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The Stoned Myths of Canada

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
Bud Country. * The legends, myths, and lore surrounding the pot paradise that Canada has become has reached legendary proportions. An incredible level of tolerance has created a relaxing toking environment that Potheads booting the bong filled with "BC Bud" around the world wrongfully gossip about.

Canada has been overgrown. However, save for the Summer of Freedom, which took place last year, where possession of under thirty grams meant the cops had to walk, grass is not legal. Caused by a strategic assault in court, the "Thirty And Under Blunder" opened the door to anyone and everyone toking openly everywhere. Now that the legal loophole has been closed, the fuzz has half heartily gone back to charging for simple possession.

When the coppers do decide to use their discretion and bag a Pothead for the simple act of toking or passing a jay in public to a willing participant, the consequence is laughable. Instead of harsh meted sentences, judges are putting felons such as the self proclaimed Prince of Pot, Marc Emery behind bars for 90 day stretch. Then there's the horrid handling of Jean Cooper. The 76 year-old women, who found a community and more importantly relief from the aches and pains of old age was busted by the Hamilton, Ontario police for inhaling at the Up In Smoke Café.

Cannabis cafés first sprung up in VanAmsterdam, a section of Vancouver that catered to marijuana enthusiasts. Blunt Brothers, "A Respectable Joint," tolerated customers coming into their establishment to toke. Following up the encroachment made during the Summer of Freedom several cafés opened in more conservative Ontario. Two well-located cannabis-friendly jives popped up in T-Dot, Hot Box located in the back of Roach-A-Rama in colorful Kensington Market and G-13 residing in the Beaches.

During the last federal election both leading candidates in the electoral boundary where the cafes resided fell over themselves to say that they saw no harm and that the police were upholding their party's spirit of the law when it came to the toking. More talk than action, the government apparently intends to table their decrim bill, which would allow the police the power to simply ticket Potheads for possession of less than thirty grams.

Where the three cafes are BYOB, Bring Your Own Bud, Hamilton's Chris Goodwin announced that his café would be pure-up Amsterdam style. The Goodster told the local cops that he would sell grass to members and allow them to smoke the herb on the premise of the Up In Smoke Cafe. Several meetings with the police chief later, Goodster conceded that people, who would be members of a club could toke on the premise. The coppers have entered the establishment when Goodster has had a mountain of grass on the counter, which they ignore. However, they have targeted customers, charging four people for possession since the grand opening in late August.

Not to be outdone, on the West Coast, Da Kine opened and actually went through with the selling of grass ala Amsterdam café. Two weeks of surveillance the coppers shut the joint down, only to be opened a day later. The fuzz claim that the friendly strangers rolled in the dosh better than a casino, earning, according to their far reaching estimates $30,000 a day.

When not baking a full line of awesome tasty stony treats, T-Dot's Puff Mama operates a marijuana speakeasy. Taking a page out of '20s alcohol prohibition, where a doormen oversaw entry by password to a bopping joint fueled by bootleg booze, the awesome baker hosts semi-regular Sunday night marijuana speakeasy. Nothing but good vibes, great buzzing eats, shared grass and like-minded stoners chilling in a positive, healthy, homey vibe.

Celebrating one's love of the herb with people who are also there to get their ya-yas out in an environment conducive to getting stoned can be an overwhelming experience. People ingesting great quantities of grass, whether it be in coffee, cakes, crumpets, scrumpets, bongs, vaporizers, blunts, pipes or tasty rolling papers, can send an outsider curled up and shaking their head. It's not unheard for a hardcore veteran to curl up into the "This Is Not Happening" position after hitting the Volcano vaporizer one too many times.

For an American or any grass tourist the experience can be overwhelming. Many attuned American heads pilgrimage North to experience the forbidden pleasure either taking in a café as part of their vacation or attending a cannabis cup. Suddenly treated as an adult for the first time in their life these outsiders get gonozoed. Their minds explode when Canadian Potheads take up park space and start openly flaunting the law by passing spliffs.

On Canabian Day, Niagara Falls Potheads peacefully did just that by pleasantly protesting on the corner of Canada's busiest tourist corner Falls View Ave. and Clifton Hill drawing gawks from tourists, but also participants. Besides handing out literature, organizers smoked up brave souls who couldn't believe the audacity of the group to break the law.

"How are you guys doing this?" A perplexed but friendly fellow, who had heard me work the megaphone inviting anyone and everyone to "Meet the Potheads. We're a friendly bunch" wanted to know.

"We're doing it, man." I replied, observing the lone copper who had taken up position across the street.

"Want to smoke a joint?" my hippie comrade asked the disbelieving American.

Talk about a weird and crazy vacation. Imagine returning home from traveling aboard, and we're talking Canada, a fairly accessible country for the bolder American and telling friends. "I saw the Falls, but walking back to the hotel these Canadians smoked me."

There's no grand conspiracy that a full-fledged Canadian marijuana legalization law is being hampered by America's War on Drugs meddling. Hence the reason Niagara Falls is used as inroad to generating American heat. Canadian lawmakers have studied grass legalization since the disco days. However, like the supposed red triangle theory in the Far East, a Green Menace apparently is lurking on the other side of the 49th. Should Canada fall, and ultimately the end is coming, America one day might go Titanic also.

U.S. Drug Czar John Walters has preached the false horrors of Canuck grass, claiming that loaded in THC "BC Bud" is the "crack cocaine" of marijuana. Superb genetics, high yielding organic nutrients, a booming indoor hydroponics industry has created marijuana that, unlike back in the day, has a unique taste, high and look that can only be maintained through talented gardening. Naturally this loving care has created an improved quality of grass.

The Czar insists that Canadian marijuana is driving the number of impressionable young American teens seeking drug dependency help higher than the sun. The tragically misinformed White House nutter pounds the rubber chicken circuit preaching the false horrors of Canuck grass, lax attitude of our officials and the idea that marijuana is mostly harmless.

Though every Pothead insists that they've had genuine "BC Bud," the reality is that the term has been so co-opted that any weed with some potency to it often is labeled "BC Bud." The reality is that the amazing Canuck grass
largely remains domestic, with only about three per cent trekking south. This is less than Mexico exports. The mostly harmless substance that does arrive into the U.S. is often returned for the much harsher drug cocaine or to many Canadians' horror guns. A legal environment would keep the grass in and the guns out.

When Canada removes prohibition, Americans would be welcome to taste freedom. Whereas Americans tend not to want government meddling, Canadians accept government rules and regulations placed upon intoxicants alcohol and
tobacco that has done wonderfully at keeping these drugs out of teens' reach. New Democrat Party politicians are calling for the mountain of grass that their constituents are partaking in to be taxed, purchased and smoked in
licensed establishments, with professional cannabis vintners having their product distributed via government operated outlets. Think this is crazy talk! The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) controls access to wine,
spirits and beer, along with what establishments are permitted to sell alcohol. This government body rakes in over a billion dollars for the state.

A Cannabis Control Board of Ontario would regulate marijuana in the same manner as alcohol. Without lifting the bonds of prohibition the federal government has decreed that marijuana is a taxable substance. They'll gladly accept what is owed to them on sales. Call their measure a Grass Sales Tax. A tax battle that I partook in had the government argue that marijuana could be taxed at seven per cent under the current tax code. With the government gleefully going after money owed on my marijuana sales, the CCBO argument began to take.

With the Minister of Finance refusing to clarify that the Canadian government wanted weed money without setting out any form of regulation, the CCBO is an NDP motion to Tax, Regulate, License, Sell, but more importantly would immediately address the problem. Activists have stopped calling for decrim, opting instead to go for the gusto by demanding nothing less than the full legalization of grass.

For now many, many, marijuana enthusiasts are jitterbugging the law into submission. The final, glory, sun-setting days of prohibition has possibly begun to hit Canada. Getting in on the dance shouldn't be a stumbling block. Acting stoner stoopid is surely going to lead to a downer vacation, but even an American could somewhat integrate himself into this culture. Besides the cafes, making a trek for a marijuana protest is often worthwhile.

These protests are an excellent place to meet like-minded souls who might smoke an American or provide some grass. Many Canadian tokers are aware of the harsh conditions set upon them by The American Man and are willing to show a brother or sister freedom. During the warmer months Canucks have taken to protesting outside, bringing bongs, bullhorns and signs to parks.

Besides outright pot toking, many of these protests, which verge on festivals, have frontline speakers bringing their stories of police harassment and court victories firsthand to the masses. Up to as many as three thousand people lounge about on the grass listening to the message and soaking in the freedom of outdoor toking.

Winter months have cannabis competitions. Which are propping up just about anywhere a café is. These competitions offer participants an excellent opportunity to flavor an assortment of the best that growers have to offer. Then there's the speakeasy.

Marijuana has become mainstream. With the massive positive media exposure, Canadians have in some cases accepted and in the majority tolerated those who partake in the herb. Once one begins to understand the difference between tolerance and legalization they are halfway to grasping the Canadian marijuana issue. The current tolerated environment is favorable over decrim.

The overgrowth has taken hold. The police would need an industrial military sized weed eater to eliminate the amount of grass grown here. With cafes taking hold, growers enthusiastically producing large sums of grass, incredible amounts of money being generated and a populace aware that the country didn't become a Russ Myers horror movie when the law fell by the wayside last summer has created an environment favorable to legalization. The positive peaceful pot movement, who's numbers continue to grow as weed like as the plant they represent, has glimpsed a Promised Land. Soon those false myths that cannabis is legal up there in Canada will become, like all good legends after a while, true.

by: Matt Mernagh
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