Latvia: My (Weedless) Nightmare Behind The Old Iron Curtain

[This is Part 2 in a series. Click here to read Part 1, “Chronicles From Moscow: The Drug Situation in Russia”.]

I was on a bus with my head pressed against the cold window. It was freezing and I couldn’t sleep. I left Moscow more than 10 hours ago. It was five in the morning and dark, but you can guess that the fog was encompassing everything.

The driver made an announcement. We had reached the border with Latvia. We had to go through the Russian control and then through Latvian customs. There was a tense feeling in the air but I couldn’t grasp what it is; I felt kind of like someone years ago when the communists controlled everything that happened on this side of the world. The Latvian guard got on the bus and started to collect passports. He was surprised to see my Mexican passport, it was like if he was looking at a psychedelic sticker of Nikita Khrushchev. I was told to get out of the bus and I followed their orders. They said they had never seen a Mexican before and I looked strange; I was the first Mexican to cross the border in this remote part of the world, so they wanted to have the exotic experience of talking to me in their broken English.

I reached Riga in the morning, around 10 AM. I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not; it was strange. Riga is the capital city of Latvia, one of the Baltic countries that was part of the USSR along with Lithuania and Estonia. The city-center is very beautiful. Like a lot of European cities, it combines the old feeling with a modern atmosphere. They try to incorporate the contemporary tendencies in the old buildings. The centre is full of tourists and beautiful people are everywhere. Nice patios and a couple of medieval and gothic churches decorate the town. There are big murals and a modernist building which houses the Museum of Interventions where they vilify Russians and Germans as enemies of the state, despite the fact that 30% of the population of the country is Russian.

I stayed in a nice little hostel in the middle of the city-center. Everything was swell. I visited the city, the churches, drank beer in the main plaza on a huge patio, worked a little bit, had lunch, walked and walked, and saw the river that crosses the city, Daugava.

Latvia is now part of the European Union and has spent a lot of money on their city-centre, but the people still lives miserably. In the old town there are modern bars and boutiques, but in the outskirts you can see the concrete blocks where poverty crawls everywhere in this near-bankrupt country of 2-million people. Sadly, I couldn’t smoke any weed.

Marijuana

The quality of marijuana in this Baltic country is not very good, according to my contacts, because I never had the chance to try it, unfortunately. They affirm that most of it comes from England and some from Russia. Dutch weed is a luxury item here.

Almost nobody grows here because of fear and lack of resources. Poverty is present in every sector of the economy and growing pot is no exception. The price of a gram is at least 10 Lats ($18 US). But if the quality is fairly good, the price could go up and if it comes from Holland expect to pay 15 Lats ($27 US). I also heard that it might be possible to score in the night clubs, but it is more likely to get some pills like ecstasy.

“The best is to have a connection with good marihuana and a fair price,” Dzelzs Vilks (not his real name) tells us: “You have to be very careful with the quality of the grass when you are buying because it is very hard to define which is good and which is bad. The quality generally is bad and they charge you 10 Lats per gram. Only experience smokers can identify good weed when they smell it. I cannot”.

Like Dzelezs, nobody admits openly in this country that they smoke marijuana. If somebody is arrested in the street and has marijuana with him or her, they will face a big problem with the Latvian authorities. They are very square-minded. Latvia signed the 1961 convention act of the United Nations regarding the prohibition of drugs and included all cannabis-related products on the list of “controlled substances”.

Possession is forbidden unless is for scientific and medicinal purposes. Possession quantities are a little vague and ambiguous; according to my research, if a normal person is caught with what is considered a ‘big quantity’ (one kilogram of non-dry marijuana or 100 grams of dry marijuana) he is expected to spend at least seven years in a Latvian jail. If that person is found to be a participant in a criminal organization or there are other kinds of narcotics, or if the person is dealing, the sentence increases to 10 – 15 years. If you are caught with a small quantity of dry, 2 grams for instance, you still could have serious problems with the law and even some jail time. My contacts in Riga reaffirm this.

“The first thing you have to understand is that it is the same situation for tourists as for national Latvians,” Jelena told me.

“There is no difference” Emils reaffirms, nodding his head.

“But we have to admit that the law in Latvia is not clearly written and the interpretation can be very different depending on the situation,” continues Jelena. “If you get caught you can also try to bribe the cop so he can ‘forget’ about you. Corruption is an everyday thing here. On one hand it is very possible that he will accept the bribe because of necessity, but on the other hand, he might be afraid to lose his job because a lot of people are losing their jobs, so cops are also very careful not to risk their work”.

Other drugs

People in Latvia are always looking for a way to alter their state of consciousness, and alcohol is their favourite drug to do so, due to its wide availability and low cost. Sometimes they even distill alcohol illegally, often with dire consequences like blindness or death. In addition, the tradition of drinking is well established in the Baltic countries and generally when you open a bottle here, you never close it until is empty. They drink until they are drunk and some studies show that almost half of Latvians drink that way at least once a week. Another Russian heritage; vodka runs freely throughout the cities, but contrary to Russia, you cannot drink on the street; however, in the main square you can buy a beer for a Lat and drink it there.

During Soviet times, Latvians used tranquilizers like Dimedrol and a tea called Hanka that is made by infusions of dry poppies. Some say musicians and artists of that time had access to more natural drugs like marijuana.

Recently, according to data from official studies, since 2002, there is an increase in addictions to different substances. It seems that people are using different combinations of drugs at the same time. Some non-official organizations have conducted their own studies with astonishing results. One of them concludes that 37% of the registered patients for the first time in 2008 in some hospitals were using different substances at the same time. 29% were diagnosed with intake of opiates (mostly heroine). Amphetamines and methamphetamines were present in 17% of the patients while only 9% of them said to be taking cannabis. In regards to tobacco consumption, it is believed that 65% of the adult population are heavy smokers.

Latvia has signed three of the United Nations conventions for the regulation of drugs. Besides, Riga is a member of European Cities Against Drugs (ECAD). This movement is in charge of regulating the so-called soft drugs. An extreme organization that views total prohibition as the only solution, they are trying to eliminate the distinction between hard and soft drugs to impede marijuana legalizing efforts.

There are approximately 15,000 hard drug users in Latvia. The panorama is not very cheerful. Here the authorities waste money in actions that have no results while the country is in deep debt in the middle of an economic depression that worries the whole population. In other words, the country is bankrupt and there is a lot of unemployment which translates in poverty and crime. Outside of the old town that is the city-center, there is a feeling of despair and insecurity in the city. But the government is wasting money on useless policies.

The Robbery

What was meant to be my last day, I spent the morning filming around the old town. In the afternoon I found a funky jazz restaurant and I stopped to eat.

I was eating in the bar when a strange guy heard that I was looking for a concert to film for www.vanmusic.ca. I shot a lot of cool footage of the city that day and had my camera with me. I also had my laptop because I was working.

He was a strange guy, and I mean strange because he was wearing a suit and a tie and was recommending a hard rock band – maybe I should have suspected a guy in a tie.

“So the only problem,” he said, “is that the band plays outside of the centre.” Their name was Rusa Gruppa and they were supposed to be one of the biggest bands in the underground movement of Riga. “A mix of Latvian punk with heavy rock and a social conscience,” he told me.

Latvia doesn´t seem like a dangerous place because the center is very nice, and I didn´t see the signs or listen to my interior voice. So I grabbed a taxi that took me to the other side of the bridge, where poverty looms on top of every roof of the communist-era buildings, their dwellers shriek with hopelessness as their country goes broke.

The taxi dropped me off at a small bar on a corner. The band was waiting for me already and pushed me into the bar as quickly as they could. I thought there was a threat luring outside – it was like those werewolf movies where everybody stays at the bar at night because outside they could get killed by these terrifying creatures.

I filmed the band, who didn´t really fit the description that was given to me. They were big and hairy. A cross between Latvian bikers and inbred truckers from Oklahoma. They put meat on the table with potatoes. I ask the band and its groupies if they had any weed – nothing. Then the songs exploded. They played loud. The place was full. About 40 spectators were there, mostly rocker kids and a couple of sinister looking fellows, who I think were responsible for what happened to me after the party. These guys were big, bold, and mean.

I was taking photos, doing my creative shots, and everybody was very nice to me. For some of them, it was the first time they had ever seen a Mexican in their lives. When I wanted to leave, I asked the bartender to call me cab. A young Latvian kid bought me a good-bye vodka and I drank up. I had my laptop and my video camera and some excellent footage of Latvians in their natural habitat.

I was waiting outside of the bar for the taxi when from behind I suddenly felt a big arm, like if a bear was attacking me. I turned around and started feeling punches. Then I was on the ground being kicked. I could see the shadows of three skinheads, Latvians Neo-Nazis.

They are obviously drunk, and left me for a moment to stand up. One tells me some gibberish in his language, then tries to grab the bag with the camera and the laptop. I tell them in English that they can´t take my tools away; I need them to work. One of them tries again and I punch him out of frustration then started throwing punches until they grab me. I felt a metallic blow above by eyebrow in the right corner of the left eye. Could have been a ring. Fucking skinheads took my bag, my wallet with my cards, IDs and 70 Lats.

All I remember was watching the dark sky on my back unable to get up, unable to move, then it was all blank… I don´t remember how I got to the police. I remember leaning against a wall and telling them everything at the station, and was frustrated because they just sat there. They didn´t go looking for the guys that just robbed my stuff, who must have been known to the police, but there were no investigation, nothing. Police are also very nationalist in that country, they don´t like foreign people or tourists that much.

“What do you want us to do,” they asked me, like I was asking for a piece of the moon. “Do your work, go find my stuff,” I told them while my swollen eye was getting bigger and darker, kind of purplish. I told them what I thought of their system and that they were better off as part of the USSR, so they threw me out of the station.

I went back in to tell them that the least they could do was to take me to my hostel, as I didn´t have the slightest idea where I was. It was 5 in the morning, and the sun was just coming up as a solitary tram broke the tranquility of the deserted street. They took me to the hostel and I went up to my room to sleep.

The next day, Jelena and Emils, two cool Latvians friends of a friend, came to see me. BY noon my eye was huge and I felt like the elephant man. Every part of my body ached, it felt like they had kicked me everywhere. I was stranded in Riga without money.

Crisis

Latvia is going through some harsh times. A conservative estimate says that about 40,000 mortgages are not paid in Latvia. In a country of just over 2-million, that is an alarming thought.

On January 13, 2009 there was a massive protest in Riga to demand a solution for the economic crisis, and the protest got violent. Some protestors went straight to the parliament. Police dispersed the people with batons, tear gas and rubber bullets. Even the mass media still speaks about the brutal repression of that day and the unjustified violence of the police and the special forces that came an hour later to the protest. People now are scared, poor and afraid.

“In other times, Latvians and the other two Baltic countries (Estonia and Lithuania) used to be saved by their father, the USSR, who always pulled them out of trouble,” said a living legend – an ex-KGB agent I met who would not give his name for obvious reasons. “They didn´t have much but they were better off. Even though they don´t like Russians and wanted to be independent, they didn´t have to worry where to live or what to eat. They still have this idea that the government will save their problems, but now, instead of the USSR, there is the European Union – but they will not do it for them. The World Bank and the IMF have them by the balls.”

The ex-agent and I sipped Georgian cognac and he continued, “Drugs? There´s always been people smoking marijuana, even in the soviet times. We didn´t see it wrong that people were smoking weed. We were looking for spies not drug users. People have always been very discreet when taking drugs behind the iron curtain still are now. There´s always been hard laws against drug users and that image is still in the heads of the Latvian people, but they don´t care and they will continue to take drugs. Drugs will always exist, they should legalize them all.”

I decide to leave the country. It was pointless to stay there with no weed, no money, and the police doing nothing to help me. I called my contact in Szeged, Hungary and started to make my way. ‘I have another contact in Budapest,’ I thought while I was embarking the plane that would take me to Hungary, ‘and maybe he will have some weed.’

Latvian dictionary

? Do you want to smoke? – Vai gribi uzsm???t?
? marihuana – z?l?te (slang)
? joint– k?sis (slang)
? 5-6 joints– ku?is (slang -a boat)
? Hash – hašiš [ hashish]

Comments

39 Comments

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  3. Anonymous on

    lol latvia is a joke all you dumb communist fags have nothing better to do but sit and drink shitty vodka while your governemnt tells you how to eat shit and live your lives….your all just jelouse that in america we have way better lives and can actually do what we want! latvia?! lol who gives a flying fuck about some dumb little shit hole like that! lol you guys need to realize your all russians anyway and look at ya now! nice move becoming independent you losers cant even take care of yourselfs! Ever since you losers became independent your country is an even bigger toilet than it was before LOL!!!! hopefully russia will invade that shit hole country you live in like they did goergia and take that shitty hell hole back and use it to test nuclear weapons lol…. my shit is prolly worth more than a 1000 lats!!!!! “:)~ suckem faget pussies!!!! :)~ GOD BLESS AMERICA!

  4. Alex on

    Dont you find it funny that a mexican (coming from Russia) with no contacts in Riga, who is not able to find MJ anywhere, but IS, on the other hand – able to get a neat little interview from a KGB “legend”? And, as other people have mentioned – from whereat come the pics if you were robbed of your camera? Nuff said.

    Theres good weed all over Latvia, but dont expect to find the good stuff with no contacts – people here tend to be quite concious about who they deal with. And I cant believe that noone in old Riga directed you to the local pot-smokers hang-out called “Up In smoke”. Better luck next time :)

  5. Anonymous on

    There are a lot of good possibilities to have marijuana in Riga. It is pretty clear that this guy was communicating with Russians who as a tradition use vodka. No surprise he did not get good stuff.

    What did he expect? Getting good stuff from KGB officer LOL.

  6. Doom on

    It’s amazing how easy it is to get some reflexive nationalists’ knickers all in a twist. The dude that thinks the writer is some kind of KGB covert operative was especially entertaining.

  7. Anonymous on

    do us all a favor and just kill yourself.

  8. Anonymous on

    Latvia is not a tyranny. That is crazy to say so. We are members of European Union and we have pretty decent civil rights. As with most countries, those rights are always a work in progress, but to call Latvia a tyranny is crazy. As far as weed goes, people in charge in Latvia grew up in conservative Soviet Union. So you cannot expect them to be very liberal. It will probably take a couple generations to change power to really wash all that Soviet conservatism out of our system.

  9. Anonymous on

    something similar is happening here in the United States, our government has stripped the citizens from their rights, basically the government owns you here also, if they want to search you or arrest you they can do it with no evidence, the Federal government is planning all of the tyranny Latvia has known for a long time, in England they are putting cameras in every body’s home, they already put a camera in our television boxes, where they can watch you in your own home, they are doing this for the new world government to control everybody.
    Cannabis is the least of our problems. all around the world they are looking to Eugenics to sterilize, starve and create wars so millions can die. they harvested intelligence and now have all the nice technology, the new world government wants to reduce the world population to 500 million.
    Prison Planet dot com Foundation of Human Understanding dot com

  10. Anonymous on

    Great article, very controversial, from the comments left by others, I realize that there are many good Latvian people, Oswaldo was only there a very short time and any country where you have tyranny and oppression, earning people’s trust and confidence is a delicate process, last year I went to Cancun, Mexico.
    I thought because Cancun is surrounded by jungle I was going to be able to smoke the fines herbs, I met a group of locals and we drank beer, and when I asked for some good Mexican Indica, they all said there was none.
    it seems like it is easier to find a KGB agent in Latvia than Ganja.
    it also seems like they monitor visitors and track your movements as soon as you arrive, is that possible? silent control?

  11. Anonymous on

    Latvia is full with growrooms.you just need to know person which is dealer, and you will get lot of ganja, but mostly it is on INDICA side, because its comercial side.in latvia is unreal to find some good sativa, only idicas.but now here are very much growers for sure. 15-17 years old boys are even growing in basements. Laws in latvia are very hard, because 90% people like only alcohol, and from soviet times they now that marijuana is very dangereous narcotic, but in reality alcohol is much worse.im from latvia and i know what alcohol is doing to people. the new generation in latvia is only smoking pot and herbs, no alcohol, and its great :)

    Latian

  12. Anonymous on

    Hahaha, since when does smoking pot make you a “Drug Addict”? You are dumb as shit buddy, you are probably one of those shit heads that think drinking (Alcohol) makes you drive better. Do us all a favor and educate yourself before judging people who smoke a chemical free herb.

  13. From Latvia on

    Latvia definitely has outdated draconian laws concerning weed. It will change, but as any progress it will take time. Understand that 20 years ago Latvia was still behind the iron curtain.

    Some other stuff you said was pretty ignorant though, especially for a supposed journalist. “Museum of Interventions where they vilify Russians and Germans as enemies of the state.” It is called the Museum of Occupation, not “Interventions”. As in the occupation by Nazi Germany and Soviet Union that Latvia suffered from 1940 to 1991. It shows what actually happened, if that villifies Nazis and Soviets, well then so be it. As far as the 30% Russian population it is more like 40-50% and most of them moved here during the Soviet occupation under the “Russification” program which wanted Russian culture and language to take over Latvia and drown out Latvian culture and language (cheaper than controlling the local population with military force forever).

    The people who attacked you were probably local russian hooligans. Either way, I’m willing to bet that Riga is safer than Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, New York etc and definitely safer than pretty much any part of Mexico. As far as cops not doing much, they’d do the same if it was me. They don’t pay a lot of attention to “petty” crimes if you can’t tell them who did it. Someone punched you and took some money, I know it sucks, but they got other priorities. They could take a report and pretend to do something like Police in USA if that made you feel better.

    As far as poverty, before the crises most of those apartment you said wreak of poverty were worth pretty good six figures $$$. They look poor because they are crappy Soviet commie non-architecture and are not well taken care off (again because of Soviet stupid commie system and planning). There definitely is poverty, but it is not that bad.

    But I agree 100% on needing to legalize weed. I hope it happens one day, and I’m pretty sure it will.

  14. LV on

    The story would be better if you didn’t bring up the political Soviet occupation shit here and stick with writing about marijuana.

  15. Meh on

    I’m ashamed of my country and its people. Enough said.

  16. Jons on

    A sad story but one with too many alike in this country. It is really difficult to get hold of anything worth smoking here. The only option is if you know a home-grower who’ll sell you some of his stuff. Otherwise the quality is close to donkey-poo and the prices are ridiculous. The reasons for that are the Draconian measures against drug users and that marijuana is considered equal to opiates by most people. That’s why the marijuana market is controlled by gypsies and hardcore criminals who do not care much about customer service and product quality. Too bad you didn’t have better contacts here – then your trip (no pun intended) would have been much more pleasant.

    I won’t go into the political messages expressed in the article though I strongly disagree with a lot of it but you are certainly true about the fact that there are a lot of narrow-minded people here, but the real reasons to come to Latvia lie beyond Riga and if you ever decide to come to this corner of the Earth again, I will gladly show You the best of it :)

  17. Valdis on

    ATTENTION !!
    IMPORTANT !!
    This article by this mexican bastard is red fascist propaganda, nothing to do with reality. This propaganda is produced by KGB and includes typical misconceptions like doubts that Latvia was occupied and how good life was for Latvians when they were occupied, although Latvians were killed and brought for slavery to Siberia and for nothing.

    Just imagine. You can ask hundreds and thousands of tourists who have been in Latvia and nobody would ever have met KGB officer and talked about marijuana nowadays. Something like this is possible only if you are connected with them.

    “Museum of Interventions where they vilify Russians and Germans as enemies of the state”
    Above extract is another proof. Only imperialists are afraid to use word occupation, because they are afraid that one day they will be brought to justice like nazi in Nuremberg.
    Nobody call it “museum of interventions” if it is name is “Museum of the Occupation of Latvia 1940-1991”.
    Check here: it is also in English
    http://www.occupationmuseum.lv/

    If this Mexican bastard was close to this museum he could easily have read for example on ticket or on outside building (see Wikipedia for photo)
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1c/Muzeum_okupace.jpg

  18. Anonymous latvian pothead on

    Often it’s dishonour to be latvian… I’m reading this comments above and unfortunelty i have to realize, that latvians are one dumb nation, our brains are washed, our lives are miserable and we just accept it. I’m really sorry for you, but you can surely advise to anyone better not come to Latvia now, cause there is full of fuckin dumb and narrow minded people and there is no differnce between latvians and russians.

  19. Latvian on

    All the mess is about the elections in september. By our laws we have the right to vote every 4 years. The time is coming. By our laws President is only a represantive person. Right now we have some dentist, or some kind of doctor called Zatlers in charge. Very stupid man. You have already noticed, that this site is ocupaed by persons from LV, that have no interest in growing, freeing Marc, or having any discusion about this herb. Some PR workers…Freedom for LV! Things will change this september, then changing laws will take some time… Expecting new, smoking visitors after 5 years. We have very beautiful countryside, seacoast, and by that time laws like in Holland.:)

  20. Rifleman on

    “In other times, Latvians and the other two Baltic countries (Estonia and Lithuania) used to be saved by their father, the USSR, who always pulled them out of trouble,” said a living legend – an ex-KGB agent I met who would not give his name for obvious reasons.”

    If for you a man, who worked for one of the most murderous organisations in the world (which is also responsible for the deportations of the Baltic nations), is a legend – then I feel sorry for you, man.
    Yes, of course, occupying independent nations for 50 years really is “pulling out of trouble”. And Russians/Germans being “the enemies of the state” is the best nonsense ever.

    Peace.

  21. Latvian on

    Those, who attacked You, was urlas for sure. Agree 100% to comenter. When the old Lawmakers will be gone, we will start to build new state. Hope soon!

  22. Latvian on

    Ko Tu te murgo publiski? Laikam jau esi k?rt?jais kakl?s?ded?t?js, vai varas p?rst?vis. Kur Tu visp?r lien! Paraz?t, pam??ini sevi nodrošin?t sevi patst?v?gi. Dari katko labu p?rmai?as p?c!

  23. Latvian on

    All thats true. Ask for weed taxi drivers or have some friendly persons here. We dont even speak about the stuff on phone… Dangerous. But lot of young people still uses it. The real problem is that most of our best man has already left country. And so small comunity cant stay that way forever. In Latvia- never ask for marihuana. Say- Iam loking for zaaliite (grass)(zuhleeta to spell), pokurit travki (to smoke weed)- for russians. But worst of all is, that our culture used cannapis butter for cenuries, or called canapis spread. Now all thats lost…New landlords are pushing their laws. I live in the countryside now. This summer weather is perfect for growing, but its not allowed. Still Latvia is beautiful coutry with lot of nature, and there will be times when old ones will be gone, and their laws with them… Sorry for my english. Welcome, but have your contacts! To smoke weed here (so much space!) is fantastic!

  24. Zebra on

    J?, tev noteikti der?tu k?da stingra roka, lai smadzenes ieliktu atpaka? pareizaj? viet?. Tik tieš?m kauns par š?diem gar?giem krop?iem. Cerams, ka p?c iesp?jas ?tr?k aizpis?sies las?t s?nes uz ?riju pie saviem zem?s š?iras narkom?nu draugiem.

  25. mary james on

    been smoking mj since 1968, i have 4 lovely grandchildren and a good pension from my life of productive work.
    propaganda is a dangerous tool which fools most of the people most of the time latvia and you’ve been fooled.

  26. Anonymous on

    Is that bar in picture. Rock N Riga where you took your pictures and got mugged?

  27. tone on

    I like how “i got drunk with rockers, searched for the weed and then got mugged” story is written as an journalistic report :) way to go!
    btw. have you been to mexico, Oswaldo? I wonder where are your situational awareness.

  28. suc on

    I think, dear friend, that not the skinheads attacked you, but usual russain scum so called “urlas” who has it as a full time job.

  29. Meitene on

    I found this article to be factually inconsistent in its reporting. A journalist’s job is as much to educate as it is to uncover and illuminate, whether it be about marijuana, unfair laws targeting nonviolent offenders, or comparisons of cultures and viewpoints. Latvia REgained its independence after fifty years of illegal (Is there some other?) occupation by Russian communists. It is no wonder their is a large population of ethnic Russians many of whom were intentionally relocated to Latvia during the occupation. To occupy a country means to take it over, its schools, its laws, its banks, its language and culture. Russian heritage differs from Latvian heritage, and Big Brother Russia was an illegal occupier of a once sovereign European country, with its own history, culture and language, all of which undoubtedly has been affected greatly by the occupation and attempted extermination of its people and values. The term Big Brother is misleading, it implies relation. Baltic does not equate to Slavic and vice versa. This journalist was in a country that employed serious physical and psychological impairment of its citizen prisoners for fifty years, and it may be no wonder some of these people are still healing, and others may be intentionally trying to alleviate the pain and confusion of economic and social hardship, of institutionalized and mandated miseducation and identity theft with some sort of mind altering practice. At the same time, the journalist failed to mention, or perhaps investigate, the comparatively stiff laws and ordinances dealing with “soft” drugs or the alcohol he perceived to be in abundant supply and celebration. Were any of the author’s “informants” educated? Cultured? I would hope that Cannabis Culture would be determined to be part of the universal solution. Miseducation whether about marijuana, or Latvia, or Mexico is still miseducation. You reap what you sow.

  30. girl from Latvia on

    stupid proud Latvian coments waaahaahaa/
    I know sooo many Neo Nazis ( a specially in alternative sceen) – so it really could be true! And they are serching who to make fun off all the time!
    I have this fucking patriotism, we are suffering here, but stupid people still believe Latvia is best country in the world, and Europians are idiots! If not Europian union, we would be dieing from starvation like Africans. Latvians need a strong hand, othervise they can’t survive.

    sorry for mistakes and chao!

  31. AN-J on

    Here in comments we can see how smart are local Latvians – weed smoker is still called a drug addict and tourist is asked not to visit country – government has similiar attitude(especially regarding weed fact). You can’t expect loyality in this matter because of post-soviet way of thinking which has been static for years. When Jurgis Liepnieks (ex politican) started discussion regarding possible decriminalization of marijuana in Latvia there were a lot of bullshit published by drug experts – like false facts of soviet books which are proven to be false in other countries (marijuana causes mental illness, there are about 30 death accidents caused by marijuana in Netherlands every month, marijuana is runway for future use of harder drugs e.t.c.) Discussion of decrim. fact wasn’t shocking for society as told in translation of this article – the very big part of society at first saw something progressive at last happening here, but as still lot of people believes in everything they see on TV and don’t try to find info by theirselves this discussion has been positioned as something bad and harmful.

    Square-minded government don’t even want to see decriminalisation as a part of out-of-crisis program, but there has been unofficial calculations which showed millions of lats as profit for country from marijuana every year if it gets decriminalised…

    Also I can inform those locals who think there are 3 skinheads in Latvia – there are many many more and almost in every city. If you haven’t met them it doesn’t mean they don’t exist! Of course their activities are less public than few years ago, but they are still there – and they’re not only russians as someone commented – there are a lot of latvian skinheads too… I don’t think they all are neonazis – every group of them can have different purpose of being skinhead (political, national views e.t.c.)

    P.S. Marijuana in Latvia costs 8 – 10 Lats per gram (no matter how qualitative it is and where it’s from) and only gipsies tries to sell it like for 3 Lats per 1/4 gram. If someone asked for 15 Lats he just wanted to earn something too :)

  32. A random Latvian guy on

    This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in my life and I’m not even exaggerating. You, dear Sir, are a complete and utter idiot and a lying bastard. This article was posted in an online edition of one of the largest newspapers of Latvia and one of the ‘groupies’ also told how it all really happened. First of all, there was no robbery (from where the fuck did you get the photos if you were robbed, you lying scum?), you were saved by the “inbred truckers” from a couple of Russian hoodlums. There probably are 3 skinhead neo-nazis altogether in Latvia, I personally have never seen one. So congrats on making a bullshit fairy tale. This whole article is made up and most of the information here is simply not true. Oh, and she told that you were so intoxicated while in the club that you couldn’t stand on your feet, so they took you to the city centre afterwards, which means that your cognitive abilities surely weren’t good enough to be able to portray all the events so vividly. All in all, as I said, this ridiculous article is basically a bullshit fairy tale and the blanks caused by drug abused were filled with some deceiving commie political ramblings.

  33. Latvian on

    NeoNazis in the centre of Riga??? Or was it Moscow? Well, what else could be expected fom a drug addict? A person who interested only in getting intoxicated makes serious judgements about a country he knows nothing about. And particularly about the Soviet past. In that time drug users problem was ressolved very effectively. Otherwise, welcome to Riga which is very joyful place, at least for normal people.

  34. From Latvia on

    I am sure that cannabis smokers should really spend part of their lives in what they describe as dungeons, be they police cells or anything you cannot describe precisely.
    I believe Mexico is one of the countries responsible for massive drug problems in the USA. So you’d better shut up. Drug addicts are not welcome here.
    That’s it.
    As to the chain-smoking problem, your observations are true. But things are changing for the better slowly. Starting from the imposition of a universal ban on smoking in public places, which is spreading throughout Europe slowly but surely.
    Say no to drugs today and maybe you’ll end up having a bunch of grandchildren and some future. Consumers are a bunch of headless people.

  35. Axel Oxenstierna on

    Fuckin’ pothead spick can’t go anywhere without a joint. Stay the fuck out of my country and go to your united states of mexico or, El Burrito or where ever the fuck you live…

  36. castklearr on

    So why are LATINOS brown????

    Latino’s just found out white people invented LATIN……means a real LATINO is white person from Latvia????

    NOW I”M HIGH AND CONFUSED?

  37. From Latvia on

    That was one hell of a trip you had… hope you are better now. Those Latvian Neo-Nazis as you called them are a group of local Russian scumbags called “gopniki”, who beat and rob people here. Described police’s attitude is 100% correct, they only fight innocent people like marijuana smokers, but real criminals keep walking free.

    I personally know a lot of pot smokers here and many people are well informed and know true facts about marijuana, but the government and media are still trying to feed them with bullshit, putting marijuana, heroin and methamphetamines in one bag. Even the medical institutions knowledge about cannabis comes from Soviet times propaganda and they don’t know the real facts.

  38. From Latvia on

    That was one hell of a trip you had… hope you are better now. Those Latvian Neo-Nazis as you called them are a group of local Russian scumbags called “gopniki”, who beat and rob people here. Described police’s attitude is 100% correct, they only fight innocent people like marijuana smokers, but real criminals keep walking free.

    I personally know a lot of pot smokers here and many people are well informed and know true facts about marijuana, but the government and media are still trying to feed them with bullshit, putting marijuana, heroin and methamphetamines in one bag. Even the medical institutions knowledge about cannabis comes from Soviet times propaganda and they don’t know the real facts.

  39. Ken Hayes on

    My personal experience with Eastern Europe is that they are still stuck in the communist ideology of complete government control of everything including your body. If they test you and you come up dirty in their country you could be in poo poo. If you ever see me ask me about the 7 and half months I spent in a Romanian Dungeon.

    Peace,
    Ken