Glass Calls Canada 'Most Stoned Country'

Glass Calls Canada 'Most Stoned Country'
Posted by CN Staff on September 05, 2003 at 17:52:28 PT
By David Stonehouse, CanWest News Service 
Source: Ottawa Citizen 
Saint John, N.B. -- The road to rehabilitation for Stephen Glass, an American writer notorious for serial plagiarism, includes an examination of Canada's easing pot laws for Rolling Stone magazine."Pot has reached so deeply into Canadian daily life that Canada could very well become the most stoned country on earth," Mr. Glass proclaims in the Sept. 4 issue of the onetime voice of the counterculture.
The piece, headlined Canada's Pot Revolution, examines the growing tolerance of marijuana across the land and reveals that the country is about to see a marijuana-selling café in the small, conservative Maritime city of Saint John."What we want is Americans coming up here, spending their U.S. dollars on our pot," Jim Wood, the owner of Saint John's Cannabis Café, told Mr. Glass. The café, which opened last spring, and others like it in Canada have so far refused to sell pot to its customers, but welcomed patrons to bring in their own and light up. They feared that peddling marijuana would bring extra unwanted attention from police.But now Mr. Wood has spied what he believes is a loophole in the country's medicinal marijuana laws: He'll sell marijuana to anyone who can provide a doctor's note. At the same time, he has made it clear the note doesn't have to explicitly prescribe pot or stipulate to a condition that would benefit from it. "Dandruff would work," Mr. Wood told the magazine. "If you felt that eating or smoking pot -- or maybe even rubbing it in your hair -- would help, you're more than free to do so, as far as I'm concerned."Now that the word is out, he refuses to talk about his plan publicly. He promises instead to make an announcement later this week -- once his lawyer returns from out of town."I'm not doing anything until he gets back," Mr. Wood, a former Marijuana Party candidate, said.The legal uncertainty in Canada continues as courts throw out possession charges and the government struggles with decriminalization of possession and specific exemptions for medicinal use.Still, Saint John police have warned that any attempt by the café to sell marijuana would be considered trafficking.Mr. Glass's chronicling of the country's move to greater tolerance represents a new beginning for the former New Republic writer, who suffered public disgrace after confessing in 1998 to fabricating some of his accounts. Rolling Stone owner Jann Wenner, whose magazine's success has grown out of its popular beginnings among the '60s and '70s hippie culture, felt Mr. Glass deserved a second chance.In the pot piece, which runs nearly 1,900 words, Mr. Glass outlines the already well-chronicled frustration among top U.S. officials toward Canada's softening stance -- and argues it is misplaced."But for all its bravado, the Bush administration has Canada's marijuana laws all wrong. The Canadians don't see the proposed new law as a step toward legalization; officials there see it as a soft and sensible way to crack down on drug use," he writes. He notes how Canadian courts have rarely enforced possession charges anyway."In 1999, Canadian police charged only about 21,000 people with cannabis possession. And that's only about half the number of times law enforcement reported an 'incident' of cannabis possession," he writes."In other words, police looked the other way just as often as they arrested people. In short, Dudley Do-Right isn't doing much. And the country's leaders are realistic about it."Note: Disgraced journalist writes article on our marijuana laws for Rolling Stone magazine. David Stonehouse reports. Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON) Author: David Stonehouse, CanWest News Service Published: Friday, September 05, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Ottawa CitizenContact: letters thecitizen.southam.caWebsite: Related Articles:Cannabis Café Looking To Sell Pot's Pot Revolution
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