Recent Articles

Recent Comments

« | Main | »


By Hempology | September 26, 2007

Sept. 26/07


Every country has a different cannabis culture, with citizens growing in at least 172 countries.  In countries like Canada the use of the herb and enforcement of the law can vary between areas in the same province.  With improvements in indoor growing techniques and seeds available on-line, there is no major city in the world where cannabis or hashish is not available.  In Japan the use of cannabis is strictly prohibited, though it is available.  Other countries like Malaysia and Indonesia are also very tough on drug users in general.  China has a large hemp industry, producing hemp fibre board and massive amounts of hemp cloth and twine, while enforcing the prohibition laws aggressively.  While very little cannabis is imported into China, it is grown for local use in some provinces.  India hasn’t prohibited its citizens from using cannabis, though tourists can still expect to be harassed by authorities if caught using in public.  Hashish is commonly used throughout the Middle East, though most religious groups frown upon the use of any intoxicant.  However, there is an ancient history of the use of hashish in the lower and middle classes of many of these peoples that continues in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco and Egypt.

There are pygmies in Africa that believe they have smoked cannabis since the beginning of time.  Most countries in Africa have been growing cannabis for local consumption since the 1500’s.  Most of Africa has been forced to put resources into the prohibition of cannabis by international laws and trade.  European countries have a range of positions, though there is a general movement towards less enforcement of the laws.  In France, hemp has been grown for rolling and cigarette papers for years while the laws are tightly enforced.  In Britain there has been a slight loosening of the enforcement of the cannabis laws in some areas and while the medical uses seems to be widely accepted, there are no compassion clubs.  In fact, there are very few medical clubs in Europe.  Amsterdam stands out in the world as the most open cannabis city, followed by San Francisco, California and Nimbin, Australia, which has an annual festival in which cannabis plays a central part. The Hempfest in Seattle usually draws over 50,000 people and deserves some mention, too.   In 2006, San Francisco created a moratorium on the creation of new medical clubs because with 37 in operation already, city officials thought no more were needed.   

Recently DEA officers have raided dozens of medical clubs in California, though hundreds still operate.  With over 750,000 arrested for simple possession last year, the US is the world’s largest consumer and producer of cannabis.  Jamaica seems to be reconsidering the cannabis laws.  Many countries in Central and South America are telling the US to stop exporting the drug war, though the Columbian government is still working close with Washington.  In 2006 Mexico almost legalized the possession of small amounts of all drugs until the US administration pressured them into dropping the proposed changes in law.  In a report released by the UN in 2007 the countries with the highest rates of cannabis consumption are Papua New Guinea (29.5%), Micronesia (29.1%), Ghana (21.5%), Zambia (17.7%), Canada (16.8%), Sierre Leone (16.1%), Cyprus (14.1%) and New Zealand (13.4%), with the Netherlands at 6.4%.  Lowest rates include Brazil (1.0%), China (0.7%), Japan (0.1%), Singapore (0.004%) and Korea (0.002%).  About 3.8% of the adults in the world consume cannabis.

Although cannabis is now illegal one would not know it from it’s presence.  While at Koh Kong at a guesthouse referred to us by our travel booker on Koh Chang, Thailand, no more than 5 minutes had passed when a young guide named Bawn offered me a bag of cannabis.  The vacuum-sealed bag, containing about 10 grams was offered to me for $10.  I haggled with Bawn and ended up paying about $6 for it.  The bag, containing mostly dark brown airy buds of a Sativa variety had a fresh clean aroma to it.  I asked him where I could find a larger amount because I wanted to make some photographs of growing fields or plants or at least the bags of cannabis.  He looked up at me proudly and said, “my father grew it.?  Bawn was explaining that cannabis has a stigma of being an old-fashioned, old man’s drug and with concern that Cambodians looking for a high are much more likely to drink alcohol or get involved in imported hard drugs like Ecstasy or amphetamines is why the government has made some crackdowns.  Bawn quickly put the smile back on his face about his father’s cannabis farm and said that the harvest was finished but that there was many kilos still at the house that I could see.  Ed Borg, CAMBODIA; A TRAVEL GUIDE, Weed World #52

There are many reasons why a study on cannabis in a Southern African country like Lesotho is relevant (and further research a necessity). Cannabis cultivation and use as a drug are deeply entrenched in the region. Indeed, they are part of the culture of many southern African ethnic groups, and archaeological evidence suggests that cannabis has been grown and used since before the 15th century. It would seem that this tradition is now used in the setting up of a modern commercial “agri-business” of cannabis production and sale on regional, mostly urban, mass markets. CANNABIS IN LESOTHO: A PRELIMINARY SURVEY, Laurent Laniel, 1997
Marijuana is the most widely used and readily available drug in the United States. It is the only major drug of abuse grown within United States borders.  The DEA is aggressively striving to halt the spread of marijuana cultivation in the United States.  In 2004, the DCE/SP was responsible for the eradication of 3,200,121cultivated outdoor marijuana plants, and 206,896 indoor plants. In addition, the DCE/SP has attributed for 8,043 arrests and the seizure in excess of 31.1 million dollars of cultivator assets. DEA HOMEPAGE

In 2003, the Government of Morocco and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime undertook the first survey of cannabis cultivation in Morocco.  While confirming the general extent of cannabis production in the Rif region, the 2004 Survey reveals a 10% decline in cultivation to 120,500 hectares- an encouraging step in the right direction.
This year’s survey builds on the work of the 2003 Survey by shedding new light on the motivations for cannabis cultivation and highlighting possible motives for change- all of which could eventually contribute to the elaboration of a national strategy to fight cannabis cultivation.  The socio-economic findings presented here indicate that cannabis prices have been declining between 1999-2004. This has put pressure on the 800,000 people involved in cannabis production, whose income has dropped 26% as compared to 2003.

Income from cannabis production remains low relative to overall GDP per capita.  Unfortunately, although the disparity between incomes in the legitimate sector (US$1,478) and incomes in the illicit sector (US$400) is striking, there are very few alternatives to cannabis production in these isolated and service-deprived regions.  In localities heavily devoted to cannabis monoculture, traditional agricultural skills and practices have been lost as a result of the over-dependence on cannabis as a livelihood strategy.  This is particularly the case amongst the youth, who have experienced no other livelihood strategy and who view cannabis cultivation as the sole means to independence and prosperity.  Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, MOROCCO: CANNABIS SURVEY 2004

This is a big issue in New Zealand because a lot of people use pot and grow it and it’s become very much part of the culture. According to recent research, more than half the population between the ages of 15 and 45 admits to using or to having used pot. In fact, NZ has the highest per capita rate of use anywhere in the world. Julian Pettifer, BBC News, 03/09/00

The 10,000 year co-evolution of cannabis and humanity has had a profound impact on both plant and humans.  Cannabis has affected our cultural history; we have affected the plant’s biological evolution.  From small populations of ancient progenitors, hundreds of varieties or strains of cannabis have evolved. Frank & Rosenthal, MARIJUANA GROWERS GUIDE

Mulgrew, Ian, BUD INC.; INSIDE CANADA’S MARIJUANA INDUSTRY, Random House Canada, 2005
Matthews, Patrick, CANNABIS CULTURE, Bloomsbury Publishing, 1999
Clarke, Robert Connell, HASHISH, Red Eye Press, 1998
Conrad, Chris, HEMP; LIFELINE TO THE FUTURE, Creative Xpressions Publications, 1994
Rosenthal, Ed, editor, HEMP TODAY, Quick American Archives, 1994
Jones, Nick, SPLIFFS; A CELEBRATION OF CANNABIS CULTURE, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers 2003
RosenthaL, Ed, editor, THE BIG BOOK OF BUDS, Quick American Press Archives, 2001
King, Jason, THE CANNABIBLE, Ten Speed Press, 2001
Andrews & Vinkenoog, editors, THE BOOK OF GRASS; ANTHOLOGY ON INDIAN HEMP, Penguin, 1972
Robinson, Rowan, THE GREAT BOOK OF HEMP, Park Street Press, 1996
Solomon, David, editor, THE MARIJUANA PAPERS, The New American Library Inc., 1968

Topics: Articles | Comments Off

Comments are closed.