The Happy World Of Haribo – The Pros And Cons Of Legalizing Marijuana

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If it weren’t for cannabis, the makers of Haribo would have went out of business a long time ago. Kids like Haribo, that’s a given. But only stoners actually love them. Only a stoner would hold up one of said sweets to his friends and say :

“ Dude, it looks like a fried egg, but it tastes like jelly and sugar.”

“What? A fried egg like in the ‘This is your brain, this is your brain on drugs’ commercial?”

“Yeah.”

“Deep man. Really fucking deep.”

And now the people at Haribo must be rubbing their hands in glee because it looks like there’s going to be a tidal wave of American states legalizing cannabis, starting with Colorado.

When the recreational marijuana shops of Colorado opened their doors on New Year’s Day, they had sold a million dollars’ worth of weed by the close of trade. By the end of the week they had sold five million dollars’ worth. The elected burghers of the state are estimating taking $70 million in tax revenue by the time New Year rolls around again. When they planned the law, the revenue was destined to be spent on schools. But it looks like the tax windfall will greatly exceed the planned school budget, so they’ll have to scratch their heads on what else to spend it on.

It is on this happy note that nearly a century of tyranny, turning essentially law abiding citizens into criminals, comes to an end. Ironically, marijuana was only made illegal by accident in the first place. In the 1920’s, there was an international drugs conference which established many of our drugs laws to this day. At this conference, the Egyptian delegation painted a very grim –and largely fictional- picture of a drug that no-one had heard of before. A drug called hashish. Many of the other countries’ delegates, horrified by the Egyptian hashish horror stories, went back and immediately set about making illegal.

The American authorities were quite surprised, after the laws were passed, that what they had made illegal was a variety of common or garden hemp. A plant which grows wild all over the US. It was too late to change it by then though and they didn’t want to appear like idiots, so they kept shtum and so the law stuck.

So across the nation, cries of “It’s high time” and other cannabis related puns echo around the internet. My favourite is campaign group NORML’s list of “Doobie-Do’s” in relation to the new laws.

Now, while my love of civil liberties is weeping for joy, I do have some reservations. I don’t do dope now, haven’t done for over a decade, but I wouldn’t dream of depriving a new generation of stoners of that pleasure. There’s a little voice in the back of my head though that’s whispering to me. “Dock leaves and nettles, Mike” it’s saying, “Dock leaves and nettles.”

This isn’t because I’ve been neglecting my meds, by the way, it’s an expression of a botanical principle. Nature often puts the cure for something nasty close to its source. This is why you find soothing dock leaves growing close to nasty stinging nettles.  In the case of cannabis, nature has seen fit to put poison and cure in the same plant.

As you probably already know, the chemical in dope that gets you stoned is tetrahydrocannabinol(THC). It does its job, but it has been linked to psychotic episodes, particularly schizophrenia. What you may not know is that cannabis also contains another chemical called cannabidiol(CBD). This is a powerful anti-psychotic. Their effects more or less balance each other out. Or rather, they did.

In the last 20 years, great strides have been made in making stronger and stronger strains of weed. Skunk, Super Skunk, Purple Haze etc. These plants are being selectively bred to produce more and more THC. However, this does mean that they are left with less and less energy to produce its anti-psychotic antidote, CBD. The ratio of the two chemicals in modern weed is all out of whack and doctors are worried about the effect this might have on the mental health of cannabis users.

Having said that, doctors are always concerned about something that no-one else gives a monkey’s about. The only way of getting them to stop worrying is to lock yourself in a steel cube and eat and drink nothing but raw vegetables and spring water for the rest of your life. Currently, they are worried about sugar. “Sugar is the new Tobacco!” is the headline that’s been screamed by The Daily Mail for the last week. I would argue that we’ve been craving sugar for far longer than we’ve been craving nicotine, so “Tobacco is the new sugar” would be more accurate. Though perhaps tardy to the tune of 500 years.

Hopefully, the worry about marijuana is just a flash in the pan. Doctors are like kittens. Easily distracted by the next shiny possible-cause-of-death that’s dangled in front of them. Let’s hope so. If not, they might campaign to criminalize Haribo. That would take quite a lot of joy from the experience of smoking your recently legalized weed.

© Copyright Michael Grimes 2014

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About thedailygrime

At that awkward age - too young to be a grumpy old man, but just acerbic and downtrodden enough to have an opinion. Read it here.

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