Canadian revolution

Within the first weeks of 2003 we saw some pretty dramatic events in the weedy world of marijuana.
In Canada, court cases started piling up which declared that the nation?s pot laws were invalid and unconstitutional! Canadian med-pot patients have been getting their pot back from the police, and the government is talking about formally making pot possession into a simple ticketing offence.

Yet in the US things seem bad for the cannabis culture. The Bush administration continues a massive anti-pot propaganda campaign, the number of pot prisoners is rising, and state ballot initiatives to liberalize drug laws all failed in 2002. Meanwhile, new security measures aimed at shadowy terrorists will ultimately affect pot-people more than almost anyone else.

This issue we present a special look into what?s new in Canada, with most of our Smoke Signals section being devoted to Canadian news. As the gap between Canada?s liberalization and America?s tightening drug war continues to expand, more American tokers will flee across the border to escape pot persecution.

Canada?s traditional role has been to welcome US refugees, whether from slavery, the Vietnam draft, or other persecution. Canada?s liberal attitudes towards pot will have a good effect on our American cousins. An example of this is our magazine ? printed and produced in Canada, we sell most of our copies in the US.

In mid-January, just as this issue was going to press, an Alabama teen was sentenced to an astounding 26 years in prison for a first offence of making four minor pot sales to an undercover agent. His tragic case prompted the media to cover some other such Alabama sentences, including a 15 year sentence handed down in December 2002 for possession of a single joint.

With such insanely severe penalties imprisoning their youth, and with tens of thousands more young people armed and ready to kill for oil in Iraq, some might think that pot culture in the USA is doomed. Yet in fact we will see an end to this long international nightmare, and one day soon we will see the smoke from our joints carried away by the sweet winds of freedom.

Dana Larsen
Editor, Cannabis Culture