My name is Daniel John. Sometimes I go by the moniker DJ for short, or just DJ Short. I reside in the Pendleton area and have for the past 30 years. I travel a lot for work and to care for family, but I very much enjoy calling this neck of the woods home.
I’m somewhat deeply involved in the cannabis industry, as it turns out. A long while back I created a few cannabis strains (Blueberry, Flo, Blue Moonshine, Blue Velvet and Cocoa Kush, to name a few) that gained quite a popularity and now these varieties are all the rage among those in the know. As a result, I am finding myself in great demand in many places.
My focus is, and always has been, the medicinal aspects of the cannabis plant. It is a fascinating subject with unprecedented promise currently being studied in only a very few places, such as Israel. Not here yet, unfortunately, and as a result I have never enjoyed any great reward for my efforts. This may soon change, however, as perceptions regarding cannabis shift — especially as successes present themselves regarding use of cannabis for cancer, AIDS, seizures, MS, diabetes, depression, Crohn’s and addiction, to name a few. There is much need for research in this regard.
I’m writing today because folks at the East Oregonian were interested in my story and wanted some input from someone of my caliber and knowledge of all things cannabis. Originally, they wanted me to cover topics such as how did I get here, what does Eastern Oregon stand to offer/gain/lose from the burgeoning cannabis industry, the science of new strains and how legalization has affected my life and business — which is all well and good, and I am more than eager and willing to oblige.
There is, however, one topic concerning society’s perception and misconceptions regarding cannabis — that lingers and looms like the proverbial and neglected elephant in the room — that I feel compelled to acknowledge first:
We have all been blatantly deceived, misled and lied to about this plant.
All of us. Each and every woman, man and child, every teacher, counselor, administrator and janitor, every politician, government employee or contractor, every doctor, lawyer and professor, every cop, prosecutor and judge, every cowboy and every native has been constantly and consistently lied to about this plant. It has become awkwardly ridiculous for most and a downright, ongoing disaster for others.
Due to the fact that everyone has been misinformed about this plant for the past 75-80 years, coupled with the fact that open research has been systematically quelled or stymied, there exists no truly trusted authority on the subject. Many like to pretend that they are authorities on the (misguided) negative aspects of cannabis. But very few, such as Dr. Sanjay Gupta, have actually made the “mea culpa,” admitted their past mistake regarding the cannabis plant and now extol its virtues.
Which brings me to what may perhaps be a true fact regarding cannabis and its safety as a consumable substance: Cannabis is the safest substance known to human beings.
That is an extremely bold statement to make, I realize. How does one back that up? I don’t need to. If anyone disagrees with or wishes to challenge that statement, there exists one very simple means by which to do so: Name something safer.
Drinking water? Sorry, several annual deaths from that substance. Turns out cannabis is the only substance we know of that acts as a non-toxic inebriant that does not allow us to put enough of it into our systems to harm ourselves — in thousands of years of recorded use and not one single reported fatality.
After realizing this simple but very relevant fact, if one continues to choose the prohibitionist rant that cannabis is harmful, my only recourse if to offer you a sincere apology: I am sorry you were lied to about this plant and I am sorry you accepted the lies as truth.
We have all been lied to about this plant, but there are those who have figured out the deception and who have made great progress and advances in the field. Those who have gone on to help ourselves and many others heal despite all of the oppressions and suppressions stacked against us. We are here to help you learn about this plant and its benefits, but only if you let us.
In order to do so, the powers that be will need to stop persecuting the cannabis community via the archaic and counter-productive war on drugs and all of the destructive deceit that goes with it.
This is not supposed to be some ongoing psychopathic neighborhood game of cops and robbers perpetrated by the local bullies in charge. You need to sincerely recognize and admit your mistakes before we may successfully move forward.
I would very much enjoy the opportunity to help teach my community about the wonders and merits of this valuable plant that offers something beneficial for almost everyone. But I am not certain if those in my community are ready and willing to admit to being misled regarding cannabis. Because if anyone chooses to cling to those deceptions there is really nothing any of us are able to do for you. The choice is yours; there are many of us here waiting and willing to help.
Daniel John lives in Pendleton. He is among the nation’s foremost cannabis breeders.