Pubdate: Thu, 05 May 2016
Source: NOW Magazine (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 NOW Communications Inc.
Author: Marc Emery
Page: 12
Bookmark: (Emery, Marc)


Prince of Pot reports on the state of cannabis culture around the 
world - and why 2016 is a big year for bud - in the lead-up to this 
weekend's Toronto Global Marijuana March

In Canada we're pretty spoiled when it comes to marijuana 
availability and price.

Although we're likely to be the first nation to legalize every aspect 
of cannabis availability, we're part of a worldwide trend to 
legitimize and legalize cannabis.

Costa Rica legalized medical marijuana on May 1 to go along with 
efforts already in bloom in that country to industrialize hemp production.

In Mexico, where the war on drugs has claimed untold numbers of 
lives, a Supreme Court decision has identified personal cultivation 
of cannabis as a constitutionally protected right. Mexico City will 
host its first marijuana growing expo, Expoweed Mexico, August 12--14.

Colombia legalized medical marijuana in December, following Chile, 
whose government pays the cost of supplying 4,000 Chileans with their 
medical cannabis.

But it's in Uruguay that the movement for legal weed is really 
flowering south of the equator. There, you can grow your own or have 
a cannabis club grow it for you. A nationwide retail distribution 
program supplied by six licensed distributors at $1 U.S. per gram is 
set to begin in June and will simultaneously offer the world's 
lowest--price weed and wipe out the black market.

The Vietnamese group translates hundreds of 
article on cannabis from Western media and journals from around the globe.

And anyone can grow and sell clones and cuttings of marijuana plants 
in Austria. A company called Flowery Field produces and sells 50,000 
cannabis cuttings a month.

Meanwhile, Poland submitted its recommendations on cannabis 
legalization to the UN Special Session on Drugs on April 20.

Spain, the third -largest marijuana producer in the world after the 
United States and Canada, is growing huge quantities of cannabis and 
cannabis seeds in the Mediterranean coastal areas from Barcelona to 
Malaga. There are always jobs for good growers. Barcelona has 225 
cannabis clubs.

There are no borders in Europe if you travel overland, yet scarcity 
of weed is evident in Italy (Mafia and difficult police), Hungary, 
Romania and Bosnia - a reminder that marijuana won't legalize itself; 
persistent citizen pressure is required.

Croatia and Slovenia have substantial cannabis cultivation going on, 
but there's no activism of any kind in France, and Holland has 
regressed somewhat from its 1990s heyday. Truth be told, the Dutch 
don't smoke pot. In Germany, only Berlin and Munich see much 
legalization activity.

Sweden, meanwhile, has the most regressive marijuana laws in Europe. 
It's actually illegal to be high, not just to possess marijuana. In a 
case that's caused a media sensation, a paralyzed man was prosecuted 
last year for using cannabis to relieve symptoms of pain, anxiety and 

Andreas Thorn was initially acquitted of drug charges in August 2015 
after successfully arguing that his health was at immediate risk if 
he didn't use cannabis for medicinal purposes. Prosecutors appealed 
the decision, and on March 31 an appeal court sided with the 
government, ordering that Thorn be convicted and sentenced to a heavy fine.

In Malaysia, activists have been harassed and threatened with arrest 
just for advocating for medical marijuana on their Facebook page.

There's a similar repression in Malta, where prison terms of up to 10 
years and high prices afflict the island.

Unlike Malta, the seven Canary Islands are producing prodigious 
amounts of cannabis and have over 75 cannabis clubs serving 1.5 
million islanders.

In South Africa, activists are making headway getting the medical 
benefits of cannabis discussed, but the divide between blacks and 
whites in political organizations, along with a very corrupt ANC 
government, makes a united front difficult. Nonetheless, the first 
legal challenge against prohibition of "dagga," as it's called, goes 
before South Africa's Constitutional Court later this year.

Closer to Canada, several U.S. states, including California, vote on 
legalization initiatives in November.

The endgame is now before us.

- ---

Marc Emery will be back in Toronto for the 18th annual Global 
Marijuana March Saturday, May 7.

- ------------------------


Toronto Global Marijuana March deets

When: High noon - of course - for 2 pm launch, Saturday (May 7).

Where: Gather at Queen's Park North, march along Bloor to Yonge, 
south to Wellesley and back to Queen's Park.

Why: Legalize it! Bring your buds!
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom