September 18th, 2003


Late Night Meandering

Canada is tentatively introducing cannabis as a controlled substance available on prescription. Much celebration from awaiting patients, except it seems that the first batch of government dope is not up to the mark. I'm sure there was a song about being down to stalks and seeds again, but I can't remember where. So where is the stuff they were really growing? It's not as if there isn't enough information readily available to the illicit domestic grower on proper cultivation, so it would be hard for them to claim ignorance. My initial twitchy Colombo suspicion would be that the good stuff has all been smoked (or sold) and the remains bulked out with the substandard stuff. Or perhaps, by producing such a low grade product, they'll be sure there's no black market for it. It's curious.
There was a change in the UK laws recently and possession is no longer an arrestable offence. You'll only be in trouble if the amount exceeds what could be considered reasonable for personal use.
A woman interviewed on radio the other day made the valid point that cannabis is not the same as it was in her day. It wasn't made clear when her day was, but I imagined it was a point in time roughly between, say, Bob Dylan's final acoustic concert in London in 1965 and Pink Floyd touring The Wall in 1981. Maybe a little later, but certainly no later than 1988. I imagined her in Carnaby Street finery, having her first smoke somewhere near the Chelsea Embankment, maybe on one of those barges down there.
It's a shame this low grade of cannabis in no longer available: the kind of tea that Kerouac, Ginsberg, Cassady, Burroughs all used to smoke, the stuff Milton Mezzrow sold in Harlem... There could be a market for retro-styled cannabis one day. We might even start calling each other 'cats' once more.
Otherwise, head to British Columbia.