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The grass is always greener with a different set of laws

By Hempology | January 9, 2006

The world of the future as seen by author Ian Mulgrew will have pot stores in your neighbourhood, marijuana plants as high as an elephants eye replacing the zucchini in the garden, and a legal multi-billion dollar industry making significant tax contributions to health and education.

NOTE: The C.B.C. of C would like to advise that the recipe’s in the article are quite strong and may leave undesired affect. Moderate the amount of cannabis by starting small and seeing how it works. A method that has worked well for me is 1 gram bud to 1 oz butter. An average recipe calls for around 6 oz.s butter in my experiance. J


Bud Inc.: Inside Canadas Marijuana Industry by Ian Mulgrew; Random House; $35
While his vision may seem dopey to some, Mulgrew insists that response to his book Bud Inc. has been positive from both sides of the political spectrum. In its 275 pages, Mulgrew makes an articulate and coherent argument for legalizing a drug that is not only harmless, he says, but also of significant medical value.
Mulgrew, who writes a thrice-weekly justice column for the Vancouver Sun, revisits many of the familiar arguments in favour of legalization.
But one of his most important points is that the marijuana industry follows the economic law of supply and demand. Many of the kingpins in it are savvy entrepreneurs, Mulgrew says, and he compares them to the booze barons of the prohibition era many of whom went on to mega-fortunes when that misguided law was repealed.
He also suggests legally rolling a joint of your favourite Colombian or Afghani dope in legalized cannabis cafes across the country is inevitable.
Give it 10 years, he says, or 15 at most, and getting high will be as acceptable, nearly, as an after-work pint. He sees the government itself involved in the retailing of marijuana, much like provincial liquor control boards.
Canadians have to become comfortable with all the new information and new views of marijuana, and they have to be comfortable with the people selling it, Mulgrew says in an interview.
Theyre concerned about those things now, and rightly so, because marijuana is a cash cow for organized crime. Its their Wal-Mart, their profit centre.
But once marijuana is legalized, Mulgrew predicts that buyers will be able to buy their pot with different cannabinoid the active ingredient levels.
It will be just like beer is right now, where you can buy at four per cent alcohol or seven per cent alcohol.
Whats more, he says, smart marketers will realize that quality sells.
Were going to have people like the Gallo wine producers who will be making lots of your standard schwag, your sativa and indica, and then youre going to have boutique growers, producing Congolese, Thai, Colombian and Panama Red for niche markets.
Also expect to see packets at your local garden centre, with a variety of marijuana plant seeds stocked next to the onion sets.
Mulgrew, however, does not think that pot should be advertised.
Its a vice, and we dont need advertising and promotion. I dont think advocating getting high or intoxicated is good public policy, but I also dont think theres anything wrong with those things. But we dont need to put those messages in front of our kids.
Support for legalization comes from both the right and the left, he says.
The Fraser Institute, a Canadian right-wing think tank, agrees with him, Mulgrew says, as does the British Columbia Association of Medical Officers of Health. They are, he says, hardly a group of raving lefties.
Nevertheless, there is always the position of the American government to consider, and they are conducting a war against drugs. Mulgrew calls it a jihad.
Lets face it, the federal government is very concerned about any irritant to the most important relationship we have, so the cabinet isnt going to push the issue, he says.
However, he points out that many jurisdictions in the U.S. have de facto legalization right now.
I was stunned to go to Oakland and see downtown cannabis clubs operating in the open with some 80,000 medical patients in California licensed to use it. In places like Oakland, Denver, Seattle and Chicago, the police have been told not to enforce the marijuana possession laws.
Like the U.S., the law is not applied uniformly in Canada.
The situation is horrendous in this country, he says. If youre busted in New Brunswick or Saskatchewan for a grow op, youre going to do 18 months in jail while in B.C., its a probationary offence. I dont think you can have a federal criminal law in a country that is so capriciously enforced. Its not fair. Its just downright wrong.
Mulgrew is an occasional user himself, he says, and if Im at a party and someone passes me a joint, I might take a toke.
However, there were times during the two-year period in which he worked on the book, when he was spending a great deal of time with pot growers and pot smokers, that I smoked like a chimney.
But the father of four says he never smoked pot in front of his children.
My eldest is 32, and doesnt smoke, my 31-year-old daughter does and my 26-year-old son does. My seven-yearold hasnt started yet, he says with a laugh.
He acknowledges, however, that he grew a lush marijuana plant in his southfacing apartment in Edmonton when he lived here. When he put it out on his balcony, his neighbour, who happened be a provincial cabinet minister, congratulated him on his green thumb.
I told her they were tomatoes, he says, just tomatoes.
The Good Bud Guide
by Albie; Green Candy Press;
208 pages; $26.95
Lavishly illustrated with photographs of marijuana plants, many of which could have played the central role in the classic botany-gonebad science fiction flick The Day of the Triffids, this book is positively encyclopedic.
With discussions of more than 40 different varieties of the plant, the book also contains hints on watering, lighting and optimum temperatures, cuttings and humidity. There are also detailed instructions on how to roll a tight and tidy spliff.
The singularly named author, whose experience as a grower is obvious on every page, includes an at-a-glance info box for each variety. Its a handy guide for gardeners seeking data on yields, flowering periods, relative humidity necessary for the greatest success and light wattages required for the best possible harvest.
There are photographs of the plants at maturity, as well as close-ups of both the cured and uncured buds.
Not content with providing the kinds of gardening tips readers can find in any of the more traditional horticulture manuals and magazines, Albie also provides an analysis of taste, aroma and effect, using a variety of recognizable comparisons including such flavours as blueberry yogurt, lemon meringue pie, root beer, old cheese and beef broth.
For example, the Cinderella 99 F2 strain earns a rave as gourmet with the aroma of musky grapefruit which is extremely long lasting.
Theres more, apparently, to Cinderella than taste.
This herb expands the mind and is excellent for creativity, Albie says, otherwise best indulged in at the end of the day or on evenings in, as the duration of the effect is extremely long with little taper off and no ceiling level.
Consider yourself warned.
On the other hand, the fast-maturing Mazar, which flowers in a relatively brisk 63 days, is described as having the aroma of dried fruit with subtle, sweet aniseed undertones, making it a perfect after-dinner toke.
Or, as Albie also recommends, this strain is excellent after breakfast with coffee.
Marijuana Cooking: Good Medicine Made Easy by Bliss Cameron and Veronica Greene; Green Candy Press; 59 pages; $20.50
Written with medical marijuana users clearly in mind although recreational users will find handy cooking tips too this cookbooks dozen or so recipes should satisfy all sorts of sweet-tooth cravings. With the kind of full-colour illustrations that are found in mainstream recipe books, Marijuana Cooking has its own obvious agenda: some folks need this drug for their health and it should be available to them. Its also for those among us who might find smoking a joint results in a socially embarrassing fit of coughing, wheezing and hacking.
Complete with a responsible and balanced introduction that provides warnings for first-time users, the book also deals with making marijuana oil and butter extracts, necessary for many of the recipes that follow. There are also instructions on the increasingly popular art of producing your own tinctures, a combination of cannabis leaf and your favourite booze, although absinthe and vodka seem to the most common tipples of choice.
Each recipe comes complete with an estimation of the strength of the dosage of marijuana in each cookie or square. Here, then, is a sample recipe. Its a variation on the traditional 60s Alice B. Toklas brownie, and well bet you cant stop at just one.
Honey Chocolate Brownies
Makes 48 squares Prep time: 30 minutes.
1 cup melted marijuana butter (instructions below) or oil 1/2 cup melted unsweetened chocolate or cocoa powder 1 cup honey 4 eggs 2 tsp vanilla 2 cups unbleached white flour 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp sea salt 1 cup raisins (optional) 1 cup chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 350 F or 175 C.
Whip the butter, chocolate, carob or cocoa and honey together until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add the dry ingredients, stir until dampened. Add the optional raisins and nuts and mix thoroughly. Pour batter into a greased 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until done. Cool and cut into 24 equal pieces. Each serving has 2 tsp of butter, which is considered a high dose. Cut into 48 pieces (about two inches by one inch) for a medium dose.
Marijuana Butter
The suggested ratio is 2 oz of marijuana for 3 pounds of butter, although with carefully trimmed buds and its higher THC content, the ratio recommended is 1 oz of cannabis to 2 lbs butter. Coarsely grind the cleaned cannabis in a blender or coffee grinder. Clarify butter in a crock pot by skimming the foam from the melted butter at least three times, letting the butter cool before each reheating. Add the cannabis and bring to a very light simmer for at least an hour. Let cool for at least eight hours. Reheat and cool at least two more times. This will increase the potency of the butter. Strain the butter through a fine mesh, squeezing out as much butter as possible. Put the finished product in one-cup containers and refrigerate until needed.
Marc Horton is the books editor at the Edmonton Journal. CanWest News Service

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