Santa Claus and the “Nowhere Man.” Tis’ the season to be jolly….

Though many societies and religious traditions promote entheogenic drug experiences, the Sixties brought recreation use to the forefront of popular culture. The Sixties were a decade of change, and mind-altering substances were integral to this transformation. Even if the actual percentage of drug users was not as high as it might seem, drugs dramatically changed popular aesthetics and discourse of the era.

“…A two-metre (six-foot) marijuana plant decorated as a Christmas tree was confiscated from the home of “an old hippie”, who is now facing a drug possession charge, German police said Wednesday. In a tongue-in-cheek press release titled “All you need is love or how a hippie celebrates Christmas,” police in the western city of Koblenz said they discovered the giant plant in the living room of the suspect….”

“…German authorities on Tuesday said that a 21-year-old man in the southern city of Munich had been detained with a homemade Advent calendar with cannabis behind each little door instead of chocolate….”

Evan Karp:I knew it was going to be funny when one of the opening lines was: “C’mon maaaan, I need some phuckin weed!” and Claus replies: “You must have the wrong Santa.” Then, shortly after, I suspected something a little more hefty when a mother chastises her screaming cookie-fiending child: “When we’re inside we use our inside voices. We use the Socratic method when we want something.” What? What does Socrates know about weed? Ah, the point is: many weed smokers know a thing or two about Socrates. Yes, dear readers. Yes.

In 1964, Bob Dylan visited the Beatles who were on tour in America and allegedly shared a joint with them. Dylan was very surprised to find that they were non-smokers. After this initiation, there were many accounts of The Beatles constantly smoking weed while making H elp! The aesthetics already start to shift in this movie, which features many surreal situations and an outlandish plotline. Though the changes in their art were not solely due to drugs, the advent of marijuana seemed to come at the right time. In 1966, The
Beatles moved into the studio. Here, the shift in music production allowed the influence of drug aesthetics to become more pronounced, since greater artistic control was allowed in sound recording, and drugs, particularly marijuana as a mass, relatively benign and inexpensive choice, became a generalized cultural aesthetic…

The gift of cannabis? As Marijuana becomes a little less publicly taboo,  so do the opportunities for marketers to create a new genre of products around this product. What can be imagine? Would you give the gift that lasts a few hours? Thirsty? Why not open an ice-cold bottle of pot-infused root beer?

A new line of pot-infused beverages masquerading behind soda flavors are now available to patients with a prescription for medical marijuana. Made by Colorado-based Dixie Elixirs, the carbonated drinks are marketed to medicinal-marijuana patients who wish to avoid “weed culture” stigmas.

"The organic drinks come in eight different flavors (including root beer, pink lemonade or grape) and serve as alternatives to smoking cannabis, which is legal for medical use by prescription in 14 states and used as an alternative to pain killers. (Who knows? Maybe Ms. Norbury’s marijuana tablets aren’t so out of the question after all.) No word yet on how much a case of drinkable marijuana will cost, but we have a feeling it may run a little higher than anything Pepsi is pushing."

Although most people see Christmas as a Christian holiday, most of the symbols and icons we associate with Christmas celebrations are actually derived from the shamanistic traditions of the tribal peoples of pre-Christian Northern Europe.

“The sacred mushroom of these people was the red and white amanita muscaria mushroom, also known as “fly agaric.” These mushrooms are now commonly seen in books of fairy tales, and are usually associated with magic and fairies. This is because they contain potent hallucinog

compounds, and were used by ancient peoples for insight and transcendental experiences.

Most of the major elements of the modern Christmas celebration, such as Santa Claus, Christmas trees, magical reindeer and the giving of gifts, are originally based upon the traditions surrounding the harvest and consumption of these most sacred mushrooms.” ( Dana Larsen )

“For more than 30 years, Holland has allowed the sale of small amounts of marijuana (currently up to five grams) in coffee shops, even though laws against marijuana possession technically remained on the books. In recent years, conservative governments have increasingly signaled their unhappiness with the status quo and have embarked on campaigns to reduce the number of coffee shops.

Dutch coffee shops are a popular tourist destination, especially with visitors from neighboring France, Germany, Belgium, and other countries with more repressive approaches to pot.”

Larsen:Although the modern image of Santa Claus was created at least in part by the advertising department of Coca-Cola, in truth his appearance, clothing, mannerisms and companions all mark him as the reincarnation of these ancient mushroom-gathering shamans. One of the side effects of eating A. muscaria is that one’s skin and facial features take on a flushed, ruddy glow. This is why Santa is always shown with glowing red cheeks and nose. Even Santa’s jolly “Ho, ho, ho!” is the euphoric laugh of one who has indulged in the magic fungus. Santa also dresses like a mushroom gatherer. When it was time to go out and harvest the magical mushroom, the ancient shamans would dress much like Santa, wearing red and white fur-trimmed coats and long black boots.

…Harry, who formerly ran a seed business and now spends his days as a cannabis-policy gadfly, is also unhappy because we’re forbidden to get high during class. On a typical day, Harry likes to spark a joint the size of a cornucopia shortly after getting out of bed and to spark another one every fifteen minutes or so until it’s time to go to sleep at night. By his own account, Harry smokes ten to fourteen ounces per month (in the neighborhood of $5,000 worth if he were paying retail, which he does not). So, thwarted for the next few hours, Harry impatiently rolls one hefty spliff of G13-Amnesia Haze after another, lining them up on his desk in anticipation of the noontime lunch break.

Wells Tower:Marijuana and establishments that sell it remain illegal in Holland, but the industry operates more or less in plain sight through a statutory gray area known as gedoogbeleid, roughly "tolerance." The tolerance policy protects smokers possessing five grams or less but cuts local government plenty of prosecutorial slack to harry shop owners at the first shift of Holland's culture wars. The national statutes are sufficiently loose and leaky that almost forty years after the first coffee shop opened its doors, the center-right Christian Democratic Appeal—until recently Holland's ruling party—has pledged to shutter every hash bar on Dutch soil. And while coffee shops operate at the pleasure of city government, not national parties like the CDA, Holland's dope outlets have undergone a substantial die-off of late. Read More

Our instructor opens the session with the gentle question “How does it feel to work in a coffee shop?” Contrary to my conception of Holland as a freethinking sort of nation where it’s no more fraught to suck a public bongload than an after-dinner mint, a number of people confess feeling a sense of vague disgrace at working in the industry.

“I guess I’m sort of a source of shame for my family,” says one dealer (as the hash-bar staffers are known).

“I don’t tell people,” says a cheerleader. “I just say I work in hospitality.”

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