30 August 2006

Brian and the weed

Usually I approach Comment is free of Guardian in order to get the blood pressure up, to get the juices flowing for some nefarious purpose or other (Elders' business is demanding, you know).

Today, however, it was difficult. Not one of CiF regulars posted something highly controversial so far (the day is young, though), so I decided to head for entertainment. And it came in the form of Brian Whitaker's treatise Is the rise of euro-cannabis necessarily a bad thing? Good ole Brian never disappoints when you need some distraction from the daily mayhem of Hasbara.

Of course, if you like to shoot from the hip, the answer to this question is clear: as long as it is not Amero-cannabis or, deity forbid, Isra-cannabis, a well-meaning progressive left-leaning Guardian reader should be happy with the idea. After all, isn't it the destiny of Europe to provide a counter-balance to the American expansionist imperialism? So why not in form of Euro-cannabis?

But no, rest assured that this was not the intent of Brian's opus. He is rather concerned with lack of acceptance of this attractive plant in his homeland. "What exactly is the crime, and what is the problem?", he asks with heartwarming innocence of a child. Well, he probably knows (or knew) more about cannabis than he lets you know to start with, after all:

I can't imagine I'm the only person who, on reading this report, recalled with a wry smile how I once obtained a few seeds, tended the young shoots on a bedroom windowsill and then transplanted them into the garden.

Wry smile (?) notwithstanding, we'll not judge Brian harshly for that youthful indiscretion. I mean, who is going to cast the first stone? Especially when he employs his irresistible charm in a totally devastating way:

I should make clear that the incriminating evidence was harvested, dried, and consumed many years ago during a weekend in Wales. And with very disappointing results, actually.

Yeah... Indeed, people familiar with the body of Brian's work, will definitely agree with the last sentence. Also it is a bit off-putting how quickly he retreated, putting a legal barrier between himself and the bold statement in the previous quote. Is there a statute of limitations on weed growing, I wonder? Nah, no worries, Brian, I will not grass on you.

Well, to answer that innocent question: "what is the problem?" - see here, for example:

In the short term, marijuana use impairs perception, judgment, thinking, memory, and learning; memory defects may persist six weeks after last use. Mental disorders connected with marijuana use merit their own category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) IV, published by the American Psychiatric Association. These include Cannabis Intoxication (consisting of impaired motor coordination, anxiety, impaired judgment, sensation of slowed time, social withdrawal, and often includes perceptual disturbances; Cannabis Intoxication Delirium (memory deficit, disorientation); Cannabis Induced Psychotic Disorder, Delusions; Cannabis Induced Psychotic Disorder, Hallucinations; and Cannabis Induced Anxiety Disorder.

Since we are not into medicine here, the learned reader can choose what seems to be the set of maladies matching Brian's specific case. We'll be content with a preliminary diagnose of judgment, thinking and learning disorders. To start with.

One thing is for sure: Brian's orientation is A-OK. Even in this seemingly unrelated treatise, he has not failed to mention Israel. Not too approvingly, it looks like...