Pought Thots

Fleeing the drug war
Hello Dana,

I have enjoyed CC for a long time though I buy it on the newsstand instead of subscribing. I am 48 years old and live in Virginia, only 50 miles from Jerry Falwell.

I am writing to ask your opinion and advice. I was convicted of growing in January 1996.

I became depressed when my wife and I split in 1998, and began growing again in the Winter of 1999 to control my depression, since I cannot take clinical antidepressants and I hate chemicals anyway.

I got caught again (both times I was set up by people who I thought were my friends). This time I was convicted of growing and selling. So now I have 3 felonies on my record, and never anything else but a rare speeding ticket.

Yesterday I was sentenced to 2 years in the local jail with a work release, and about 4 years of active probation, including piss tests. I may be released from jail in 3 months on good behavior. I wanted house arrest because I have a learning-disabled daughter who I am home schooling, but I didn’t get it. So I have to find someone who she can stay with ? I don’t want Social Services to get their clutches on her.

I am growing increasingly dissatisfied living in the US, and my question is: Is there any country who would legally allow me in with 3 marijuana felonies? Perhaps Canada, or Switzerland? I am lucky that I was never tortured by the police, but I’m tired of being screwed over by them and my friends.

Reading Cannabis Culture is the only comfort I have to alleviate the depression I’m feeling. Could you offer any advice?


I am sorry to hear of your plight, but glad to know that reading our magazine gives you some comfort and support.

I receive many letters and requests from people looking to leave the US and come to Canada or other countries where the drug war is not so severe.

I spoke with Vancouver lawyer Alex Stojkovic of McRea and Company, who told me that thousands of Americans immigrate to Canada each year. He said that it is much easier to immigrate if you have special skills or a particular reason for being here. Having recent marijuana convictions certainly doesn’t help, but it is not an absolute barrier, depending on the specifics of your conviction. Being married to a Canadian is a big help.

In practical terms, it’s not hard for an American to come and live in Canada illegally. The border is very open and if you avoid trouble you’re unlikely to be sent back to the US.

Your best bet is to contact someone with more knowledge in this regard. For those looking to come to Canada, a good place to start might be calling Alex Stojkovic for a legal opinion. He can be reached through McRae & Company: 604-662-8200.

? Dana

What’s God got to do with it?

I would like to share a few thoughts on the articles Legal Peyote in Canada and Peyote Persecution (CC#31), which was a story about my family’s struggle to exercise our freedom of religion.

Isn’t it ironic that Canada’s law regarding peyote intentionally leaves out any reference to religious use, making it legal for any Canadian to eat or grow the peyote medicine held sacred to thousands of Americans, whose own laws may or may not protect them from threat of persecution?

At the time the federal drug laws were made, US lawmakers made peyote use legal only for members of the Native American Church, which was formed at that time specifically to protect those Native Americans who were using peyote in their traditional ceremonies.

To further complicate matters, each state has its own laws regarding peyote; some follow the federal law and some do not. For example, in Texas you have to be 25% Native American to eat peyote, in Idaho you have to be on an Indian Reservation, and in Arizona you need only to prove that you are using peyote as part of a “bonafide religious belief.” While the Arizona law appears to be more liberal it is also more subjective. It leaves the burden of proof on the guilty-until-proven-innocent defendant.

How does one prove a belief? Has the existence of God been proven yet? Any atheist will tell you it can’t be done. That’s why it’s called a religious belief. Some things must be believed to be seen.

Ours is a simple case of government harassment based on differing belief systems. It is not for a judge to approve one person’s beliefs and criticize another’s. It’s out of their jurisdiction. They can’t prove we’re not using peyote legitimately and, unless they were to take us at our word, we can’t prove that we are. Therefore they have taken the easy way out.

They know how to hit us where it hurts. They can do us more damage by seizing property and making unsubstantiated accusations than by taking us to court. Because even though the odds are stacked in their favor, it’s an argument that nobody can win.

Raven Mercado
[email protected]

Reassessing anger

As we get close to leaving the US on a permanent basis, I have been a little morose. As a native of Florida, I resent needing to leave the beauty here (there is some, really!) to find more personal freedom and a new life.

What you wrote in your editorial (CC#33, Shift in perspective) has made me re-examine some of my resentment and anger over what some would see as the most insignificant of injustice. I mean, clearly, there are some who would laugh at what I call persecution.

You have a knack for making me think… that is a gift that I hope you do not take lightly. We have taken the time today to rethink our move, and though we are still coming to Canada, we are now just a a little more open-hearted and open-minded about how lucky we are. Lucky for the life we have here today, and lucky for the opportunity to get to somewhere even better.

With gratitude,
Greg & Joy,
posted in cannabisculture.com/forums

Satyagraha surprise

Hi Dana,

I was glad to read your editorial comment about embracing Satyagraha in the cannabis movement (CC#30, Marijuana and liberty).

When I put a page on my web site last fall promoting this concept, (www.drugsense.org/tcl/dandi.html) I really didn’t know how far-fetched the connection would seem to most. So it was great to see it endorsed by you, and maybe it wasn’t so crazy after all.

Debra Harper
[email protected]

Where’s the beef?

Mr Larsen,

I bought and read the latest issue of CC this week (CC#33) and it was very great reading. However, I must emphasize how strongly I feel that the mag needs “more beef.”

Yes, I do appreciate the work you and everybody working for CC do by keeping the rest of us informed about events happening outside of our local areas. I personally like to try and stay updated on cannabis in and around the world, but the grow section is simply way to thin.

I’m not bashing you in any way, but somehow there has to be a happy medium to keep both activists and growers content with your excellent magazine.

Thanks, and peace,
posted in cannabisculture.com/forums

I hope you enjoyed the special “Pot potency” article in this issue. Expect to see even more substantial grow coverage in future issues. You’ll also enjoy the upcoming Best of CC Grow, due out in Spring 2002!

? Dana

Confuse the dogs

Sirs and bros,

Having recently heard of the drug dog assault on Byron Bay Australia, I was horrified to hear that these dogs just roam public gatherings and parking lots busting people. I suggest “we” take action.

We can fight back with THC tea. Old stems, seeds, male leaves, roaches… these can all be boiled up and squirted around schools, churches, office buildings, police stations, police cars, hydrants, telephone poles, garbage cans, your dogs butt… Catch my drift?

Little old ladies in church; one might hit the jackpot and be lucky enough to get the Mayor’s wife, or mother, or the Police Chief’s sister.

Oh sweet revenge!

Just think about the thousands of kids being terrorized annually in their schools by crotch-sniffing intimidating assailants.

An eyedropper full of odiferous, invisible when dry liquid can leave one wet spot anywhere in the world, on anyone in the world, and bring any drug dog into immediate disrepute, disfavour and disbandment.

Don’t tread on me!

Most Sincerely,
Reverend Mike Goldsun

I confess to having more than once brought a small quantity of hash back with me from Amsterdam, just so that I could squish little balls of it around the plane and airport.

I don’t know what kind of affect this has, but it amuses me to think of drug dogs going crazy for the little nerd of hash I stuck by the bathroom ceiling fan, or under my seat.

However, it’s not nice to get innocent people in trouble… so I’d limit your spraying of random people, and concentrate on objects and places.

Another good way to spread freedom and confuse police is to plant cannabis seeds in public parks, at City Hall, the Police Chief’s lawn, and other such locations.

? Dana