What Will My Grow Room Smell Like?

29 01 2011

The City Council Can Help!

30,000 cannabis-scented cards have been distributed to residents of Den Haag and Rotterdam by their city councils. This disturbing plan aims to help people recognize the smell of grow rooms and report on their neighbours.scratch-card

We have very little confidence that asking people to rat on their neighbor will actually improve the standard of living in any given city. Luckily this plan is doomed from the start as the cards smell as much like weed as Magic Tree air fresheners smell like an actual pine forest.

For people who already know what a grow room smells like, here are a few suggestions of other things that can be done with a card that smells of cannabis:

  1. Hang it from the rear view mirror of your car. If the police ask why your car smells of marijuana, simply point at it and smile.
  2. Emergency deodorant. Rub armpits quickly while no-one is looking.
  3. Take it to a festival- your tent will smell fantastic, attract new friends, and be easy to find in the dark (it’s the one that smells like a grow room).




Once upon a time, booze was banned and weed wasn’t

17 01 2011

Reviewed: Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, by Daniel Okrent, Scribner, 468 pages, $30 Source: Cannabisnews.

What Can Today’s Crusaders Against Prohibition Learn From Their Predecessors Who Ended the Alcohol Ban?

Of the 27 amendments to the U.S.  Constitution, the 18th is the only one explicitly aimed at restricting people’s freedom.  It is also the only one that has ever been repealed.  Maybe that’s encouraging, especially for those of us who recognize the parallels between that amendment, which ushered in the nationwide prohibition of alcohol, and current bans on other drugs.

But given the manifest failure and unpleasant side effects of Prohibition, its elimination after 14 years is not terribly surprising, despite the arduous process required to undo a constitutional amendment.  The real puzzle, as the journalist Daniel Okrent argues in his masterful new history of the period, is how a nation that never had a teetotaling majority, let alone one committed to forcibly imposing its lifestyle on others, embarked upon such a doomed experiment to begin with.  How did a country consisting mostly of drinkers agree to forbid drinking?

The short answer is that it didn’t.  As a reveler accurately protests during a Treasury Department raid on a private banquet in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, neither the 18th Amendment nor the Volstead Act, which implemented it, prohibited mere possession or consumption of alcohol.  The amendment took effect a full year after ratification, and those who could afford it were free in the meantime to stock up on wine and liquor, which they were permitted to consume until the supplies ran out.  The law also included exceptions that were important for those without well-stocked wine cellars or the means to buy the entire inventory of a liquor store ( as the actress Mary Pickford did ).  Home production of cider, beer, and wine was permitted, as was commercial production of alcohol for religious, medicinal, and industrial use ( three loopholes that were widely abused ).  In these respects Prohibition was much less onerous than our current drug laws.  Indeed, the legal situation was akin to what today would be called “decriminalization” or even a form of “legalization.” Read the rest of this entry »





Debating drug policy and the path to change

5 01 2011

By Virginia Berridge:

As a historian of drug policy, my natural inclination is to turn to the past. An encounter in the mid-19th century Cambridge market place came to mind. A character in Charles Kingsley’s novel Alton Locke relates what the “druggist’s shop” was selling: “you’ll see the little boxes, doozens and dozens a’ ready on the counter…Opium, bor alive, opium!” Opium was on open sale in the 19th century; after 1868 pharmacists were in charge with minimal regulation. In the absence of much by way of effective therapeutics, the drug was central to medical practice and a mainstay of self-medication—the aspirin or paracetamol of its day.


Cannabis was a different matter. Its widespread use in the Far East was never replicated in the home country. Queen Victoria did not, despite recent claims, use cannabis in childbirth, although her physician, William O’Shaughnessy, wanted to introduce the drug into medical practice. Uncertainty of its action limited its use and differentiated cannabis from opium, whose alkaloids, codeine, morphine, and later heroin, gained it a central role in developing professional therapeutics.

It is a far cry from the minimal regulation of the 19th century, to the world in which these two books operate. Drug Policy and the Public Good has been written by an impressive team led by Thomas Babor and aims to “evaluate critically the available research on drug policy, and to present it in a way which informs both the policy maker and the scientific community”. Its scope is intended to be comprehensive and international, to inform the debate in countries where research is thin on the ground as well as in those that produce more of it. The book’s contributors write about why people use drugs, who uses drugs, and trends in use. Illicit drug use is associated with a range of harms, disease, disability, mortality, criminality, and other social harms. However, as the authors point out, for most countries, the burdens, harms, and costs of illicit drugs are less than those attributable to alcohol and tobacco. We learn about how and why drug markets operate and their effect on price. Strategies—prevention, services for drug users, supply control, prescription regimes, and criminal sanctions—are carefully examined. Drugs operate within a system of international control that, despite increasingly vociferous attempts from civil society organisations in recent years, shows little sign of change. National policies must conform to these international principles, although the national experience does differ; country studies from Nigeria to Sweden illustrate the point. The book ends with ten conclusions from the evidence: these range from the assurance that there is no “magic bullet” for drug problems, to the importance of a country’s pharmacy system in regulation. Perhaps not so far, then, from the 19th century.

Read the rest of this entry »








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