Will this be the most pot-friendly World Cup ever? In host nation Brazil, marijuana possession is tolerated, if illegal — an arrest leads to a warning and community service, according to the "legality of cannabis by country" entry on Wikipedia (yeah, yeah, don't use it as a resource, kids).
Of course, the U.S. men's team will be there, amid much being made in the international media of our country's burgeoning legalization. Also in attendance will be a number of nations with relaxed or nonexistent possession laws: Uruguay, Colombia, Netherlands, Iran. Of course, there are hardline nations too: Algeria, Japan, South Korea (where citizens can be charged for smoking outside of the country — take note, national team).
Puff your stuff at home, Humboldt, and check out the games starting Thursday at Big Pete's or your favorite sports bar.
Speaking of national marijuana policies, Mexico, which in recent years decriminalized personal possession (and made this year's World Cup cut), appears to be mulling further decriminalization of pot. President Enrique Pena Nieto said the U.S. trend toward legalization means Mexico needs to examine its own laws.
Pena Nieto told the Spanish newspaper El Pais (which has Central and South American editions) that Mexico's was a "failed policy."
"We can't continue on this road of inconsistency between the legalization we've had in some places, particularly in the most important consumer market, the United States, and in Mexico where we continue to criminalize production of marijuana," he told the paper (via the Toronto Sun).
Another neighbor to our south is considering marijuana legalization: Jamaica, the Caribbean island most famous for pot (and whose national team did not qualify for the World Cup). Some Jamaican policy makers, marijuana farmers and businessmen are eager to capitalize on the marijuana tourism that they think legalization would provide, according to USA Today. It's not unlikely that many Jamaicans, who've seen their culture co-opted and semi-understood abroad as one big ganja celebration, could benefit from the dollars of America's spring-breakin' greeks or Australia's hard-partying holidayers.
The article says that the island, only about 400 square miles bigger than Humboldt County, is home to 37,000 acres of marijuana farms.
Humboldt's stories are everywhere. It seems more and more often a national or international news outlet runs a large story covering some aspect of the marijuana subculture. The coverage is often good, sometimes great and only occasionally completely misses the mark.
The latest in the great column comes from literary magazine The Believer, whose Lee Ellis spent some time at "The Bougiest Trim Scene in Humboldt." It's a fascinating read, following closely a large grow op's cook as he deals with the complicated interpersonal, workplace, environmental, intellectual and emotional strife that comes with being on "the mountain."
— Those growers who want to keep their shipments of marijuana off public roads as much as possible pay fellow growers, like Ethan, the owner and chief executive of the farm where Dan cooked, for the right to use his farm's roads to bypass county, state, and federal throughways. The customary toll, according to Dan, is two hundred to four hundred dollars per trip. He'd collected a few of these tolls himself.
— On the farm, Ethan's rule was omnipotent. He was supervisor when Dan cooked, lender when he needed a loan to start his own patch, and sole distributor when Dan sold. "It's a little fiefdom," Dan said. As salt in the wound, the boss's crop was coming in strong, again. "Guy's never had a bad year. His neighbors quietly hate him."
— Later, Dario and Brianna squabbled in the parking lot, surrounded by majestic Toyotas, their door handles gummed with resin. The moon turned some distant ridge elegant. There was a forest that backed up to the bar, the gnarled dark of it, an untrodden path in there, one sensed, that led to another bar, like this one but mountains away, with some other trim team there doing the same shit.