Kids' book about pot: "It's Just a Plant"

Ramona Cruz says:
Sure enough, it's a kid's book about grass. But the book is actually a lot more thoughtful than the provocative premise might seem to be at first glance.

"It's Just a Plant" is a children's book that takes a similar approach to sex education in talking about another difficult topic. That is, the book explains that marijuana can be a positive and healthy thing for adults, but it's not for children. In twenty years I haven't seen anything quite like this in how it approaches the topic.




  1. an excellent book, now if we just sit down with our elected officials and help them with the big words, I am sure extremely profitable Warondrugs Industry will go away.

  2. Funny stuff, kiint, and completely wrong. Nice propaganda, though, to equate heroin and marijuana.

  3. hmmm…not exactly. i can walk up to a marijuana plant, pick off a bud, pop it in my pipe, and smoke it.

    if i select a seed pod from a poppy plant, i’d be smoking opium, not heroin.

    making heroin from the flower requires some sort of rudimentary lab. you need a stove, and a few chemicals. not to mention that you have to prepare the opium by mixing it with lime and cooking it.

    not entirely the same thing as pot.

  4. #1 is an overstatement for effect, but I have to agree with the idea. “Alcohol: It’s just a drink” would be a better analogy.

    Tobacco is “just a plant”. So are many deadlier substances. Not all plants are safe to eat, or inhale, or otherwise ingest, whether you’re an adult or not. (Something the herbal-medicine folks also need to be more straightforward about. Some people are more sensitive that others. Some react differently. Some develop dependencies they can’t manage, and even a managed dependency can be a problem.

    I haven’t seen this book. Maybe it deals with those issues properly. So I’m withholding judgement… but the title is far from encouraging.

    (I happen to believe that pot is probably safer than alcohol — not that I’ve ever developed a taste for either — and that legalize/control quality/tax is a better approach. Time to give up this price-support-for-organized-crime regime.)

  5. ” can walk up to a marijuana plant, pick off a bud, pop it in my pipe, and smoke it.”

    And then hack your bloody lungs out for putting a fresh bud in your pipe…

  6. While it might have a good take on the subject, I can’t imagine this going down well. Especially with the silly title.

  7. JLBraun:
    “Talk to kids about drugs as a parent.”

    I perfer to let our TV do the parenting…

  8. This reminds me of a certain quote from Futurama:
    “Alcohol is very, very bad. For children. But once you turn twenty-one, it becomes very, very good!”

  9. The issue of whether drugs should be legal is orthogonal to the question of whether it’s a good idea to take them.

  10. Unfortunately the preview of the book stopped just before the point that I was looking for. How do Jackie’s parents explain to her that their pot use must be kept a secret from her friends and teachers? Otherwise her parents might end up like the guys an the street that she witnessed being arrested?

    How do you raise a kid to be open and honest, except for one thing that if you let slip might result in your parents going to jail?

  11. I’m waiting for the sequels “Uranium… It’s just a rock” and “Polyvinyl Chloride… It’s just a thermoplastic polymer made from oil which is made from dinosaurs”. I love dinosaurs.

  12. The point to make with alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, or anything else of questionable value, is that it’s definitely NOT good stuff for a developing child to use. Whether or not it’s good for adults is moot. What IS relevant is that it should be left up to the judgment of every adult individual as to whether or not to put that stuff in his or her body.

    In summary, kids don’t get to choose. The answer is always ‘NO!’.

    But adults, not the government, SHOULD have the right to choose. Even if they make choices some of the rest of us would not make for ourselves.

  13. Obviously the work of terrorists, copyright pirates and child pornographers.

    Cool illustrations, though.

  14. “In HawaiÊ»i, at least 30 varieties of Ê»awa (kava) were used for medicinal, religious, political, cultural and social purposes by all social classes, both men and women. Kava is the original pau hana drink of working people to relax and ease achy muscles. Kava was also given to fussy babies and children to calm them and help them sleep.”

  15. “In Bolivia’s Andean neighbor Peru, a spokesman for second-place presidential candidate and retired Lt. Col. Ollanta Humala this week announced Humala’s support for a plan to feed a small amount of coca to school children as a way to improve their overall diet.

    If the left-wing Humala wins Peru’s presidency in April, he plans to serve poor children bread made from flour containing five percent coca.

    Giving children coca in the United States not only would be political suicide, it would be considered a criminal act. And that difference in stance reflects a vast gap between U.S. and South American experience of a substance with a known history stretching back to long before Christopher Columbus’s landfall, times when the Incas controlled much of the continent.

    For thousands of years, coca has been a rich source of nutrients for poor South Americans.

    Today, use of the leaf is so common that in Bolivia, for example, police carry out U.S.-funded coca eradication with wads of coca in their mouths, said Sanho Tree, director of the Drug Policy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

    Coca leaves often are chewed or made into a tea rich in calcium, iron, and vitamin A, said Tree, adding that by contrast, coffee ”leeches all the vitamins out of your body.”

    Coca also has health benefits as a salve for arthritis and gout, as toothpaste, and as a cure for altitude sickness. “

  16. “Then I found History House’s wild account of widespread use of opium for children in 19th century England. [The page is actually titled “Caffeine and Opium– for Babies,” but, don’t worry; no one’s feeding kids caffeine. I mean, they’re not crazy. Right?]

    Some of the opium-based baby solutions cited in an 1843 report for British Parliament included:
    “Mother’s Helper
    Infant’s Quietness
    Atkinson’s Preservative
    Dalby’s Carminative [for those gas-inducing bad humours]
    Soothing Syrup
    Godfrey’s Cordial”

    Godfrey’s Cordial got special mention for its distinctive, narrow-necked bottle, which kids quickly learned to identify. Said one chemist in the report, “I have seen little children in the shop put the neck of the bottle in their mouths and bite the cork, so fond are they of the preparation.”

    And parents were fond of it, too. So fond they’d dope their kids up so they could go to work, then dope’em up again at night, so the parents could sleep.”

  17. “The truth about North America’s greatest drug problem: Ritalin

    On any given day in North America, almost five million kids will take a powerful psychostimulant drug. The geographical caveat is important: more kids in North America are diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and given drugs like Ritalin to “help” them behave than in the rest of the world combined. In fact, the US and Canada account for a startling 95 percent of worldwide Ritalin consumption.”


    Your suspicion is correct. Not only is pot “probably” safer than alcohol… it is an indisputable fact, whether you take traffic fatalities into account or not.

    @ AIRSHIP:

    “In summary, kids don’t get to choose. The answer is always ‘NO!’.”

    That would make sense if only it were true. Kids choose pot all the time, but, given the fact that alcohol is legal, more kids have access to that. The real tragedy is that, for some kids, there is no choice. Grow up with alcoholic parents, and you’re bound to raid the liquor cabinet every so often.

    @ TAKUAN:

    I am reminded of John Locke’s assertion that Colonial mothers should bathe their infants in icy water, which resulted in hundreds, possibly thousands, of deaths.

  19. Well, this should go over well with the “Drugs are always teh evil!!” crowd. You know, the ones who are convinced that anything not approved by Big Pharma is horrific for everyone.

    While they’re warming up the Machine O’ Outrage, I’m going to go get a copy of this book.

    Just to … um … you know … make sure it’s been edited properly. Uhhh … yeah.

  20. Mari Juana, it’s just a plant, that you should smoke outside before I flush your stash down the toilet, dad!

  21. #14-
    How do you raise a kid to be open and honest, except for one thing that if you let slip might result in your parents going to jail?

    That’s the crisis of teaching children to be ethical in a morally ambiguous world, isn’t it?

    We teach children to be “open and honest” – but we also want them to watch what they say (or where they go) online lest it bite them in the ass in 10 years. We don’t want them to be untrusting and fearful of those they don’t know, but neither do we want them talking to strangers.

    We want them to have some faith in government (and its representatives), but at the same time don’t want them to be uncritical of it or unaware that these forces are not always acting in our best interests.

    When dealing with children, you can’t lay the whole situation on them at once. They wouldn’t understand or be able to cope with it. So you use simplified explanations of complex situations. And you want to teach them to be open and honest, but you also have to teach them discretion. It’s not just about pot. That’s life.

  22. Re #20: Don’t confuse coca and cocaine. Coca-leaf ta is still legal in many countries, and isn’t a problem; the dosage is low enough that it’s no more harmful than caffeine in tea and coffee. (Probably no better for you either…)

    Philosophical point: The reason plants developed all these substances is as insecticides. It doesn’t take much caffeine to overstimulate a bug to death. Homo sap, with our higher body mass, is able to tolerate higher dosages — and is weird enough to enjoy low levels of some toxic substances, plus clever enough to realize that sometimes the effects can be useful… but if you work hard enough at it, you can OD on anything. Including water, as some atheletes have found.

    Caution is always warranted. But a bit more rationality about what the actual risks are would be a good thing. A balance of exaggeration in opposing directions does not equal a balanced treatment.

    For what it’s worth: I’ve been told that there are plenty of biochemists who Really Want to do proper studies of the cannabanoids (apologies if I’ve botched the spelling; too lazy to look it up right now), but the government’s so paranoid about the idea that someone might (ahem) “take their work home with them” that it’s essentially impossible to get permission. That’s a real pity, because it leaves us relying mostly on anecdotal evidence and biased sources. I’d really prefer to base my own opinions on something more than that. I don’t really care whether the outcome is that the stuff is as harmless as soap or has insidious permanent effects that haven’t been properly accounted for; I just want to KNOW what we’re dealing with and make decisions on an honest basis.

  23. Papaver somniferum is not just a flower; it’s a beautiful flower. It was commonly grown in European and American gardens for centuries. Although it’s illegal to grow it in the US, you still see it around, sometimes cleverly hiding in the mixed beds of botanical gardens.

  24. The future is filled with hordes of pharmaceutically-programmed bounty hunters who track down peace-loving herb smokers and eat them.

    Also “Deal or No Deal” is still on three nights a week.

  25. You can read some of it by clicking on “the story” link from the main page.

    I’ve got to say, as someone who supports responsible drug education, this book leaves me scratching my head. I’m not sure that the best way for the mother in the story to have taught her daughter the facts about marijuana is to take her by Farmer Bob’s house. Even still, it’s better than the part where she lets her daughter talk to random loitering potheads, only to witness their arrest.

    They have a great quote from Stanley Kubrick on the front page of the website, talking about how fear should never be used to educate. It’s a bit surprising to me, then, that a Hitchcockian fear of police is used to “educate” the daughter about responsible drug use. Since the preview cuts off, though, it’s hard to say. Perhaps there’s a whole section on mandatory sentencing provisions. It’s still worlds better than Go Ask Alice.

    Anyway, that does it. I’m off to write a children’s book about MDMA.

  26. Won’t someone please listen to the horses!

    This comment thread is officially done. Move along, nothing else to see here.

  27. I visited the site for the book and in their videos there’s an interview with Bill O’Reilly. ETF is with that guy?

    O’Reilly = Reliable Douche

  28. Well, it’s much, much better than those ghastly ‘shame on you’ commercials that were around a few years ago, where they were warning ex-hippie baby boomer parents not to set a bad example for their kids and to effectively denounce their evil smoking pasts for the sake of future generations.

    Those things pissed me off. ‘Mommy and Daddy were losers when we were young, don’t do what we did and turn out like the horrible freaks we are…’ So ridiculous.

  29. #35 KPKPKP


    I just spent a confused minute wondering what ETF (second definition) had to do with Bill O’Reilly.. then I realized it was a typo for WTF.. phew!

  30. We’ve all seen sex ed books for kids and they don’t encourage kids to head out and scrug like their lives depend on it. Considering what is taught in schools [for instance kids should rat out their parents if they suspect them of smoking], I think it is important kids understand that it doesn’t make their parents evil if they occasionally toke up. Children of hippies that I know have a tendency toward /awesome/; free thinking, fun and popular. So I don’t particularly worry about it.

    Also, I reckon taking the mystery out will substantially decrease drug use; in my experience, people who come to weed later in life tend to stick with it more, whereas if you grow up with it, it all seems a bit blase.

  31. “In both France and Italy, wine consumption is high, but attitudes as well as patterns and amounts differ in the two countries in many ways. French parents tend to exhibit strong attitudes, either favourable or negative, toward their children’s drinking; Italian parents typically introduce their children to wine drinking without any emotional overtones. Italian standards of respectable limits for drinking are lower than those of the French, and the Italians typically regard getting drunk with disdain, while the French look on it with good humour or even, in men, as a mark of virility. Although these generalized patterns are not always consistent among the various regional populations and socioeconomic groupings of either country, they are thought to be significant in accounting for the much higher mortality and morbidity from alcoholism in France.”

  32. for those out there who equate pot use with alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, heroine, opiates, mdma, uranium, and polyvinyl chloride, i am afraid you heads are firmly wedged in your glutious (glutii?). in the over 5000 years of recorded human histoy, there has never been a single death attributed to cannabis use. not one. we, as human beings, have receptors in our brains near the hippocampus called a cannabinoid system. we have evolved to use this of nature’s most beneficient and beneficial of plants! the seeds contain all the protiens and essential amino acids for life, meaning we could eat only potseeds and survive indefinately. the oil contains the highest amount of hdl cholesterol and omega 3 fatty acids of ANY oil. this is a plant that is so versatile that we have yet to fathom its complete usefulness. it is illegal due to greed and racism. h.j anslinger called for a scientific study of cannabis when lobbying for its illegallity, the study came back calling the herb as actually being beneficial, anslinger had the report buried, only to resurface again in the 1970’s. the report, not harry. let’s hope he NEVER resufaces. for further info read j. herer’s book ‘the emporer wears no clothes’. highly informative. pun intended.

  33. I am a library school student and children’s literature enthusiast who supports responsible and factual education (including education about drugs). It is hard to judge from just the preview, but my first impression is that this book is full of stereotypes (that includes the illustration style) and clunky prose. If it were about any other topic, I’d pass it up after page 3. So, here’s the challenge: who out there can write a high quality book for children about pot?

  34. too many people making money from keeping pot illegal to change easily. The illegal producers hand in glove with cops and politicans, the jail industry, the “treatment industry”, the religions industries even the military industry makes good money off keeping pot a crime.

  35. This is better than the “war on drugs” that has failed since day one. We need to stop hunting down moral enemies and see things for what they are; if some people can handle drugs moderately without causing harm to anyone else, isn’t it better to let it be their business? If you don’t like potheads, let them create their own community; problem solved.

  36. Johnny Coelacanth @3: You’re damned right marijuana isn’t like heroin. Heroin is a powerful and effective pain-killer, so good that even when it was banned in Canada hospitals were allowed to keep their existing stocks, and some doled them out slowly over the next decade or two to maintain them for the patients most in need. Heroin is also a pretty good cough suppressant. Too bad about the addiction thing, though.

  37. @33

    Do they still teach that MDMA/Ecstasy can kill you? Because they rammed that down our throats at school, I think mainly because they were aware that trying to stop us smoking pot was moot, I actually can’t even remember what arguments they gave for not smoking cannabis that weren’t centred around it being illegal.


    Great posts, but dude, they used to think that smoking tobacco cleared out the lungs and made the heart more efficient.

  38. sorry, but i just don’t understand what that means. because, apparently, i agree with something in ‘high times’ that what i say hold no water? look it up, asshat. as far as mdma is concerned, its main function is in the uptake of massive amounts of seratonin which floods the recptors causing that yummy euphoria. followed by the 500 story crash. death from mdma was ussually in the form of dehydration and suicide. i’ve also seen it work ‘miricles’ in group therepy. so blow me.

  39. @ jgriffiths:

    I’m sure they do. Fact is, MDMA can kill you. It’s not so common, but it does happen. People with heart conditions should not take more than a 150mg dose, and even that is probably too much for some.

    Also, the question of neurotoxicity is still on the table, but it appears that moderate use (250mg or less, once or twice a year) is mostly harmless. Being that MDMA is perhaps the greatest psychotherapeutic drug known to man, it’s a shame that it is as illegal as PCP and heroin.

  40. I like how the parents in the book are superhippies, with their psychadelic carpet and Kama-Sutra bedroom set-up. Teehee.

    Seriously though, I dig the book. I’m thinking of getting the 5 pack and donating a few to the local libraries.

  41. all tools, just tools. Drive nails or crush skulls, fasten screws or puncture hearts. Just depends who is doing the doing and why.

    Ina world where all got enough to eat, wasn’t afraid, had a roof over their head and loving family, there wouldn’t be ANY drug use except for medicine. Even benign recreational enhancement is that common in small, balanced cultures.

    We need a new discussion in drugs. This time,those with vested interests (Cops, jailers etc) and those with twisted realities (priests and religicos) can all wait out in the hall.

    Drugs should be assessed by what they ACTUALLY do, not what someone with an agenda SAYS they do.
    Further, it is the hallmark of a free person that that person be allowed to use or ingest any substance they may wish – provided they harm no other. And the “harm no other” part is why I made all the priests and busybodies stand in the hall. My soul is my own, try to take it and I’ll kill you.

  42. @57

    There’s definitely a danger to MDMA, but the way it was taught in my school was basically that you’d be lucky if it didn’t kill you, rather than the other way round. I’ve yet to meet anyone who dehydrated to the point of collapse, or over-hydrated themselves, which were the favoured scare stories in my school.

    It was a big shock to learn how much of what I was taught in school was completely untrue.

  43. @ 61:

    Oh, I agree completely. As is evidenced by abstinence-only programs, America leads the world in the careless distribution of misinformation, half-truths, and lies.

  44. I thought that what I saw of the book was totally lovely. I don’t smoke pot (as the farmer said, ‘it just makes me sleepy’). But, if I had kids I think I’d like to talk to them about weed like the mom in this book does.

  45. @64

    As a point of interest, my parents talked to me openly and gave me permission to experiment with cannabis (and began a don’t ask, don’t tell policy on harder drugs) when I was 13. When I told them I was smoking pot aged 14, they simply told me not to do it in school. I now don’t smoke cannabis because I’ve never enjoyed smoking anything and, as South Park put it, I don’t like that it makes it okay to be bored.

  46. To me, this is worse than the recently published book about teaching your child about plastic surgery.

    As a freelance writer, I am amazed by the fact that this kind of stuff actually gets publisher approval.

  47. Marijuana is one of those things that I would never choose to do myself, but I could really care less if others are using responsibly.

    I grew up with a pot smoking mother, who also used various other drugs on occasion.

    I can`t recall how I was told that it was a secret thing, but I knew so from a very young age – prior to receiving any sort of drug “education” in school. It was something you didn`t tell people, end of story. In fact, I don`t think anyone ever made a big deal out of it so it wasn`t something I gave much thought to.

    Either way, I can`t really say I approve of it. My mother is a dysfunctional addict, which certainly doesn`t help. She may not be physically addicted, but she is mentally – to the point of putting her habit above any decent parenting. As an adult I can feel sorry for her, but as a child it was awful to be left taking care of siblings for a day and a half because she was out “partying”, or down in the basement for the entire day with friends and a bong. Or being kept out of school to run up to a dealer`s door to buy a bag because she looked suspicious doing so.

    I flip-flopped for a few years between thinking “It`s just a plant, no worse than any legal substance.” and that it should be eradicated from the earth. Now I really don`t care all that much. If you can do it responsibly, I couldn`t care less. But if that is the sole focus of your life, please wake up and take a look around.

    It may not be life threatening, but it certainly can ruin your life. Just like alcohol.

    I feel very lucky that I am happy in my life without using any mood enhancing substances – legal or illegal.

  48. I love drugs. I don’t discriminate between legal and illegal–I’m just more careful about my use of the latter. While not everyone needs to use drugs, I think for many people navigating through life successfully requires finding just the right personal drug cocktail. (For me, right now, it’s a mix of 2 complimentary antidepressants, caffeine, marijuana, and occasionally alcohol or other drugs if they’re available; cocaine is a nice occasional treat; I’ve been considering adding Ritalin to the mix to help me get more work done.)

    Human beings are fraught with what you might call “design flaws”: evolution, acting unintelligently, produced a highly complex organic system that works for the most part, but which is highly variable and susceptible to many problems, particularly in the peculiar cultural environments that we now occupy. Drugs are currently the best tools we have for improving on some of these flaws. (Toward this end, I’m all for genetic manipulation, direct brain stimulation, medical nanobots floating free in our blood streams, or whatever enhancement technologies they come up with next if reasonably safe and effective.)

    There are safety issues, of course, including interaction issues. Sure, some substances only produce beneficial effects in the short term (most street drugs but also many legit pharmaceuticals), but I would prefer to leave it to individuals to decide for themselves what substances to ingest, armed with the best information available.

    I’m even a bit wary of the whole prescription system–patients, not doctors, should have the final say about what drugs to take after being educated of the effects and risks involved. If a client can always overrule his attorney, even to the point where it could cost him his life, why should not the same apply to patients and doctors?

    As for those who pride themselves on not using any drugs: good for you! You won the genetic lottery and don’t need foreign substances to be functional and/or happy. I just hope you’ll allow us inferior sorts to try to compensate for the deficiencies that we’ve been saddled with. (And FYI, your self-righteousness can be really f*cking annoying.)

    Concerning the book itself: judging from the preview, it does seem poorly written. I like the idea, though, and would consider buying one for my pot-smoking parents… :-)

  49. Wow what a lively discussion. As a parent, I think it is irresponsible to endanger your children by smoking pot. It may be harmless of its own accord, but I don’t believe the risk of fines/jail/legal repercussions is worth being selfish and getting high when you have kids. Smoking more pot is not the best way to -make- it legal either. You should not need a book to explain your habit – I believe when you have children it is time to leave such things behind.

    Talk to your kids about it, tell them the truth. Tell them that despite the benefits of the plant that it carries a heavy penalty. This book seems like so much cheery propaganda. I find it revolting.

  50. Quoting #68 (SPINOBOBOT):
    As for those who pride themselves on not using any drugs: good for you! You won the genetic lottery and don’t need foreign substances to be functional and/or happy. I just hope you’ll allow us inferior sorts to try to compensate for the deficiencies that we’ve been saddled with. (And FYI, your self-righteousness can be really f*cking annoying.)

    In retrospect I hope I didn’t sound too self-righteous. I must admit that I feel like having a brew or some quality scotch now and again. Sometimes I use a motrin to get through the day easier. But I made myself stop smoking because I thought it wasn’t fair to put that on my child.

    Also, you have some very interesting points and I do agree with many of them.

  51. antinous, if i offended u with my ‘asshat’ comment, i deeply apologise. i would never willingly bring the hallowed halls of boing-boing down to a ‘craig’s list’ type of level. that being said, is ‘blow me’ still acceptable? thanx! peace to all,-minTphresh

  52. @69

    To be fair, that argument is only really valid in the US, and only in certain states, since most other Western countries have little to no penalty for the kind of possession we are talking about here.

  53. Things I’ve seen forgotten, unsaid, or under discussed.
    ~Cannabis produces 5X the amount of oxygen than your normal plant. Not so important as I once thought, as I now know that most of our O2 comes from the ocean, but with that dieing off we need all we can get.
    ~Smoking ANYTHING is bad for you, changes the physical properties of the cells lining your respiratory tract. When you talk about cannabis, remember that it is easy to store the THC in butter. Almost everything has butter as an ingredient!
    ~Money: that crap takes a lot of it! You COULD go with the cheap weed, but I’ve had bad experiences, and would suggest sticking with some nice sticky Purple. Problem is, quality vs cost is an exponential battle. I find it easier (for my money) to expand my mind with a nice thick book and a nice dark import.
    ~Addiction: yes, it does happen. Sure it’s mental, but try telling that to my brother, who doesn’t have enough money for car insurance, gas, a place of his own, etc… but still manages to blaze up every other night.

  54. @72

    You are correct. But notice the four men who get arrested in the book for smoking on pages 13-14? I assumed the target market was for places that have outrageous drug laws like the US. I hear some asian countries are often much worse with their penalties.

  55. #72/74

    Actually it is only a questions of degrees, between US possession laws and European ones. Of the countries I can speak of:

    In Ireland it is absolutely illegal, and they will charge and fine/jail you for varying amounts of dope (including ‘personal’).

    In the UK it was only recently (2004) re-classified from class B to C, and is in hearing at the minute as to whether they will change it back, on account of recent evidence to cannabis’s harmfulness. Even at class C, it still merits a 2 year stint for possession.

    From the Home Office recommendation:
    It is unlikely that adults caught in possession of cannabis will be arrested. Most offences of possession result in a warning and confiscation of the drug. But some instances may lead to arrest and possible caution or prosecution..

    In the Netherlands, cannabis is only decriminalized (not legal). Again, for varying amounts and situations, you can still be charged. Also, contrary to popular belief, not all of the Netherlands is favourable to smoking, Amsterdam and Den Haag being the big main two proponents.

    In France it is absolutely illegal, but they make a distinction between use and possession/trafficking/production (only since 1994 though). ‘Use’ can get you up to two years, and possession/trafficking/production up to 10 years.

    In Australia it is illegal (contrary to a lot of stories you seem to hear), but may be looked upon leniently in different states/regions.

    Even in Jamaica it is illegal, although it is always a contentious political issue.

    That said however, here is a snip from an article about the UN criticizing governments who have eased the cannabis laws in their countries, both to illustrate the fact that some Euro countries do have decriminalized cannabis laws, and to show that the UN is going to make it very hard for any country choosing to ease their laws:


    VIENNA, Austria — Some European Union countries are “undermining international law” by relaxing rules against cannabis, the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board ( INCB ) said today.

    INCB officials rapped Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain for decriminalising the cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use, in the board’s annual report published in Vienna today.

    And it slammed the Netherlands, where cannabis is on sale for recreational use in coffee-shops, as well as draft Swiss legislation, which it sees as a move towards legalising cannabis, for breaching UN conventions.

    There is a list of cannabis’s various legality around the world here, on

  56. Smoking ANYTHING is bad for you

    The latest is that cannabis smoke is more toxic than tobacco smoke. Of course, that will flipflop with the next study, but the idea that you can suck smoke into your lungs without any problems is, I hope, dead.

  57. People are exaggerating and calling people “Drugs are always teh evil.” But THEY ARE always evil! Pot may not kill you, but it’s a gateway drug to harder things.
    Where’s the soon coming TOADSTOOLS: it’s just a fungus or CYANIDE: It’s just an asphyxiating chemical compound removed from almonds.
    BTW, nobody’s ever died of alcohol, the alcohol just made them vomit in their lungs or pass out, forever! Plus, pot smokers change their behaviour, they stop caring and get cloudy. There is no reason that anyone should ever endanger their body like they can with marijuana. That is why it should be banned permanatly.

  58. homestarrunrun…
    Are you possibly the only person alive who hasn’t heard of Alcohol Poisoning?

  59. Not again!

    Remember the story about the children’s book about mommy’s plastic surgery? That view-with-alarm story that turned out to have been cooked up by the reporter, because the work in question is a vanity-published book with no brick-and-mortar bookstore distribution?

    If you missed it, here’s the story on Boing Boing, Making Light, and Writes Like She Talks.

    Guess what: This is another story about a self-published book. Worse, the book’s been around since 2005!

    Don’t blame Mark. At this very moment, CNN’s pushing this story as though it’s brand-new. It isn’t. The book’s author/publisher, Ricardo Cortes, has been getting free publicity for years by giving copies of the book to right-wingers, who use it as an occasion for their “moral outrage” screeds. The chances that children are ever going to see this thing are only slightly higher than their non-chances of seeing the plastic surgery book.

    In short, this was a non-story three years ago.

    So here’s the real question: Did CNN already know this is a wholly synthetic news story, and run with it anyway?

    Alternately, does CNN do so little fact-checking that they missed indications that should have been the equivalent of loud sirens and flashing red warning lights?

  60. And the credit I should have included in my previous comment:

    Thanks to James D. Macdonald for help with the research, and for pointing out that “It’s Just a Plant” is true in two different ways.

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