Fudge your way through the haze of le­galised pot

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

WHEN the Amer­i­can states of Washington and Colorado voted to le­galise mar­i­juana in Novem­ber 2012, the In­sti­tuto Mex­i­cano para la Com­pet­i­tivi­dad, a think tank in Mex­ico City, cal­cu­lated these re­forms would cost the Mex­i­can drug car­tels about $1.4 bil­lion in an­nual rev­enue.

Ge­og­ra­phy is not our strong point at the Ma­hogany Ridge, but we do know that Washington and Colorado are some dis­tance away from the Mex­i­can bor­der, and that the car­tels’ big­gest mar­ket by far re­mains Cal­i­for­nia.

In Novem­ber last year, Cal­i­for­ni­ans voted in favour of recre­ational mar­i­juana, paving the way for the largest com­mer­cial pot mar­ket in the US – and more huge losses to the car­tels. Mas­sachusetts and Ne­vada also voted for recre­ational use.

Cal­i­for­nia le­galised mar­i­juana for med­i­cal use in 1996, the first state to do so. Its ap­proval of the more tra­di­tional use of the drug has taken a sur­pris­ingly long time, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing its sup­pos­edly pro­gres­sive rep­u­ta­tion or, if you will, its gen­eral propen­sity for woo-woo flak­i­ness.

One pos­si­ble rea­son for this is that those in­volved in the dope economies of Men­do­cino, Trin­ity and Hum­boldt coun­ties – the hilly “emer­ald tri­an­gle” of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia and the largest cannabis-pro­duc­ing re­gion in the US – ac­tively cam­paigned against le­gal­i­sa­tion, fear­ing that it would bring an end to a life­style that has, if I may, flow­ered there since the late 1960s.

Le­gal­i­sa­tion, it was ar­gued, would mean state in­ter­ven­tion, taxes and reg­u­la­tions: heavy s*** from “the man”, and what have you. There was also the fear of both Big Pharma and Big Farma muscling out the hip­piecot­tage in­dus­try types.

Imag­ine tok­ing up with some­thing called Be­yond Mif™ by Mon­santo? Or get­ting baked on Klax­oGage™? It’s bound to be a bum­mer in ev­ery re­spect.

I men­tion all this only be­cause it’s the sort of ar­gu­ment that would per­haps ben­e­fit those who are op­pos­ing the Pre­to­ria High Court ap­pli­ca­tion by Jules Stubbs and Myr­tle Clarke, the so-called “Dagga Cou­ple”, to le­galise the use and sale of the drug for med­i­cal and recre­ational pur­poses.

Once the growth, pro­duc­tion, sale and dis­tri­bu­tion of cannabis were per­mit­ted and reg­u­lated, the state’s ad­vo­cates could sug­gest, it would then become another re­source to be plun­dered by the Gup­tas and their fel­low rent-seek­ers at the Sax­on­wold She­been.

It’s not a very strong ar­gu­ment, ad­mit­tedly, but it does seem to be a whole lot bet­ter than what they’ve come up with so far.

Ac­cord­ing to Stubbs and Clarke’s ad­vo­cate, Don Ma­hon, the state has pro­duced no ex­pert or sci­en­tific ev­i­dence to sup­port its op­po­si­tion to his clients’ ac­tion. He told the court this ev­i­dence should have been handed to him four months ago.

To date, all the state has done is at­tempt to have all ev­i­dence sup­port­ing the use of the drug by adults – an­nex­ures in the form of sci­en­tific reports, aca­demic lit­er­a­ture or ex­pert tes­ti­mony – thrown out of court.

Ad­vo­cate Reg Wil­lis, who is ap­pear­ing for Doc­tors for Life (Chris­tian both­er­ers who are sup­port­ing the state in this mat­ter), has claimed some of these an­nex­ures were too long to read any­way.

Be­ing some­thing of a back-chat­ting smarty-pants, Ma­hon told the court that see­ing as he’s had them for 10 months now, Wil­lis has had plenty of time to go through the doc­u­ments.

With the in­con­ve­nient ev­i­dence to the con­trary out of the way, the state will, with ex­pert tes­ti­mony from Doc­tors for a Life With­out Science, be able to con­vince the court and the world at large of the evils of dagga.

For a start, it will pre­vent pa­tients from ap­pre­ci­at­ing the full force of their God-given can­cers by re­duc­ing their pain, com­bat­ing nau­sea and stim­u­lat­ing their ap­petites. It’s not what He wanted when He made them sick in the first place.

Then, of course, there is that old fear that some­one, some­where, is just hav­ing too much fun, and the court may be forced to en­dure lengthy ac­counts of young peo­ple in the throes of goat-fevered rut­ting and other sex­ual de­prav­ity.

This sort of thing is more com­monly as­so­ci­ated with a good brandy-and-coke ben­der. Just ask our bar­maid. But how she gets her jol­lies is her busi­ness, and we won’t go there. We may in­stead go march­ing. Dagga, it must be said, is the drug of choice when one is demon­strat­ing against President Ja­cob Zuma.

More than wine, or even ab­sinthe, it helps com­bat the dreary sense of déjà vu.

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