The Other Demon Weed

Table Of Contents

Homegrown Revolution

Hemp Happenings

Smoke Signals

Cannabis Cup '96

Growers Corner

Oppression Update

Marijuana IS Medicine


      The Other
      Demon Weed

      The War on tobacco users heats up.

      ??? The expected
      life enjoyment of Canadian tobacco smokers has dropped quite a bit over
      the past few months. Last November, our government announced a comprehensive
      anti-tobacco strategy, including tax hikes, anti-smuggling initiatives
      to counteract the tax hikes, and Bill C-71, The Tobacco Act.

      ??? The Tobacco
      Act makes Canada’s tobacco laws among the toughest in the world. It places
      restrictions on advertising and event sponsorship, and increases government
      power to monitor and control the labeling of toxic ingredients in cigarettes.

      Mr Butts Speaks Out?

      ??? In voicing
      the tobacco industry’s concerns over Bill C-71, Robert Parker, President
      of the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers’ Council, stated, “We acknowledge
      that there are health risks associated with smoking.” No small acknowledgement
      when you consider that tobacco prematurely ends the lives of about 41,000
      Canadians a year, and that about twenty-one per cent of all deaths in Canada
      are attributable to smoking.

      ??? Parker
      continued, “For that reason we believe the decision to smoke, or not to
      smoke, is one for informed adults to make.” Bob has a point, but to date
      this argument hasn’t worked for cannabis smokers.

      ??? He continued,
      “No factual evidence has been given… to explain how this Bill will accomplish
      its announced objectives.” Again, Bob has a point. Norway banned tobacco
      advertising and sponsorship over twenty years ago. Sales fell initially
      but later rose. Unfortunately for the tobacco industry and event organizers,
      Canadian policy-makers have never paid much attention to evidence from
      Europe, and a lack of evidence explaining how a Bill would achieve its
      announced objectives didn’t stop C-8.

      Public Opinion

      ??? Many Canadian
      cities are banning indoor smoking outright, and Vancouver’s pub and restaurant
      owners are not pleased. Sixty percent are opposed to the total ban on public
      smoking and 87% say businesses should be free to work out seating arrangements
      that accommodate the needs of both smokers and non-smokers.

      ??? The public
      seems to agree. Last summer a survey by Macleans magazine stated that more
      than two-thirds of Canadians surveyed do not favour any legislation to
      control smoking.

      ??? Others
      don’t think the new Act goes far enough and have taken the law into their
      own hands. A British Columbian anti-tobacco activist, charged with mischief
      for throwing a paint ball at a Players’ cigarettes billboard, was given
      an absolute discharge after calling expert witnesses to testify about the
      perils of smoking.

      Hard Core Reality

      ??? Health Minister
      David Dingwall admitted not everyone would be pleased with the reforms
      but he said it was the most comprehensive package the government could
      hope for after the Supreme Court of Canada judgment in 1995 that upheld
      the tobacco companies’ right to advertise.

      ??? “I would
      have loved to be able to ban the product, but the hard-core reality is
      we live in a real world,” Dingwall told a news conference. “The fact of
      the matter is 7 million Canadians are addicted. If you want me to ban the
      product, you are going to have smuggling and racketeering like you’ve never
      seen before.” Though amazingly hypocritical, Dave has a point.

      Cocaine, Heroin, Nicotine

      ??? The imaginary
      line between tobacco and other recreational drugs is becoming more obscure.
      Researchers from the University of Cagliari in Italy reported in the journal
      Nature that nicotine acts on the brain in a similar way to cocaine and
      heroin, and could be just as addictive. The scientists said experiments
      on rats showed that nicotine stimulated the release of the neurotransmitter

      ??? Is this
      news? Not really. A 1972 internal memo from Philip Morris conceded that
      nicotine is chemically similar to cocaine and people smoke primarily to
      get the substance into their bodies. The memo went on to suggest “Kool”
      cigarettes were considered by focus groups to be the best “after marijuana”
      smoke to maintain a “high.”

      The War on Tobacco

      ??? Now the
      War on Tobacco is borrowing tactics from the War on Drugs. The US Food
      and Drug Administration just approved a urine test that can identify tobacco
      users. The test is called Nic-Check, and it detects the level of nicotine
      in a person’s body by exposing a chemically sensitive paper to a person’s
      urine sample.

      ??? The BC
      and Ontario provincial governments have been hiring teenage decoys to entrap
      tobacco retailers who sell to minors. In BC, Health Minister Joy MacPhail
      told a news conference that over 150 retailers have been convicted of selling
      cigarettes to minors. “Selling cigarettes to youth is selling an addictive
      substance to our children, a substance which causes disease and early death,”
      said MacPhail.

      Mr Butts, Meet Mr Christie

      ??? So how far
      should our government go to protect our children? A cookie a day increases
      your risk of heart disease by 1.49 per cent, whereas second-hand cigarette
      smoke increases your risk of fatal heart disease by only 1.20 per cent.
      A factor of 1.0 per cent is considered no risk at all, and the possibility
      of lung cancer from second-hand smoke poses a risk factor of 1.19.

      ??? Despite
      their scientific grounding, when Philip Morris ran advertisements in France
      comparing the dangers of breathing in second-hand smoke to that of eating
      cookies or drinking milk, a displeased French court called the ads “very
      harmful” to the interests of French cookie makers.

      The US Surgeon General’s office,
      which puts warnings on cigarette packs and liquor bottles, recently announced
      that sloth and obesity cause as much cancer as tobacco.

      They’re Coming For You

      ??? Where will
      it end? Calling exposing children to second-hand smoke a form of child
      abuse, an Ontario Medical Association policy paper called for banning second-hand
      smoke in homes. An Ontarian alderman has suggested a ban on smoking in
      private vehicles containing children.

      ??? First they
      came for the pot smokers, and I didn’t speak out because I don’t smoke
      pot. They then came for the tobacco smokers, and I didn’t speak out because
      I don’t smoke tobacco. Then they came for the people who eat red meat,
      and I didn’t speak out because I’m a vegetarian. Then they came for me,
      but by that time there was no one left to speak out.

      Matthew Elrod