones. You get no sticks with them. It's pure cannabis. It was RA, um, registering in the upper 20% register zone for THC. So incredibly potent tasty weed, um, 35 bucks an ounce. And so, uh, people typically buy two at a time or only allowed to buy two at a time here in Oregon, two ounces at a time, uh, per day per person. But you can go Danny dispensary and do that all day long. And, uh, but yeah, people are just like sucking this stuff up.
TRIS RISTONE (17:59):
And one of the unintended consequences, which is getting the state's attention now that we have a sales tax on cannabis, uh, the state's not making a lot of money on a $35 ounce Dean. You know, they make, they like making that $360 ounce tax dollars. And so we're seeing tax revenues drop because of this as well here in the state of Oregon, we have, I think I just looked a week ago. We have just under 800 dispensaries for a, a state with, you know, 4 million people here and it it's ridiculous. And they keep coming online and there's so much competition prices are dropping. I see pounds being sold for $300 a pound here in Oregon here in our world. We extract cannabis from licensed growers. We buy buy weed, you know, we're, we're, we're paying ridiculously low amounts for, for pounds of high quality potent tested cannabis here, like, you know, $30 a pound.
TRIS RISTONE (19:04):
So, uh, that's really where we're at here in Oregon. I saw edibles a hundred milligram edible out the door price for $3 and 50 cents here. Uh, last week at that same dispensary that was selling the $35 ounces, I'm in a resort community here. So we've got lots of tourists that come here and visit, and there's $50 ounces everywhere, and it's legitimate weed. It is not scrap. It is not the B Budds it's testing out in the mid to upper twenties for the most part on the THC side of things. It's well cured. It's delicious and there's no downside to it whatsoever. Um, and so that's really become the new reality here for Oregon. I think we're gonna see a lot of changes come the fall, come crop Tober. As we refer to it at was when all of a sudden there's another wave of cannabis hitting the, the, you know, the dispensaries. No, one's gonna be able to sell last year's weed that they still have sitting around. And, uh, it just, it just, you know, we've got an, an UN, an interesting issue here in Oregon with a lot of weed and people have actually been slowing down, smoking it here in Oregon are the reports that we're just getting from the O L C C during COVID. I mean, when everybody was puffing tough here in Oregon, weed was cheap. You could get it delivered to your house and all that.
DEAN BECKER (20:29):
Well, that's a horrible problem. I don't know what else to say. I'm not lemme jump in here now, tr uh, once again, friends, we're speaking with Mr. Tr tri stone, he's a reporter based at K POV up there in bend Oregon. One of the, uh, drug truth network affiliates. And I thank him for his years of, uh, carrying our programs. Uh, and once again, thank you tr now I, I wanna jump to tale of two cities, tale of two planets, your, your state and mine. Uh, I, I, I have an op-ed into the Houston Chronicle that talks about the need for just changing the formula for recognizing the futility, the failure of this drug war, how it's just glaringly obvious, and we need to Mo move in another direction. Um, what is the pulse like there? I mean, in so far as, uh, uh, Jolene's citizen, is she scared to death or is she figured out, well, hell this is not, not such a bad scenario what's going on.
TRIS RISTONE (21:24):
Yeah, I, I think overall people have realized the fear that, you know, we've been presented with for all these years just really never came true. And I think really the, the cultural change here in Oregon happened back in the mid nineties when we were the second state to legalized medical marijuana. And I'd say medical marijuana actually was the big game changer here in Oregon, because people that were resistant to cannabis at all, suddenly had friends loved ones. You name it have their lives positively changed through the use of cannabis. And that is when they really did realize that the government had been lying to 'em for years. Um, we've seen it happen. I mean, we've had medical marijuana, I think since 97 now, I think we passed in 96, went to 97. It's so long. I mean, we're approaching 30 years. And so sadly the program's down to about 19,000 patients right now.
TRIS RISTONE (22:19):
You can still get a card and there's good reasons to have one, but, uh, medical, I think really changed it. It made it more comfortable for others that made it really comfortable for our legislators and elected officials when they had family members that were actually getting off of narcotics or having positive results and, and having an improved life. And, and with that, it's really not been that big a deal. Um, you, you know, even though I live in a weird county here where I'm in an ultraliberal city of bend Oregon, yet I'm surrounded by ultra conservative county where a little donut hole in the middle. Um, and we've actually, we've actually banned cannabis use in the unincorporated parts of the county here, uh, not use, but, uh, as far as the business end of it. And, uh, so, you know, it's funny, there are people in the rural areas that still are pretty resistant to it, but, you know, we've kind of outlived a lot of those people , you know, through attrition, a lot of our enemies over the years are long gone. We've learned and, uh, we just, you know, outlived them. And thankfully for cannabis, we're gonna even live longer because we know it's got such great health benefits for ourselves. So
DEAN BECKER (23:31):
Sure. The example that Oregon is setting for the nation. I mean, I don't think you guys have these safe consumption rooms yet, but that's New York and maybe others, but, but in many other ways, you're, you're blazing a trail on psychedelics. I don't know. I wanna talk about that a bit. If we can, the variance here, we have some ma and paw learn how to make labels and get brown bottles and they make, uh, C B, D or THC extracts. And they, they sell it to head shops and gas stations, and nobody knows what's in there. And that's exactly where the drug war started was to stop the snake oil salesman. And here we are encouraging them. Um, now I just had to get that in here, but psychedelics, they are now becoming legal. What is, what is the status? Well,
TRIS RISTONE (24:17):
You know, well, frankly they fall under the, the measure one 10 rule where it's, you know, decriminalized to, to possess mushrooms or LSD or anything like that here in Oregon. However, we also have just started a program that will allow psilocybin specifically to be used in a clinical situation for basically mental health issues. And, um, and there's still writing the initial rules of the road, how that's gonna work and everything. So it's like a year or so out before any of that happens, but we're watching the counties already freaking out and, uh, starting to jump in and it's like, oh, we're not gonna allow psilocybin therapy in our county, um, which is happening. We're gonna be voting on that here in Deschutes county, in November, our county commissioners are freaking out about that. And it has nothing to do with like, you know, going and purchasing mushrooms at the store. It's about a clinical situation basically in house . Um, so it's, you know, it's, it's the drug war, paranoia fear still around after all these years, Dean, however, we are gonna have psilocybin therapy. It is well on its way. I think, like I said, a year from now, people will be able to come to Oregon and participate in that
DEAN BECKER (25:36):
Well, and what
TRIS RISTONE (25:37):
Good thing. It's a great thing.
DEAN BECKER (25:38):
What, what those, uh, empowers that be don't understand. All it requires is a proper set and setting and perhaps a guru for your first time to, to walk you through the steps of what's fixing to happen to you.
TRIS RISTONE (25:51):
Exactly what it's gonna be. And so, um, it's a great thing. We've got great science. Luckily, you know, one of the other great things we with cannabis and everything else psychedelics, we've got the science Dean that backs everything up that we've been seeing for years. And when you start to, you know, denying science's facts and you start looking like the crazy person in my mind. So, um, thankfully we've all reached this age in our lives where we've gotten to this point where you're like here in Oregon, I never have to worry about getting arrested for controlled substances. All I even get to grow cannabis in my backyard here in Oregon and avoid the whole retail world if I want to. Um, and so I'm just really happy we've got there. I didn't know if I was gonna live long enough to see this day where we could be talking this way. Yeah. Um, but we have made it, but it's not over. There's lots of work to do. We've got bills already in the legislature to make it better, both for medicinal side and for the adult use side. And so we've won the war, but there's still little battles to be fought
DEAN BECKER (26:54):
Out there. Well, I, I, I wanna kind of wrap this up with the thought that I'm still in Texas, where I am the legalizing, this legalize in this state, if not the world. I know that. And, and the fact is I'm the one who wants to stop funding terrorists. I'm the one who wants to basically destroy the income of these barbers cartels. I'm the one who wants to eliminate the reason for most of these violent gangs out there, shooting up our neighborhoods. And I'm the one who basically wants to end overdose deaths right here in this state leaving only those to committing suicide because people will know what in the hell they're taking. And yet I'm the outlaw. That's, that's, that's the crazy part to me. You have wrap it up for us, Mr. Trish for
TRIS RISTONE (27:35):
Stone. Well, you're not the outlaw, you're just the radical that I'm appreciate having in our little world here, Dean. And you know, I don't know, Texas is such an odd little place for me. I always thought if anywhere in the world, Texas would be for all individual rights, leave me alone and all that stuff. So I, I, I, I don't get it here in Oregon. We still deal with a little bit of that, but we've overcome that people are not gonna turn back and go the other way. We've, we've gone both directions here. Uh, prohibition does not work. It never has worked. It destroys our society. Drugs have not always been helpful to everybody, but we have actually now provided a way for people to get assistance for that, that do require that and choose to do that for themselves. Um, and so it's a good thing. I mean, I, I, I, I, I, I just, I get saddened when I hear about what you're going through there in Texas, because it just seems like the one state that shouldn't be doing that, I thought it was gonna be its own country at one point in time. But aside from that, you know, we we've made it. We've, we've made it, but like I said, Dean too, it's not over. We cannot stop paying attention to the powers that be or what we have now could go away.
DEAN BECKER (28:46):
Thank you, tr and thanks to all the drug truth network affiliates, and thank you for listening and always remember that because of prohibition, even in Oregon, you don't know what's in that bag, please be careful.