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Smokin Mad: The Great Pot Divide

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If Mr. Shapiro thinks that Amsterdam is a boring city, he has much more serious problems than whether he does or doesn't smoke pot, which he now seems to regard as the most significant aspect of his life. I would further suggest that the ( previously unknown ) myth that the wonderful city of Amsterdam is a "salacious hellhole" is one that Mr. Shapiro created himself.

While his hostile attitude toward marijuana is a typical response for former users who decide that they must "quit," he fails to explain why he should care why his North American friends think he moved to Amsterdam. His letter does, however, point out a critical effect of North America's war on marijuana.

Aside from the occasional coffeeshop, there is no visible marijuana culture in Holland. Nobody talks about it and the media rarely discuss it. A Dutch teenager may not even become aware of the existence of marijuana unless he happens to wander into a coffeeshop that serves this product.

The high profile marijuana enjoys in North America, such that even kindergarten children seem to be aware of it, seems to be inversely proportional to the efforts of the authorities to suppress it. As Mr. Shapiro pointed out, marijuana use in Holland is no greater, per capita, than in countries where it is violently suppressed. So the only thing we accomplish with our futile war on marijuana, other than triggering the violence surrounding its illegal distribution and ensuring lack of dosage and quality control for users, is to ensure that everyone in our society is aware of it from an early age. Tangentially, Mr. Shapiro's letter may serve as a cautionary tale. You can move to Europe, but you can't move away from yourself.

George Kosinski

Gibsons, BC

Source: View Magazine (Hamilton, CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 View Magazine
Contact: editor@viewmag.com
Website: View Magazine
 
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