Willie Nelson claims he once smoked a joint on the roof of the White House. One of Poland’s legislators tried to outdo the red-headed stranger, but wimped out.
Polish MP Janusz Palikot announced earlier this week that he planned to smoke a joint in the Parliament building. But after threats of prosecution by Ewa Kopacz, the speaker of Parliament’s lower house, Palikot backed down at the last moment. In front of a wall of reporters, the MP lit incense instead.
“It had a bit of marijuana in it and smelled of marijuana,” the MP told reporters.
Palikot is known for his political stunts. At a press conference in 2007, he pulled out a gun and a sex toy to bring attention to alleged sexual abuse and rapes by Polish police.
Last December, the Polish Parliament passed a law that allows prosecutors to choose whether or not to charge individuals found in possession of “soft” drugs like marijuana. Palikot was planning to test the law.
Amsterdam wants a weed pass
Meanwhile, Holland – well known for its liberal drug policies – is considering tougher regulations for Amsterdam’s infamous “pot cafes.”
As the CBC’s Dispatches reports, Holland is considering a drug ban for tourists. The government’s Conservative Party is tired of stoned tourists wandering the streets of Amsterdam. Under the proposed legislation, Dutch citizens would need a “weed pass” to buy soft drugs in cafes.
Despite Holland’s notoriety, a recent study out of England suggests Australia and New Zealand smoke more pot than any other nation. About 15% of Aussies and New Zealanders between ages 15 and 64 smoked marijuana in 2009. Under 3% of Eastern Europeans smoked cannabis, while Western and Central Europe averaged around 7%. According to the study, about one in ten Americans smoke pot.
Nonetheless, a majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana, and 16 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Six states have legislation pending, while 11 states have blocked legalization of medical marijuana.
Back in Poland, the liberal movement – which garnered 10% of the vote in last fall’s national election – is aiming for a bigger target: complete decriminalization of the drug. But for now, Janusz Palikot will have to be happy with small victories.
“Someone says they’re going to smoke a joint,” Palikot told reporters, “and the security is [ramped up] as if it were a national emergency.”