The states of Washington and Oregon recently passed laws making buying, selling and smoking marijuana legal to varying degrees.
Sales of Cheetos and Doritos have soared among citizens suffering from a medical condition known as “the munchies,” but it looks like average citizens are not the only ones getting high.
Washington and Oregon lawmakers must have been stoned, too, when they passed new laws making it legal for citizens to “harvest” roadkill.
Down South, roadkill has always been considered in the same category as the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. It was strictly a “Look, but don’t eat,” item.
Things are different in the Pacific Northwest. Since 2016, Washington residents have been free to pick up deer and elk decorated with tire tracks and tote them home.
Oregon diners were so jealous of their neighbors to the north that state lawmakers just agreed to let Beaver State residents harvest road-killed deer and elk, too. The law takes effect next year.
Idaho, which borders both Washington and Oregon, went a step further and now allows residents to collect not just dead deer and elk, but deceased moose, black bears, mountain lions, wolves, turkeys, raccoons, coyotes and rabbits.
State laws vary, but not much. Washington residents have to remove the entire carcass of the road-killed critter. Oregon and Idaho residents may field dress their “items” at the murder scene, provided the butchering is done way off the road to prevent scavengers like buzzards, crows and politicians from congregating in the highway.
Many residents aren’t sure this is a model for healthy eating. Oregon and Idaho lawmakers don’t seem concerned, but to their credit, Washington officials have advised residents that even the freshest roadkill may not be fit to eat.
The state website now warns residents that, "Those who consume salvaged meat do so at their own risk."
I doubt I’ll ever eat “salvaged meat,” but have to admit the new laws in Washington and Oregon would have made life easier for a guy in Opp, Alabama, who went to jail years ago for “harvesting” a deer out of season with his Ford F-100 pickup.
The non-fatal collision merely knocked the deer for a loop and off the road. The problem arose when the dude driving the truck was seen stabbing the doe to death with a screwdriver and hauling it off.
I wasn’t too upset about it. I figured it was proof that when people get hungry enough, they’ll pick up food wherever they run into – or over – it.
As expected, the new roadkill laws have drawn criticism. Mostly from vegetarian drivers of electric vehicles.
But allowing people to pick up roadkill could prevent problems like those being experienced in Hawaii.
Our 50th state is often described as a Pacific Paradise, but how great can things be if residents are stealing Spam to survive? Theft of canned goods from Hawaiian supermarkets has reached epidemic proportions. The most sought after canned treat is Spam.
"We're seeing it more and more, and there's a lot more volume being taken out of stores now,” said Tina Yamaki, president of Retail Merchants of Hawaii.
Stolen Spam is being sold at swap meets, flea markets and straight out of the trunks of cars.
There’s a headline for you: “Stolen Spam sold at swap meets.”
Hawaiian officials don’t know what to do.
I don’t, either. But I know this… the next time I say the blessing before a meal, I’ll remember that until I’m forced to eat roadkill or steal Spam, I'm a lot more blessed than I thought.
Alex McRae is the author of “There Ain’t No Gentle Cycle on the Washing Machine of Love.” He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.