by the Prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the
government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be
enforced." — Albert Einstein
The first international drug treaty was signed a century ago this week. So what was the war on drugs like in 1912?
"Victorian Britain had been awash with opium but you wouldn’t smoke it in a den, you’d get it from the chemist as a gloopy liquid. The opium dens were largely fictional constructs encouraged by stories like Sherlock Holmes and the writings of Oscar Wilde," [Mike Jay, author of Emperors of Dreams: Drugs in the Nineteenth Century] notes.
Today, when the efficacy of anti-drug measures is constantly debated, it seems curious that the 1912 treaty was an effective measure. Domestically, in the UK, the police had the upper hand.
The big changes in the West’s attitude to drugs came after World War II, Jay argues.
"The baby boomers were the first generation in history to become real global consumers. People were suddenly going to Morocco to smoke hash, or hitching with lorry drivers who were using amphetamines."
So the floodgates opened. Where once the authorities were fighting relatively small groups of offenders in a tiny drugs subculture, now they must fight millions of users and powerful international cartels. +
The Vancouver Sun interviews a drug dealer.
Sam’s workday usually starts late in the afternoon as Vancouver’s aggressive partiers begin looking for a way to chemically enhance their fun.
Most nights of the week, a host of twenty- and thirtysomethings call Sam’s work phone throughout the evening and into the early morning looking for ecstasy and cocaine. Despite recent headlines about the deadly PMMA-laced ecstasy pills, Sam’s phone still rings with clients searching for a good time.
The charismatic 30-year-old drives in and around downtown Vancouver meeting clients in his nondescript hatchback. Sam, who agreed to the interview on the condition The Sun use an alias, says his customers include kindergarten teachers, financial advisers and even doctors.
In his designer scarf and coat, Sam more closely resembles his customers than the stereotypical Lower Mainland drug dealer tattooed and clad in sparkly Affliction or TapouT T-shirts.
The University of British Columbia graduate fashions himself as an independent businessman, carefully growing a base of patrons. He began with a circle of close friends and grew his roster of clients through word of mouth to about 150. Some are loyal weekly callers, others occasional purchasers who contact him every few months. Almost every week he puts a new customer into his work phone, a cheap cell with a number separate from his personal smartphone.
“Honestly, they’re like me — they’re partiers,” Sam says of his clientele. “I wouldn’t say I have anyone who’s an addict.”
Recreational users of ecstasy and cocaine, “these are people with functioning lives,” he says. +
I was browsing Erowid’s Experience Vault for mescaline when I came across one report titled A Seminal Spiritual Event. This passage struck a chord with me for some reason, particularly the second paragraph:
"What was truly significant about this whole experience was not the time spent directly under the influence of the mescaline but the subsequent couple of days in which for the first time in my life I was experiencing an opening of what I would later realize was my Heart Chakra, symptomized by a quiet mind and a heart filled with unconditional compassion. I felt I would do anything for anyone, that my heart was connected to every other human being in a deeply intimate way. I also noticed that when I ate meals I felt a deep gratitude for where the food was coming from, and that it was being provided to me so that I could live. This was a felt experience, not a thinking one.
The feeling dissipated and I returned to normal life, but over time many of my usual things began to lose their meaning, and I started seeing through things to see how illusory there were. It was my dark night of the soul, and it lasted for almost a year – a difficult time of emptying out so that I would be ready to receive the spiritual content yet to come that would forever change the course of my life. I truly wish that, like many indigenous cultures that have used these substances for rites of passage, that in our society we would be able to provide the proper set & setting for these powerful transformative experiences to safely work within. Mine was trial & error until I found my way, but I fear many others squander their awakening opportunities by not having the proper guidance. But what a different world this would be if everyone could – if only once – take this life course and see beyond the boundaries of their deeply conditioned worldviews.”
Joe Schwartz is a 90-year-old great-grandfather of three who enjoys a few puffs of pot each night before he crawls into bed.
The World War II veteran, who smokes the drug to ease debilitating nausea, is one of about 150 senior citizens on a sprawling, 18,000-person gated campus who belong to a thriving medical marijuana collective in one of America’s largest retirement communities.
The fledgling collective mirrors a nationwide trend as more senior citizens turn to marijuana, legal or not, to ease the aches and pains of aging.
But in Laguna Woods Village, these ganja-smoking grandparents have stirred up a heated debate with their collective, attracting a crackdown from within the self-governed community. +
“I didn’t start smoking pot until about five years ago. I thought pot made you stupid. I bought into it just as much as anybody did. I realized when I was like thirty years old that I was tricked. I was like…you gotta be fucking kidding me.” — Joe Rogan
“You never see positive drug stories on the news, do you? Isn’t that weird? Cus most of the experiences I’ve had on drugs were real fucking positive.”
Today would have been Bill Hicks’ 50th birthday. Happy birthday, Bill. You are missed.
'Weed Wars' Promo
premieres Thursday, December 1 at 10PM E/P on Discovery Channel and Discovery Fit & Health