Pubdate: Fri, 15 May 2009
Source: Niagara This Week (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: William Thomas,
Note: Autographed copies of William's 10 books of humour are 
available at


Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California has re-opened the debate 
on the legalization of marijuana faster than you can say: "Like dude, 
whatever you just said is awesome!" Having given up all hope of 
becoming president of the United States, Arnold now wants to become 
Obama's Maharaji.

There's so much illegal marijuana being grown in California that 
legalizing and then taxing it would make the state instantly wealthy. 
There is so much illegal marijuana being grown here in Wainfleet that 
legalizing and then taxing it might allow us all to drink water from 
the tap and fearlessly flush a toilet now and again.

Since the abolition of vices has never worked, not for alcohol or 
prostitution, the day will inevitably come when all democratic 
countries will legalize, control and profit from the sale of drugs by 
the state, thereby ending drug wars, overcrowded prisons and most of 
today's gang violence.  Portugal has already done this quite 
successfully with a drop in crime and drug use.  Like alcoholics, 
they treat heavy drug use like the disease it is.

After governments try every other unworkable idea, common sense 
usually replaces hysteria.

However, Governor Schwarzenegger would be wise to review a test case 
here in Ontario a few years back which revealed the horrible criminal 
consequences that can result from smoking your shirt. First let me 
say, I do not smoke. Secondly, if I did smoke, I don't see myself 
propped up in bed, reading a newspaper, sipping coffee and smoking my 
pyjama top. Thirdly, I don't own a pyjama top.

In Canada, where it is legal to burn the national flag, it is illegal 
to smoke your shirt.  Honest. I am not making this up and I swear I 
have not had a really good toke on a very old sock for almost 72 hours.

The case involved a 28-year-old man in London, Ont., who was charged 
with illegally selling hemp seedlings from his retail clothing store. 
Federal Justice Department lawyers contended that hemp, which is a 
derivative of cannabis could be smoked to produce the same effect as 
marijuana. From my best recollection of the '60s, the scientific term 
for the effect of marijuana smoking is pervasive giddiness 
interrupted by the odd snorgle.

The feds claim there should be no distinction between a marijuana 
cigarette and hemp clothing since both could be consumed as a drug. 
The store owner disagreed and took his case to the Ontario Court of 
Appeal, claiming the federal government did not prove that his hemp 
clothing was of the intoxicating kind.

When this argument was presented in court, the defendant became 
stressed and subsequently chewed the sleeve off his hemp sweat shirt 
and played air guitar for the remainder of the trial. Lawyers for 
both sides were called to the bench where they sniffed the judge's 
hemp robes and began chanting: "All we are saying ... is give peace a chance."

OK, those two events did not actually happen but let's not forget 
that most people in the Canadian legal system today are baby boomers 
which makes lawyers denouncing marijuana a lot like hookers speaking 
out against sex.

I imagine the appeals trial went something like this:

Judge: "I will remind the defendant that he is under oath. Now, have 
you ever had the occasion to smoke your shirt?"

Defendant:  "Ah, yeah I did but I like quit?"

Judge:  "You quit smoking?"

Defendant:  "I quit smoking my shirt."

Judge:  "And when was that?"

Defendant:  "When I got to the armpit."

Judge:  "Man, that's gross."

Defendant:  "That's nothin'.  Like once I had to change a baby that 
had like a hemp diaper and ...."

Judge:  "Yuckkkk-O!  Clear the courtroom.  Case dismissed."

The defendant did plead guilty to a lesser charge of indecent 
exposure. It seems he became confused that morning, hiding his hemp 
clothes in a crawlspace and wearing his water pipe to court. In 
conclusion, all lawyers urged everyone in the courtroom to just say 
'no' to smoking marijuana which in the long run they reasoned, would 
help bring the price down.

Legal distinction between marijuana and hemp clothing could have 
far-reaching ramifications in the drug world.  For instance, a drug 
dealer busted for trafficking in marijuana could still legally sell 
his overcoat to an undercover officer. And let's say, for the sake of 
legal argument that that undercover officer was also wearing hemp 
undergarments.  That, legal or not, would be very itchy.

I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, Bill, where in hell's 
half acre of homegrown hydroponic grass will this end?  My point, 
and, yes, I did have one before my hat caught fire, is that the 
governor of California must first define what is and what is not 
marijuana, otherwise L.A.'s shirtless could outnumber its homeless, 
if you know what I mean.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom