|Photo: Luke Parker, Western Leader|
|New Zealand’s Dakta Green: “Live like it’s legal”|
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of marijuana smoking in the world, and soon those Kush-loving Kiwis will have “cannabis clubs” throughout the country where they can indulge in their pastime.
“Pot dens,” where people can smoke, buy or even formally study the illegal herb, are poised to open throughout the country this year, reports Tamara McLean at Australia’s Brisbane Times.
The first of the “cannabis connoisseurs clubs” already opened in Auckland more than a year ago. Since police have so far turned a blind eye to the operation, the owner has now announced plans to open a club in every big city.
|Dakta Green: “2010 is the year people within our culture are demanding changes throughout the world.”|
”We have demand from virtually every city in the country,” Dakta Green, who founded the Daktory, told New Zealand’s Sunday News.
“I would expect to see in the next 12 months Daktories in every major city in this country; every city should have at least one. 2010 is the year people within our culture are demanding changes throughout the world.”
It’s a bold move in a country where the police force tries to extinguish the supply of cannabis — known locally as dakka — with grow raids and dealer round-ups.
But according to government statistics, New Zealand tops the cannabis use charts, with 22 percent of the population 15 and older having tried marijuana at least once.
Next-door-neighbor Australia trailed at 17.9 percent.
Green said he has 2000 club members — including doctors, lawyers, court officials, business people and school teachers — who pay monthly memberships to smoke and chill in Green’s spacious warehouse.
The club’s slogan is “live like it’s legal,” and reports of bongs scattered across coffee tables and plants being grown in sunny windows suggest that’s exactly what members do.
|Dakta Green: “We cannot call these people criminals. It’s part of popular culture.”|
”We cannot call all these people criminals. It’s part of popular culture,” Green told New Zealand’s Western Leader. “The fact that everybody is doing it is a damn good reason to stop locking a few of us up.”
Green wasn’t always pro-marijuana; he didn’t try the herb until he was 39 years old.
“I was a prohibitionist when I grew up,” he said. “I didn’t know why. I thought cannabis was evil and was highly opposed to it. I always thought it was against the law and would cause brain damage.
“I finally tried it to find out why young people found it so attractive,” he said. “I woke up the following morning without a hangover and was no longer a prohibitionist.
“From that point on, I slowly became immersed in the culture,” he said.
The Daktory sells almost 20 different forms of cannabis, and plans to offer “degrees in daktology” later this year. The degrees will involve formalized study of all aspects of the cannabis industry, including hands-on cultivation techniques.