The green green grass of home

Posted on April 21st, 2010 3 great comments. Room for one more!

“Where to buy weed in Toronto”.

That was the reigning search on TCL for quite a while. Search number two was “city sweats”, followed closely by “Perspirex in Toronto”.

Strange how these things come about.

Sweats and Perspirex, especially as relate to Toronto, are apparently a niche that only this blog can fill. Both searches lead to a post about a trio of miniature commercials I saw one night that seemed to target women with simultaneous dermatological problems, odour issues, and bikini zone chafing. Perspirex, an industrial-strength antiperspirant, was one of the products in the commercials; mentioned in the post more-or-less in passing. TCL subsequently became one of Toronto’s best web resources for sweaty crotches and a panoply of related variants.

The weed search usually returns a link to a post I’d written last May about the topic. Not exactly the Yellow Pages for Toronto’s ganja dealers, but better than a guidebook. My point wasn’t to discuss marijuana anyway, more the attitude towards it in this city. As I’d mentioned, I thought that cops were generally cool with pot smokers. It’s the people dealing the stuff that tend to cause the problems, and I think this is broadly recognized. Most of the people I spoke to at the 420 rally yesterday agreed with me. Then again, they probably would, wouldn’t they? :)

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I just discovered this myself, but apparently April 20th is traditionally the day to drag your ass to some hastily-arranged public location (I got the tweet that morning), and at the stroke of 4:20, toke like you’ve never toked before. All in the hope that marijuana will be fully decriminalized.

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I’m all in favour of decriminalization myself, for personal reasons too :) , but in a more pragmatic way. For example, what sort of portable, reliable, minimally invasive roadside test would we have for people suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana? I may not do it, you may not do it, but that doesn’t mean someone wouldn’t. I think it’s considerably less than groovy to operate a vehicle under the influence of anything.

There are also broader policy issues to consider. For example, how would marijuana be sold and controlled? What about the health risks associated with smoking? And what about the effects on society in the broader context?

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If you ask me, the sale of marijuana should be restricted in the same way as tobacco or alcohol are; I just don’t see how it’s any worse than either of these substances, physiologically or otherwise. Smoking anything is generally not good for you but there are newer techniques for getting the good stuff out of weed that don’t involve combustion (fire and smoke) – proven to be healthier than cigarettes.

However, let’s say that even this this has potentially unforeseeable health effects, only to be discovered at some time in the future. To address this, a  tax levied on all marijuana sales would go into a common coffer to provide healthcare to all those stoners who just can’t put the bong down. In other words, they pay for their own lung transplant, not you.

And how would marijuana affect our social fabric? Would it rend from end to end, would it remain much the same way, or what?

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Pretty valid questions considering what happened on Tuesday. The guy in handcuffs above (I chose the most apt photo), got into an argument with someone (one of the guys being questioned at the back there), and pulled a gun halfway through. In the blink of an eye, a couple of people pounced on him and took him down, holding him still until the cops arrived. A CTV camera guy was on scene when it happened and the overhead cameras on the square showed the crowd rushing away from the fight as soon as someone screamed “gun!”

No shots were fired and the only blood left behind was from the fisticuffs. But still – shows that drugs and violence / crime are inextricably linked, doesn’t it?

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Nope. There’s no evidence that the guy with the gun was high or trying to sell / buy anything. He was just a jerk with a weapon and happened to see someone he didn’t like in the rally. And the people I spoke to would much rather buy certified ganja from the government than from street rats like that dick – if they only had a choice.

I experienced a couple of harrowing moments when the batteries in my camera died while standing on a table in the middle of the demonstration. Just at the moment when every one of my appendages was occupied, the organizers decided to begin dispensing free joints to the crowd who made a mad scramble for the stage. They made greater haste towards the joints than away from the gun. If it wasn’t for my spacious feet and decent sense of balance … well, I don’t like to think about it.

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As you can see, most of the afternoon was smiles and thick, billowing smoke. I’m afraid I completely forgot the names of the upstanding young gentlemen above (sorry, fellas, it was that kind of afternoon), but I invited them to drop by TCL to introduce themselves. Local talent is always welcome. :)

Speaking of local talent, and ending an entirely different topic, here’s a friend holding the next instalment of the TCL postcard series.

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I left one on the street on Monday (insert), and I gave one to Casie. She works in the building, I was already on my second pint at that point – it just seemed like the right thing to do. I usually tweet my location whenever I’m off somewhere drowning my sorrows, so if I happen to have another postcard with me, and you’re asking, I’d be pleased to exchange it for a beverage. :)

3 Comments on “ The green green grass of home ”

  • charadeur
    May 23rd, 2010 7:30 am

    What kind of logic is that? Someone pulls a gun so now pot and gun violence "go hand in hand?" Just last week someone pulled a gun at a high school baseball game. That does not intrinsically link high school baseball with gun violence. The only thing this "reminds us of" is that at a gathering of a 1000 or more people at least one fool with bring a gun.


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  • Patrick
    May 24th, 2010 4:10 am

    That's true, Charadeur; these kinds of tenuous links have been in existence for so long that many people don't even question them. Right now pot and violence are crime are in bed together but that doesn't mean you can't have one without the other. And the pot rally proved that. Just out of curiosity, who are you quoting?


  • Chris
    May 19th, 2012 8:49 am

    It is the drug war that causes the majority of the violence associated with ALL drugs. There will always be violent thugs in any part of a society. Forcing a product into the black market only serves to increase the number of violent people involved.

    Check out the results of blanket drug legalization in Portugal. Violence, deaths, abuse, and simple drug use overall has been dramatically reduced simply from legalizing drugs.

    I would also like to mention that I come from a family of cops, and have known many personally. The most violent and obscene drug users Ive ever known were cops. Drunk driving, driving on E, getting into fights, being loud and obnoxious, etc- these are my experiences getting drunk and doing drugs with cops (I wasn’t doing the driving). Yet police are supposed to be the enforcers of morality. It’s a load of crap.

    It’s time the world stopped hurting peaceful people who simply want to have a good time, and get these drugs out of the hands of thugs.


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