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Culture, Reality

All the Fine Young Cannabis

by Petra Mason / 28.06.2010

Maybe it’s the company I keep, but the only question anyone in South Africa has ever asked me about my life in New York City is “what is the zol like?”

Fact is it’s so potent it transforms you into a red-eyed zombie after just 2 hits and it comes in every possible form except that particularly South African invention, the “ARM”. In some parts of town, particularly Midtown, you can smell it on the streets. And at St Marks Place in the East Village, there are numerous head shops selling all manner of smoking equipment including the apparently healthy see through gelatin rolling papers and the forced-air vaporizer Volcano bags. All of course with the required-by-law handmade signage warning: For tobacco use only. Yeah, right. New York has always been mad for trees. To get a sense of that history, YouTube fireball Cab Calloway’s jumpin’ jivin’ 1930’s hit “Reefer Man” and make believe you’re hitting the Apollo in Harlem.

Unlike New York, YouTube is stoner heaven. There you’ll find all manner of global chronic devotees worshiping the herb. “Legalize it” by Peter Tosh has been viewed gazillions of times and lovingly re-mixed and mashed up by aspiring VJs and DJs all over the world, under the influence. You’ll even find Obama’s classic comment about smoking weed when interviewed by Chris Matthews on NBC: “I inhaled frequently. That was the point”. What might surprise you is that until now, New York State laws for possession have been draconian. I know a couple New Yorker’s who’ve been busted smoking a small toke on a downtown street and they’ve been unceremoniously flung into jail for a night. It’s enough to make you totally paranoid. There is no shortage of undercover snitches crawling around wearing baseball caps and shorts, waiting to fill their quota of busts to get their payola. Like everything else in New York, delivery is the most popular means of purchase. During the dot com era in 1999, an Internet company called Urban Fetch sprung up offering 24-hour a day, within the hour bicycle delivery of anything (DVDs, books, CDs, snacks, gifts) within certain city zones. The company soon recognized a peak in business after midnight with messengers delivering ice cream and cookies to thousands of stoners with crazy start-up cash flow.

Still, despite the well-oiled delivery machine, a surprising amount of everyday people and countless major celebrities get busted trying to score in well-known police zones, like Washington Square Park. Further proof that being famous does not make you smart or connected.
So why does the plant with the cult following suddenly seem to be growing very publicly all over the city? The herb has been spotted in the wilds of Union Square Park, on traffic islands on fancy Fifth Ave and at the East River Park.

NORML, an organization working to reform marijuana laws, has announced the decriminalization of marijuana in New York State to some degree. Typically, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation. Now, for the first time, even New York State medical marijuana laws are under review. In California medical marijuana is legal, and just this weekend, High Times held the first 2-day Medical Cannabis Cup in San Francisco.
Website Animal New York sent photos of the Union Square discovery to Senior Cultivation Editor Danny Danko at High Times; who gave his expert opinion:
“It absolutely is cannabis sativa (pot, weed, marijuana). It was either a possible accidental sort of thing where a seed was tossed out, but there’s also Internet chatter about planting seeds to ‘overgrow’ the government, in as many places a possible, willy-nilly. These aren’t the expensive seeds we talk about in the magazine, but seeds people find in their pot and toss.”

And here is a photo of the plant I found growing on the East River. So what is your expert opinion? Is this pot or not?

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