magazine picks vancouver as pot lover's paradise

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by cradleofganja, Jun 30, 2002.

  1. by Robert Matas,

    British Columbia

    VANCOUVER -- Ron MacNeil is behind the counter, serving noonhour customers at a place called The Blunt Bros., on the edge of downtown Vancouver.

    Scented cigarette papers, pipes, vaporizers and other marijuana-related paraphernalia are in glass showcases at the front, just across the aisle from displays of the shop's own line of clothing.

    The store includes a cafe. The premises are well lit, comfortably furnished and tastefully decorated. No one is smoking at the tables, but at the back, several men and women are rolling joints and lighting up in a well-ventilated, enclosed smoking room. The atmosphere is relaxed, friendly.

    "Nobody cares. [The police] leave us alone," said Mr. MacNeil, manager of The Blunt Bros.

    Vancouver's well-known tolerance for marijuana was a significant factor in a U.S. magazine's recent selection of the city as the best place on the planet for marijuana smokers. The summer edition of New York-based High Times magazine, a counterculture publication with a circulation of more than 200,000, picked Vancouver over Amsterdam, although smoking marijuana is legal in Amsterdam but is against the law in Vancouver.

    "It is a very tolerant atmosphere," Dan Skye, the magazine's executive editor, said yesterday from New York. "You could walk down the street [smoking marijuana] and no one bothers you."

    His assessment is also based on the quality of marijuana grown in British Columbia, its availability and its price, which is half what it costs in Amsterdam.

    "Some of the world's most outstanding weed is grown there," he said, adding that he has heard estimates that one in three homes in the region have at least one marijuana plant growing on a shelf.

    Vancouver also surpassed other locations in a category that has little to do with the weed, namely, its diverse range of diversions, from the beach and water sports to the ski hills. "It's a stoner's paradise."

    High Times also features two bed-and-breakfasts in Vancouver -- Casa Verde and Sativa Sisters -- that cater to marijuana smokers.

    The B&Bs for bud lovers offer an alternative to stuffing towels under the crack of the motel-room door or smoking while hanging out the bathroom window, Mr. Skye wrote.

    Paul Vallee, an executive vice-president at Tourism Vancouver, was pleased to hear about the city's top billing.

    "It adds a bit of character to the place," he said yesterday. "I don't see it as a negative . . . if it is about what a hip place Vancouver is to go to."

    Marijuana is not sold in the cafes, and signs state that selling or buying illicit drugs is strictly prohibited.

    The storekeepers said they impose an age restriction of 19 years for entry the smoking room and require photo identification.

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