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Current Affairs 2006 - Culture (57 items)

Dec 20, 2006 Stoned Canadian Drivers Double Since '80s The number of Canadians who say they've driven after smoking drugs has more than doubled since the late 1980s, according to a study that reports young men drive while high just as often, or even more, than they drink and drive. Almost five per cent of the 4,639 drivers surveyed said they'd driven within two hours of using marijuana or hashish in the previous year an average of 24 times, said the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

Dec 14, 2006 Canadian Weed Board Will Need A Bigger Cafeteria Eureka! Get this: The Canadian Weed Board.

Eh? Eh?

The column is now open for questions.

Yes, you, Q, you have a question?

Q: Just five. What? Why? Where? When? And, in particular, insofar as it certainly bears repeating: WHAT?!

A: Exactly as stated. Parliament passes legislation not to abolish, not to weaken, but to preserve forever the Canadian Wheat Board, on two conditions: 1 ) instead of a soft "Wh..." and an "...e-t," a hard "W.." and an "...e-d," a virtual homonym, and 2 ) instead of selling grain, the marketing monopoly moves exclusively into cannabis, marijuana, goof grass, spliff, mary jane, dope, jazzleaf. Everybody wins. The Canadian Whe..er, Weed Board gets to keeps its existence as a 500-employee federal bureaucracy. Farmers, released from historic board restrictions and obligations, gain the freedom to sell their grain to anybody at any time.

Dec 13, 2006 The Capital's Drugs Are History: Owner The drug dealers were here, but they're gone now, said Capital Hotel co-owner Maurice Byblow, while sitting in its bar on Monday afternoon. The only problem is, when the dealers left in August, they took more than half of Byblow's business with them.

Dec 5, 2006 Business Busted Chatham-Kent police has scored its largest ever seizure of drug paraphernalia. During a raid at a St. Clair Street convenience store last week, officers seized more than 2,000 items including pipes, water bongs, scales and grinders.

[Everyone feel safer now? Has this world gone completely insane?]
Nov 24, 2006 Baby Boom Pot Smokers' Principles Up In Smoke Weekly, in this city and across Canada, marijuana grow house operations are busted; kids are arrested in parks as they smoke grass -- the war on "drugs" marches on. So lucrative is the business of selling marijuana that drug dealers kill each other to stay on top, often also killing or maiming innocent bystanders in the process. And in the midst of all this, on any given Saturday night, the elite of this country -- including doctors, lawyers and journalists -- puff away on marijuana and sip red wine as they exchange pleasant conversation at dinner parties. Anything wrong with this picture?

Nov 23, 2006 Medical Pot Users Fume Over Tories' Drug-Driving Regular medical marijuana users are being unfairly targeted by the Conservative government's new drug-driving legislation, which will increase penalties and make it easier for police to crack down on people who do drugs before getting behind the wheel, a national advocacy group warned yesterday. "This law, we feel, would unfairly target marijuana users," said Russell Barth, a medical marijuana user and member of the National Capital Reformers. "Discriminating against us based on our medication . is much like discriminating against us based on the colour of our skin."

[ The Casnadian Cannabis Coalition, an umbrella organization for the cannabis community, issued a press release on this subject as well. ]
Nov 18, 2006 Waging War On A Benign Plant I know countless people who treat marijuana as our father's generation treated alcohol - as a social indulgence, one to be shared at a party or consumed after a hard day at work. And not one of the dozens of people I know who enjoy using marijuana is anywhere near the slippery slope to the world of crack, as laughably claimed by prohibitionists who parrot the lie that pot is a dangerous gateway drug. The problem lies in the current laws. When the Conservatives decided to ditch the Liberals' progressive plan to decriminalize pot, they reinforced the warped reality that makes criminals of upstanding citizens who enjoy using marijuana.

Nov 17, 2006 Chief Constable Dan Maluta In Nelson As for the many questions about marijuana, the local economy, and how Nelson's community feels about this drug, Maluta will not be drawn too far.... The Chief is aware that 'marijuana advocates' talk about 'mom-and-pop operations' as being mostly harmless, or will say 'maybe some handicapped person might earn a little cash by growing-' He notes that when mom and pop grow ops are busted, it is usual to find the owners have an average of nine Criminal Code offences in their past records.

Nov 11, 2006 Posters Accuse Miller Of Having Opponent Jailed David Miller has been accused of a lot of things in this election campaign, but, until recently, throwing people into jail wasn't on the list. ... Posters have appeared on newspaper boxes and hydro poles accusing the mayor of sweeping an opponent, Rev. Peter Okatar Styrsky, into a Northern Ontario jail to keep him out of the race. ... Specifically, the hand-drawn posters, which feature cartoon marijuana leaves and scrawled block-letter text, suggest the mayor had direct influence in the jailing of Mr. Styrsky, a member of the controversial, pro-marijuana Assembly of the Church of the Universe.

Nov 8, 2006 Battle For Bud The government announced its decision to fund Prairie Plant Systems Inc. to grow cannabis inside an abandoned mine shaft mid-October. "The frustration there is this is a company that really has not worked hard to meet the needs of the end users of this product," Lucas says in a recent interview. While 1,400 Canadians are registered in the medical marijuana program, only 300 order marijuana through PPS. According to Lucas, the government has spent more than $8 million on the PPS production facility. "Now if we divide that over 300 people, we can see what we're growing in Flin Flon, Manitoba is the world's most expensive bud," he says. But PPS president Brent Zettl says public outcry from medical marijuana advocates is a thin disguise for ulterior motives.

Nov 2, 2006 93% Of Canadians Okay With Medicinal Pot Nearly Half Back Full Legalization; Support Is Highest In Quebec And B.C. In a nationwide survey, an overwhelming 93 per cent of Canadians indicated they accept the idea of people legally smoking marijuana for health reasons. Nearly three in four ( 70 per cent ) not only accept the practice but also personally approve of the behaviour.

[ Not much has changed in six years - (See: 2000 Survey ) - Support still runs in the 90+ percentile for medpot, and the government still does nothing ]
Oct 28, 2006 Church Allegedly Dealt Pot Members of the Assembly of the Church of the Universe in Toronto were pro-marijuana activists who were too lazy to agitate for the cause, a police source said yesterday. "Basically these folks believe in the legalization of marijuana, but didn't wait for the laws to change or have not taken the appropriate steps to change the laws," the source said.

Oct 7, 2006 Heady Times With Tommy Chong Tommy, who found fame in the comedy duo Cheech and Chong and as the old hippie in That '70s Show, was in Victoria last weekend to promote his new book. The I Chong: Meditations from the Joint is a non-fiction recap of his nine months in the slammer after getting busted for shipping bongs to a Pennsylvania head shop.

Oct 6, 2006 A Smart Response To BC's Pot Habit Stephen Harper should take a hard look at this week's study on marijuana use from the University of Victoria's Centre for Addiction Research. It signals certain failure for the kind of law-and-order crackdown on the drug the Conservatives appear to favour. That shouldn't be a surprise, just as the study's findings shouldn't come as a shock. British Columbians are more likely both to use marijuana and to believe that it should be decriminalized.

Oct 5, 2006 BC The Marijuana Capital Of Canada, Study Finds People in B.C. smoke more marijuana than people in any other province in Canada, according to a study released Wednesday. "There is more occasional and low-risk cannabis use, more tolerant attitudes, and greater availability in B.C. than in the rest of Canada," says the study for Addictions Research of B.C., which is based at the University of Victoria, "In B.C. cannabis, like alcohol, is now regarded as a 'normal' recreational drug."

Sep 30, 2006 Chong Pontificates On Politics, Pot And Prison In New n his new book "The I Chong: Meditations From the Joint" ( Simon and Schuster ), Chong insists the feds came after him, at the behest of the Bush administration, because he'd frequently spoken out against the war on terror and the erosion of civil liberties after 9-11.

Sep 16, 2006CN BC: Cafe Owner Gets 15 Months In Jail For Selling Pot The owner of the now defunct Da Kine Cafe on Commercial Drive has been sentenced to 15 months in jail for openly selling marijuana to customers. At the height of the coffee shop's success in the summer of 2004, police say it attracted thousands of customers to its doors, gaining international attention.

Sep 15, 2006 Pot Activist Sells Seeds To Advance Cause Dana Larsen Flouts Law With New Vancouver Store to Promote Legalization Vancouver pot activist Dana Larsen was on the phone at his new Vancouver Seed Bank storefront Thursday, telling a caller from Wisconsin that he has no plans to sell pot seeds to Americans through the mail. Larsen told the potential client that he doesn't want to make the mistake made by his long-time friend and colleague Marc Emery who sold marijuana seeds to U.S. addresses.

Sep 14, 2006 New marijuana seed business sets up shop The marijuana seed store on East Hastings Street in Vancouver has been open since May.
Manager Dana Larsen hopes to avoid legal problems by avoiding sales to the U.S.

A Vancouver man has launched a store-front business selling marijuana seeds over the counter and online to people across Canada and in Europe. Dana Larsen opened the Vancouver Seed Bank on East Hastings Street in May, and isn't hiding the fact that he's breaking the law.
Larsen's store is similar to the one operated by B.C. Marijuana party Leader Marc Emery until it was shut down by Vancouver police last year at the request of the U.S. government. Emery, who is free on bail, now faces possible extradition to the U.S. on drug and money-laundering charges. Larsen says he believes that as long as he avoids the American market, he won't be arrested.
"By us not sending any marijuana seeds to the U.S., we're not anticipating any problems from their government because we're not breaking any of their laws.
"And I don't think we'll have any problems within Canada. We're not the first person to be selling marijuana seeds and nobody in Canada has faced problems for selling marijuana seeds within Canada for quite awhile."
Larsen says police officers have come into his store while on patrol, and didn't appear to have any problem with his merchandise. However Simon Fraser University criminologist Neil Boyd says Larsen is taking a big risk.
"Most people who sell marijuana seeds aren't going to advertise publicly that they sell marijuana or marijuana seeds. He's playing a game of poker with those with the power to enforce the law."

Sep 1, 2006 Cannabis Use in British Columbia: patterns of use, perceptions, and public opinion as assessed in the 2004 Canadian Addiction Survey - September 2006 (PDF) Cannabis Use in British Columbia
Compared with other Canadians, significantly fewer BC respondents said they believed cannabis use should be illegal (42% versus 49%), while significantly more stated they:
  • had ever used cannabis in the past 53% in BC versus 44% elsewhere
  • experienced access to be very easy 65% in BC versus 44% elsewhere
  • believed both occasional and regular cannabis use to be harm free.

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