FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Greetings From the Cannabis Cup

by JOHN SINCLAIR

Amsterdam.

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 strictlyverboten.

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.”

John Sinclair, founder of the White Panthers, is a poet. His latest book is It’s All Good.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail