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News (Media Awareness Project) - US MI: Column: Amsterdam's Cannabis Cup A Tourist Draw
Title:US MI: Column: Amsterdam's Cannabis Cup A Tourist Draw
Published On:2011-11-23
Source:Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Fetched On:2011-11-27 06:00:50
AMSTERDAM'S CANNABIS CUP A TOURIST DRAW

And to Think, Americans Don't Want This Source of Tax Revenue!

Highest greetings from the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, where I'm
enjoying the heady ambience of this society where they just don't care
if you want to get high and where a couple thousand American youths
are staggering around this week flashing their judge's badges and
sampling the wares of the city's 250 coffee shops.

About 10 percent of Amsterdam's coffee shops pony up the entrance fees
required to be showcased by High Times in its growing and consuming
competition and thus gain the patronage of the American weed tourists
during the week of the cup - and indeed all year round. The winning
coffee shops get the business when the drug tourists come to town, the
winning strains get purchased over the counter, and the winning seeds
are prized by the international growing community.

Cannabis is a booming business in the Netherlands, and the High Times
Cannabis Cup is its annual trade fair and exposition. But it's a world
of good, clean fun too - after all, we're dealing with marijuana here!
- - and the businesspeople derive a lot more pleasure from their
commercial activity than, say, their fellow merchants who are selling
Buicks and Chevrolets.

Until fairly recently, the cannabis business has been allowed to grow
and prosper, although the orthodox Christian convictions of the Queen
and the governing class have conspired to keep marijuana from being
declared fully "legal." Instead cannabis exists in what they call a
"gray area" where it is perfectly OK for the consumer to possess and
smoke weed and hashish in reasonable amounts and for the retailer to
sell amounts of as much as 5 grams per customer over the counter in
the coffee shops.

But it's strictly illegal to grow marijuana for commercial
consumption, to deliver the weed to commercial outlets for profit, or
to possess more than 500 grams at one time - the legal limit allowed
for coffee shops to have on their premises. The individual smoker may
grow as many as five plants at home for personal consumption, but
commercial growing is strictly verboten.

As in America and throughout the world, the legal justifications for
such proscription are just so much mumbo-jumbo in service of a social
order wherein pleasurable bodily sensations and intense mental
stimulation are ruled immoral and out of bounds even to the detriment
of their principal god, Mammon.

They could be making a whole lot more money from cannabis commerce,
but fear of God or burning eternally in hell seems to put a damper on
that particular avenue of exploitation, even where turning widows and
children out of their homes, making millions of honest toilers
"redundant" and without jobs, bombing innocent civilians or depriving
whole segments of the population of their inalienable human rights are
deemed acceptable.

With respect to the United States, the dollar figures are staggering
to contemplate. Of course it all happens off the charts, without
direct social benefit to the governmental bodies that could use the
money to help underwrite public services. Like their Dutch
counterparts, a significant proportion of Americans are engaged in
cannabis consumption and the concomitant growing, distribution and
sales involved with servicing their smoking needs.

It never ceases to amaze me that in a society in which everything else
- - intelligence, beauty, creativity, quality of daily life - has been
sacrificed to Mammon, the crusading forces draw the line at the
pursuit of happiness through consciousness expansion.

You can buy (or manufacture and sell) all the liquor you want, all the
pills of whatever potency, all the pornography, all the instruments of
bondage and torture, all the weapons of destruction, all the idiotic
mammoth automobiles, all the ugliest movies and recordings and
television programs imaginable, but you have to risk going to prison
or into treatment if you want to get high on a harmless little weed or
some other mind-altering product of organic origin.

And instead of legalizing drugs, regulating and taxing their
manufacture and sale, and utilizing the revenues in a socially useful
manner, the modern crusaders have elected to exact their tribute
through the machinery of the War on Drugs, financing dizzying levels
of law enforcement employment, the proliferation of courts and their
attendant personnel, jail and prison construction and the
ever-increasing number of persons required to operate them.

Dear readers, let's step forward and bring this godawful state of
affairs to a merciful end. Free the Weed. Let it grow.

Bits & pieces: Ben Horner of Michigan Medical Marijuana Report
magazine announces that the Vote Green Initiative Project (VGIP) will
host a conference in Ann Arbor on Jan. 27-29, with medical marijuana
speakers, vendors, doctor certifications, grow classes and more. In
the meantime, VGIP is circulating the Recall Bill Schuette petition
via its website at mmmrmag.com/elections.

Michigan legalization activist Tim Beck had some fun recently with
U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra at a meeting of the Grosse Pointe
Eastside Republican Club when he posed the question to the candidate:
"Would you be willing to support Congress rescheduling marijuana under
the Controlled Substances Act from Schedule 1 to a different level?"

Hoekstra: "Um, I just can't tell you. I don't know the answer to that."

At that point, Beck reports, "A man in the audience ... stood up and
declared in a loud voice: 'What's your problem, Hoekstra? Why won't
you answer the man's question? My brother almost died [from] prostate
cancer and medical marijuana saved his life... How dare you say this
is not medicine.' He refused to shut up when urged by the moderator
and a melee came close to breaking out."

DAVID BORDEN REPORTS in Stop the Drug War Speakeasy that it's smart
kids, not dumb kids, who use drugs as adults. Duh! Ever hearda Steve
Jobs? "So much of what we've been told about drugs and drug users
turns out to be the opposite of the truth," Borden says, "it's amazing
that the anti-drug fanatics are able to find any audience at all anymore.

"News like this comes as a surprise only if you understand remarkably
little about what drugs actually are and why people use them."

In a recent British study cited by Borden, "Researchers discovered men
with high childhood IQs were up to two times more likely to use
illegal drugs than their lower-scoring counterparts. Girls with high
IQs were up to three times more likely to use drugs as adults."

"It ought to be intuitive," Borden concludes, "that the curiosity
which comes along with above-average intelligence would also be
correlated with a heightened interest in experiencing altered states
of consciousness. No doubt, a little extra brain-power also serves to
inoculate against believing a lot of the BS we're fed about how
certain substances will turn your brain into a turnip."

No show: At the end of my last column I mentioned that there were
plans afoot to mount a 40th Anniversary Reunion of the 1971 John
Sinclair Freedom Rally on December 10 at Masonic Temple. Despite our
best efforts we were unable to realize our plans and the concert is
not happening. Sorry! It would've been a blast!
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