The Czars' Reefer Madness

  The Czars' Reefer Madness

Posted by CN Staff on August 26, 2006 at 06:11:05 PT
By John Tierney 
Source: New York Times  

Amsterdam -- Arjan Roskam, the creator of the award-winning marijuana blend named "Arjan's Haze," has dozens of pictures of celebrity visitors on the wall of his coffee shop in Amsterdam. He's got Eminem, Lenny Kravitz, Alicia Keys, Mike Tyson -- but so far, unfortunately, not a single White House drug czar. The czars have preferred to criticize from afar. In the past, they've called Dutch drug policy "an unmitigated disaster," bemoaning Amsterdam's "stoned zombies" and its streets cluttered with "junkies." Anti-pot passion has only increased in the Bush administration, which has made it a priority to combat marijuana.
More than half a million Americans are arrested annually for possessing it. The Bush administration can't even abide it being used for medical purposes by the terminally ill. Why risk having any of it fall into the hands of young people who could turn into potheads, crack addicts and junkies? But if America's drug warriors came here, they would learn something even if they didn't sample any of the dozens of varieties of marijuana sold legally in specially licensed coffee shops. They could see that the patrons puffing on joints generally don't look any more zombielike than the crowd at an American bar -- or, for that matter, a Congressional subcommittee listening to a lecture on the evils of marijuana. And if they talked to Peter Cohen, a Dutch researcher who has been studying drug use for a quarter-century, they would discover something even more disorienting. Even though marijuana has been widely available since the 1970's, enough to corrupt a couple of generations, the Netherlands has not succumbed to reefer madness. The Dutch generally use drugs less than Americans do, according to national surveys in both countries (and these surveys might understate Americans' drug usage, since respondents are less likely to admit illegal behavior). More Americans than Dutch reported having tried marijuana, cocaine and heroin. Among teenagers who'd tried marijuana, Americans were more likely to be regular users. In a comparison of Amsterdam with another liberal port city, San Francisco, Cohen and other researchers found that people in San Francisco were nearly twice as likely to have tried marijuana. Cohen isn't sure exactly what cultural and economic factors account for the different usage patterns in America and the Netherlands, but he's confident he can rule out one explanation. "Drug policy is irrelevant," says Cohen, the former director of the Center for Drug Research at the University of Amsterdam. It's quite logical, he says, to theorize that outlawing drugs would have an impact, but experience shows otherwise, both in America and in some European countries with stricter laws than the Netherlands but no less drug use. The good news about drugs, Cohen says, is that the differences among countries aren't all that important -- levels of addiction are generally low in America as well as in Europe. The bad news is that the occasional drug fad get hyped into a crisis that leads to bad laws. "Prohibition does not reduce drug use, but it does have other impacts," he says. "It takes up an enormous amount of police time and generates large possibilities for criminal income." In the Netherlands, that income goes instead to coffee-shop owners and to the government, which exacts heavy taxes. It also imposes strict regulations on what goes on in the coffee shop, including who can be served ( no minors ) and how much can be sold ( five grams to a customer ). Any unruly behavior or public disturbances can quickly close down a shop. To avoid problems at the Green House, Roskam has closed-circuit cameras and a staff that urges novices to stick with small doses, and to protect their lungs by taking hits from a vaporizer. Unlike street buyers in America, customers know exactly what strength they're getting, which is especially useful for the hundreds of people with multiple sclerosis and other ailments who use his marijuana medicinally. Roskam sneers at the street products in the United States, which he considers overpriced and badly blended. But he acknowledges there's one feature in the American market he can't compete with. "Drugs are just less interesting here," he said. "One of my best friends here never smoked cannabis, never wanted to even try my products. Then when she was 32 she went to America on holiday and smoked for the first time. I asked her why, and she said: 'It was more fun over there. It was illegal.' " Newshawk: DankHank Source: New York Times (NY)Author: John TierneyPublished: August 26, 2006Copyright: 2006 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: Articles: Cannabis Cafes Get Nudge To Fringes of a City Take Sober Look at Pot Laws Back Plan To Regulate Marijuana Farming 

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Comment #7 posted by BGreen on August 26, 2006 at 23:35:05 PT
I've never heard blend used for cannabis
Stable breeding strains are crossed to create hybrid strains. All of these are referred to as varieties by Ed Rosenthal in his books.In his book, The Big Book of Buds, Rosenthal defines a strain as: "A line of offspring derived from common ancestors."A blend implies some sort of mixture done after the plant is harvested and dried, like a tobacco blend which consists of different types of tobacco mixed together with any or all of the approximately one thousand approved chemicals and flavoring agents.Any blending done with cannabis is on the genetic level and has nothing to do with adding chemicals to the final product.It's really important that we retain the cannabis vernacular and reject adopting the vernacular of the poisonous tobacco product.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #6 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on August 26, 2006 at 23:04:31 PT
I like her position on Nuclear War -
It’s Not Too Late To Stop Nuclear UseAmericans who lived through the Cold War know that our main concern in those days was nuclear war. All sorts of planning was subjected to the overriding goal of avoiding the mushroom cloud. Even the East Europeans in the 1970s and ‘80s felt justified in protesting the Soviet plans to use n-weapons.So when did this change? When did nuclear fallout stop being a problem? Did someone invent a weapon that uses uranium without causing health problems? Without causing genetic damage to offspring? In short, when did it become safe to release radioactive fallout into Earth’s atmosphere?
The answer is “Never.” We should still fear the mushroom cloud. We should wisely acknowledge that any open use of uranium is hazardous to human health. Believe me, the science of physics hasn’t come up with a new interpretation of radioactivity.Yet, the United States has dramatically changed its nuclear policy. The media failed to encourage public debate about this, possibly because the Defense Dept obscured the announcement by spreading it over three gradual steps.First, in January 2002, while people were still in shock over 9-11, the White House issued its Nuclear Posture Review. It included the doctrine of the Preemptive Strike. This was the first time since the UN Charter of 1945 that one nation declared that it has a right to use force on another.At this point, Congress should have stepped in. Under the Constitution only Congress has the power to declare war, so only Congress should be the author of such a dramatic new doctrine (the right to make preemptive strikes).Then, in April 2003, the Pentagon produced CONPLAN 8022, which authorizes commanders in the field to opt for nuclear weapons if the situation calls for it. Such battlefield decisions would never allow time for Congress’s approval. Ah, you say, generals can’t be chasing around for Congress’s say-so – a general must be given his head. No, our generals cannot be given their head with nuclear weapons. As I said, the laws of physics and radioactivity have not changed since the Cold War.The third step involves ‘bunker busters’. It allows our military to attack the enemy’s deeply buried facilities. The new technology known as bunker busting involves nuclear explosions underground. Many people see this as just another updating of weaponry. Historically, every weapon inventor has made use of whatever technology is available to achieve results. But again, this excludes any role for Congress or the public to participate. I believe bunker busters should not have been added to the arsenal without serious reflection and debate.Now, in August 2006, the opportunity for calm discussion has passed. We find ourselves close to starting a nuclear war in the Middle East. The reported plan is for us to attack Iran, which could provoke Russia to join in, in support of Iran.The House of Representatives is in recess and the Senate is about to break up for the season. I believe the Senate should grab a hold of this issue urgently today. It is outrageous for our politicians to abandon one of the most solemn responsibilities laid upon them by the Founding Fathers.As a last resort, the responsibility must devolve to the public. Everyone who has worries about nuclear weapons can at least articulate that to his neighbors, his doctor, his shopkeeper, anyone who will listen. For some reason, the churches have not been very vocal this time, but any member of the faithful could encourage an individual priest or rabbi to call a meeting.There is not sufficient time for the sending around of petitions or the organizing of rallies. Let each citizen lodge her objections in a loud, personal way. At this point, even the most selfish self-protection is appropriate.I myself do not have children, but I am happy to advocate for those too young to speak and for those not yet born. I cry out and say, “Stop, you idiots! Stop, you cruel adults! Who are you to play God with my future? Who are you to condemn me to cancer and deformities? Why would you want to devastate the land, as at Chernobyl, so that no food can grow on this soil forever? Why are you doing this to me? Have you even given it a thought?”There is still time to act.- Mary Maxwell, Candidate for US Congress, New Hampshire 2nd District, in the Republican Primary on September 12th, 2006
Mary Maxwell on Nuclear War
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Comment #5 posted by whig on August 26, 2006 at 22:31:36 PT
Republican candidate questions 9/11
Wonder if she's got a position on medical marijuana.
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Comment #4 posted by b4daylight on August 26, 2006 at 20:32:03 PT
Well I am guessing blend is a term used when they cross breed different speicies of cannabis.  
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Comment #3 posted by whig on August 26, 2006 at 12:50:45 PT
For whatever reason some of the dispensaries here refer to their strains as blends too.
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Comment #2 posted by Max Flowers on August 26, 2006 at 11:10:13 PT
Thanks for that, mayan and whig
Also want to nitpick and point out that "Arjan's Haze" is a STRAIN, not a "blend." This ain't coffee we're talking about. Cannabis doesn't usually get blended.
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on August 26, 2006 at 07:33:23 PT
Heads Up!
Thanks to whig's blog I just found out about this... C-SPAN2's Book TV Presents 'The Case for Impeachment' This Weekend - The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office - by Dave Lindorff and Barbara OlshanskyIt will begin airing nationally on C-Span2's "Book TV" program this Saturday, August 26, at 11pm Eastern (8pm Pacific) and again on Sunday, August 27, at 8:15am Eastern (5:15am Pacific)., whig! Everyone, please spread this news around!!!
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