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Marijuana Tourism From China To Amsterdam: Study Sheds Light On Motivations

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Marijuana use in China is strictly forbidden. In fact, when Canada legalized cannabis last year, the Chinese government sternly reminded its citizens living in or visiting the country to “please avoid contact or using marijuana.”

Yet, despite their nation’s strict views on marijuana, research shows that significant numbers of Chinese tourists are heading to Amsterdam to take part in its prolific cannabis culture. A new study published in the journal Current Issues in Tourism sheds light on some of the motivations for the cross-continental cannatourism.

The punishment for drug use of any kind in China, including marijuana, is up to 15 days in detention and mandatory rehabilitation, the study’s authors write. But the Chinese government has been known to enforce harsher sentences for other cannabis-related charges. For example, Jaycee Chan, the son of actor Jackie Chan, spent six months in a Beijing jail after police discovered more than 100 grams in his apartment.

Because Chinese citizens are “widely educated to stay away from any kind of drugs,” the study states, researchers were curious to know more about who these tourists heading to the Netherlands for cannabis really were. Between February 2014 and October 2016, they randomly approached Chinese tourists in or exiting Amsterdam coffee shops where marijuana is sold over the counter and invited them to complete a confidential questionnaire. A total of 654 surveys were collected and analyzed.

About 80 percent of respondents said they’d never tried marijuana prior to their trip to Amsterdam.

Participants were divided into three segments based on their responses: cannabis enthusiasts, diversionists/recreationists (people who were seeking pleasure or a diversion from their daily lives) and people who were simply curious about cannabis culture.

Survey responses from the first and third groups “demonstrate that Chinese drug tourists desire to ‘experience all’ and seek authenticity out of their normal daily life and society during the overseas travel,” the study authors wrote.

The largest number of tourists surveyed (almost 44 percent) fell into the category of diversionist/recreationist. In other words, they used cannabis as a way to enjoy their vacation—not unlike tourists from other countries.

“They travelled and consumed cannabis mostly for the sake of experiencing/experimenting with the local cannabis culture in Amsterdam as well as relaxation, pleasure, and to escape from stressful social environments,” the authors write.

Cannabis enthusiasts were the smallest segment of the sample. In terms of demographics, almost half of the survey respondents were women. Overall, a majority of participants reported being college-educated, under 35 years old and not married.

In a recent interview, lead study author Jun Wen discussed why Chinese tourists are especially attracted to the Netherlands.

“You can do a lot of things there that are illegal in China – gambling, paying for sexual services, and buying cannabis for recreational use,” he said. “So Chinese tourists want to go there to find a different way to relax that’s not traditional.”

World Health Organization Recommends Reclassifying Marijuana Under International Treaties

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Kimberly Lawson is a former altweekly newspaper editor turned freelance writer based in Georgia. Her writing has been featured in the New York Times, O magazine, Broadly, Rewire.News, The Week and more.

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NFL Says ‘Hype’ Over CBD Isn’t Backed By Science

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An expert panel created by the National Football League (NFL) and its players union is downplaying the potential benefits of CBD for players, stating that while the cannabis compound shows promise in the treatment of some forms of pain, the science doesn’t currently live up to the “hype.”

Following a fact-finding forum on alternatives to opioid painkillers, which involved conversations with CBD manufacturers, the Pain Management Committee for the NFL and the NFL Payers Association (NFLPA) noted on Tuesday that there’s strong interest in CBD and medical marijuana more broadly. But the panel didn’t seem convinced that the non-intoxicating ingredient would benefit players.

“CBD is a promising compound, but the level of its use in the United States outpaces the level of research at this point,” the committee wrote in a white paper for players. “Most of the hype about CBD is based upon results from animal studies.”

“Clinical trials in large numbers of people are usually needed before millions of Americans use a medication for serious medical problems,” the group said. “There are two small clinical studies that suggest that CBD may be effective for treating a kind of pain called neuropathic pain that involves a burning feeling usually in a person’s feet.”

The paper also said that because CBD products are largely unregulated, it’s hard to determine whether they are properly labeled, and there’s the potential for such products to contain THC, which could result in a positive drug test for players.

Additionally, “there may be drug-drug interactions caused by CBD or players may opt for CBD as a medical treatment in lieu of treatments with more scientific evidence supporting them,” the NFL and NFLPA committee said in another white paper intended for league medical staff.

The body also raised doubts about clinical studies into Food and Drug Administration-approved medications composed of synthetic cannabinoids that are used in the treatment of chronic and neuropathic pain, arguing that those investigations relied on small sample sizes and limited follow-ups that call into question their therapeutic value.

“Of course, cannabis remains a banned substance under the NFL Policy for Substances of Abuse,” the committee concluded. “In addition, the potential problems associated with cannabis, from acute impairment of driving, addiction, and exacerbation of psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety, make it a substance to approach with extreme caution.”

A fact-finding forum the panel held on Tuesday wasn’t aimed at amending league policy directly, but rather it was meant to be “an educational and scientific exercise” that “does not impact the jointly administered Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse,” the groups said in a joint statement to NFL.com.

That said, negotiations are ongoing between the league and players union, and there’s pressure on NFL to adopt a more permissive policy when it comes to marijuana, especially as more states opt to legalize it for medical or recreational purposes.

After the MLB announced last year that it is removing cannabis from its list of banned substances for baseball players, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and star quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots both said they were expecting the league to follow suit and change its marijuana policy.

MLB Officially Removes Marijuana From Banned Substances List For Baseball Players

Image element courtesy of Marco Verch.

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Sarah Silverman Calls Out Dave Chappelle For Not Sharing His Marijuana

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Dave Chappelle is a marijuana bogart, Sarah Silverman revealed at an award ceremony honoring the fellow comedian.

In a clip from the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor gala that was posted on Sunday, Silverman talked about her long friendship with Chappelle and went on to share an anecdote about how he once visited her and smoked an entire joint himself without sharing.

“We were together in Vancouver and he came over to smoke a joint. And that’s exactly what he did,” she said. “He came over and he smoked a joint—the whole thing. Like by himself, while pontificating about everything that’s wrong with the world.”

“I’ll tell you what’s wrong with the world: a lack of sharing,” she joked. “I think it’s puff, puff, pass—not puff, puff, puff, puff.”

This was at least the second time that Chappelle’s affinity for mind-altering substances came up during the prestigious awards ceremony that was taped in October and is being aired on PBS on Tuesday. Another fellow comedian, Aziz Ansari, came on stage and joked about a psychedelic experience he had with Chappelle the day before he was announced as the prize’s recipient.

In that bit, Ansari said Chappelle asked him if he wanted to take psilocybin mushrooms together. While Ansari initially said he wanted to take it easy and relax, Chappelle persuaded him that eating the psychedelic fungi would be a more memorable experience to mark the occasion.

“I said, ‘Dave you’ve got a point, let’s eat those mushrooms—to Twain,'” Ansari said.

Another person with a drug story about Chappelle is podcaster Joe Rogan, who recently talked about the comedian going to a private screening of Once Upon a Time In Hollywood and eating magic mushrooms that he got from a fan. Rogan didn’t partake, but he said Chappelle gifted him an unlabeled bag of cannabis edibles.

Both psilocybin and marijuana have regularly been featured in Chappelle’s comedy routines. In 1998, for example, he joked about a time he took mushrooms (also from a stranger) and started hallucinating during a haircut.

Beyond comedy, Chappelle has also advocated for marijuana reform on a serious basis. Former NAACP President Ben Jealous, who ran for governor of Maryland in 2018 on a pro-legalization platform, said Chappelle was the person who first put the idea of cannabis reform in his head.

Dave Chappelle Ate Magic Mushrooms Gifted By A Stranger, Joe Rogan Says

Photo courtesy of YouTube/Kennedy Center.

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Dave Chappelle And Aziz Ansari Took Magic Mushrooms To Celebrate Comedy Award

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When comedian Dave Chappelle wins a prestigious award, he opts for psychedelics over champagne to celebrate, fellow comedian Aziz Ansari said

In a clip from the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor gala that was posted online this week, Ansari shared an anecdote about the night before it was announced Chappelle was the award’s recipient.

While Ansari wanted to get some rest after the two comedians finished their sets at an Austin, Texas show, Chappelle proposed that they take psilocybin mushrooms instead.

“Dave said, ‘what kind of night are you trying to have tonight, Aziz?'”

“I said, ‘I’m probably going to take it easy, we went hard yesterday and we’ve got shows tomorrow.'”

“He said, ‘well you want to eat these psychedelic mushrooms I got? They’re supposed to be amazing.'”

Unconvinced, Ansari said he might “just take it easy and get some rest for tomorrow,” but his partner wasn’t deterred.

“He said, ‘well, Aziz, no one knows this, but tomorrow they’re going to announce that I am the winner of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.’

“And he said, ‘what are you going to tell your kids 20 years from now, Aziz? Are you going to tell them, I was there the day Dave Chappelle found out he won the Mark Twain award and we ate mushrooms together and we had the night of our lives? Or are you going to tell them you got some sleep?'”

Ansari, who described the back-and-forth at the award ceremony, which was taped in October, acquiesced: “I said, ‘Dave you’ve got a point, let’s eat those mushrooms—to Twain.'”

It’s unclear if the psilocybin mushrooms the pair shared are the same ones that Chappelle apparently got from a stranger ahead of a private screening of Once Upon a Time In Hollywood—another recent psilocybin anecdote about the comedian that was shared by podcaster Joe Rogan.

While Rogan didn’t partake in the psychedelic fungus, he said Chappelle did gift him a bag of unlabeled marijuana edibles.

Chappelle has joked about his marijuana and magic mushrooms experience in several of his comedy routines—including a 1998 bit where he also talked about taking shrooms he got from a stranger and then hallucinating during a haircut.

But the comedian has also seriously advocated for cannabis policy reform. Former NAACP President Ben Jealous, who ran for governor of Maryland in 2018 on a pro-legalization platform, credited Chappelle for first putting the idea of marijuana reform in his head.

PBS is set to air a special on Chappelle’s Twain prize on Tuesday.

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Image elements courtesy of John Bauld and David Shankbone.

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