Whoops, the balcony’s gone to pot!

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Whoops, the balcony’s gone to pot

A while back I wrote an article for the Freethinker – a 136-year-old atheist magazine I have edited for almost 20 years – about the attitude of church leaders in America towards the legalisation of cannabis.

Some supported legalisation, others were dead against it. In Massachusetts, the Catholic Church spent $850,000 on an anti-pot crusade. The cash, which could have been spent on something worthwhile – like feeding the poor – went down the drain, because, in December, 2016, Massachusetts wisely made the possession and cultivation of marijuana legal for adults. And so began the process of establishing a regulated, multi-million dollar marijuana industry.

Today, it is legal in seven US states for adults to use cannabis as a recreational drug, and 16 states allow it to be used solely for medical purposes.

When I wrote my piece, I pointed out how easy it was to obtain cannabis seeds and identified a Dutch company, Sensi Seeds, as being one of the world’s top suppliers. To my astonishment, a week later, I received an email from the company, thanking me for the mention.

To show their gratitude, they offered me a complimentary selection of seeds. Not knowing what the legal situation was in Spain, I decided to make some inquiries before I took up the offer. Naturally, the last thing I wanted to do was break the law.

One website informed me that “Spain has become one of the most cannabis-liberal parts of Europe for its relaxed attitude towards marijuana. It is a decentralised country, meaning that the laws vary from place to place, and any region can go about setting up its own marijuana laws. It is one of the most comfortable places to consume cannabis, and in certain circumstances, even grow.”

Another informed me that “since Spanish drug laws cannot reach into homes and other privately-owned spaces, the reach of the state’s drug policy is limited to public space.

“The beauty of growing one’s own cannabis at home is that it completely eliminates the need to incur the infraction of buying and carrying it out in the street, where they can bust you. By virtue of this, there is no law being broken, since what one does at home is not the state’s concern.

“However, it must be noted that a ‘bad neighbour’ can still report you and, if busted, then it is up to you to prove that it is for personal use only.”

So I said yes to Sensi Seeds, but only germinated three of the dozen seeds they sent me because – believe me – this was just an experiment to satisfy my own curiosity.

At this point I should point out that I have always supported cannabis legalisation because it’s a proven fact that dope is far less dangerous than alcohol. But I stopped using it about 20 years ago because of a growing workload. I had three jobs – one involving a lot of driving – and I felt that pot would impair my ability to properly focus on any of them.

Well, the plants flourished on our sun-drenched balcony to such an extent that, when they reached maturity, they’d grown into bushes four foot high and began to exude such an intoxicating aroma that our entire apartment was filled with the smell. What’s more, I became convinced that the increasing sluggishness of our two dogs – and their uncharacteristic demand for munchies – was due the fact that they were stoned.

At this point I panicked. Although we live on the 31st floor, I feared the smell might upset our neighbours. So, at 4 am one morning I sadly bagged up the plants and disposed of them in a dumpster outside our apartment block.

I sincerely hope that the bin men put them to good use.

Today, the greenery on our balcony is provided by two enormous dragon trees and a yucca plant.

Ironically, all were retrieved from a dumpster.

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