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.”
SXSW Wants You To Submit Marijuana Panel Ideas For 2020 Event
South by Southwest (SXSW) is soliciting ideas for marijuana-related panels to be featured at next year’s festival.
The Austin-based conference—which celebrates music, film, art and innovation at annual events—promoted its “Cannabusiness Track” in a tweet on Friday.
The 2020 marijuana track will involve panels that explore the “technological, cultural, financial, legal and political ecosystems that are defining the cannabis-focused enterprises of both today and tomorrow,” according to a description.
The Cannabusiness Track will discuss the technological, cultural, financial, legal, and political ecosystems that are defining the #cannabis enterprises of today and tomorrow.
Are you a part of the cannabis industry? Propose your session idea today!https://t.co/3ytdTAC2mw
— SXSW (@sxsw) July 12, 2019
It “presents insights for professionals experienced in this rapidly-evolving industry, as well as introductions for newcomers who are just starting to enter this space.”
Have a concept for a panel that’d be a good fit for the program? There are only a few days left before Friday’s deadline to submit ideas through SXSW’s online tool. The festival will take place March 16-22, 2020.
Marijuana has become a mainstay at the Texas conference, with this year’s SXSW showcasing more than 20 cannabis events—with panels covering everything from female entrepreneurship in the marijuana industry to the state of cannabis politics in the Lone Star state.
Social justice advocates protested a SXSW keynote speech delivered by former Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who declined to act on reform while serving as a congressional leader but has since joined the board of one of the world’s largest cannabis companies.
The activists argued that legalization and restorative justice must go hand-in-hand, and Boehner represented a profit-driven “Big Marijuana” industry that’s antithetical to that goal.
SXSW included an advisory on its new Cannabusiness Track submission page, noting that “cannabis and related laws vary.”
“Programming in this track is designed to inform attendees about this fast-changing industry, and does not promote the use or sale of illegal drugs,” SXSW wrote.
Tom Hanks Denies Fake Quote Promoting CBD Company
Actor Tom Hanks wants you to know that he is not, in fact, feeling like a new person after using a CBD product from a California-based cannabis company.
In a tweet posted on Wednesday morning, Hanks denied a quote attributed to him that described advances in the CBD industry as “remarkable” and stating that he was “feeling like a new me” after using a cannabidiol product from a company called Cali Naturals.
FRAUD! INTERNET FAKE! Just so you know. Hanx. pic.twitter.com/UkZiLaVgDl
— Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) July 10, 2019
“FRAUD! INTERNET FAKE! Just so you know,” the star of films such as Forrest Gump and Cast Away wrote, sharing a photo of the false quote.
For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, Hanks has been featured in several dubious articles in recent years casting him as a champion of the non-intoxicating cannabis compound.
In another quote with questionable sourcing, Hanks reportedly said in 2017 that he was “fed up of taking various pills” and first tried using CBD to “soothe my anxiety.”
"Immediately alleviated 90% of my pain" – Tom Hanks#CBD #CBDoil #Hemp #hempoil #organic #nongmo #healing #painrelief #anxiety #musclespasm #seizures #nausea #insomnia #PTSD #inflammation #depression #skincaretips pic.twitter.com/KADZl1iHCl
— The CBD Hub (@TheCBDhub) December 4, 2018
While it’s not clear if the Cali Naturals cited in the new misattributed quote is the similarly named California Naturals CBD, a representative of that company told Marijuana Moment in an email that the development is part of a pattern they’ve experienced and that they did not know the origins of the Hanks hoax.
Someone “has been using our company name to falsely gain customers, maybe to scam them,” Erin Janson said. “We have received many emails from unsuspecting people saying that they purchased CBD from us and were charged for orders they did not want, or signed up for a monthly CBD club after they got a free trial.”
“We are just a small family business trying to make it in the CBD world,” Janson said. “We hope this does not tarnish our name or products.”
In any case, Hanks cleared the air with his all-caps Twitter statement. He might have been flying high as an astronaut in the 1995 film Apollo 13, but he’s certainly not the spokesperson for cannabis that some would have you believe.
Several Grateful Dead Members Call On Fans To Support Marijuana Reform
Three founding members of The Grateful Dead and a member of the spinoff group Dead & Company used part of their Independence Day to promote marijuana reform.
Songwriter and guitarist Bob Weir and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, who are now part of Dead & Company, each called on their social media followers to get involved with the Cannabis Voter Project, which “aims to educate Americans about about how voting can impact cannabis policy.” Dead & Company bassist Oteik Burbridge also used his platform to promote the organization.
Fans were encouraged to text “CANNA VOTER” to 40649, which prompts them with questions about federal cannabis reform and automatically generates messages to their congressional representatives. The musicians are also inviting supporters to visit a Cannabis Voter Project booth at one of Dead & Company’s shows in Colorado.
No better way to celebrate #IndependenceDay than telling elected leaders what you believe in. If you happen to consider yourself a "Cannabis Voter," text CANNA VOTER to 40649 or visit @Cannabis_Voter Project on #ParticipationRow at our Colorado shows. pic.twitter.com/EvNypwEglO
— Bob Weir (@BobWeir) July 4, 2019
The @Cannabis_Voter Project from @HeadCountOrg will be at the @deadandcompany Boulder shows. To know what it’s all about, text CANNA VOTER to 40649 and tell your elected officials that you’re a Cannabis Voter. pic.twitter.com/13apsRyHFK
— Mickey Hart (@mickeyhart) July 5, 2019
HeadCount, a non-profit organization that partners with musicians to register voters and operates Cannabis Voter Project, has been working with Dead & Company—and the band’s upcoming Colorado shows will put the focus on marijuana reform.
— Dead & Company (@deadandcompany) July 3, 2019
“No better way to celebrate #IndependenceDay than telling elected leaders what you believe in,” Weir wrote. “If you happen to consider yourself a ‘Cannabis Voter,’ text CANNA VOTER to 40649 or visit [Cannabis Voter Project] on #ParticipationRow at our Colorado shows.”
“I’ve smoked a lot of weed. And I vote,” Kreutzmann said. “If you‘re like me you should visit @HeadCountOrg’s @Cannabis_Voter Project booth on Participation Row in Boulder this weekend!”
I’ve smoked a lot of weed. And I vote. If you‘re like me you should visit @HeadCountOrg’s @Cannabis_Voter Project booth on #ParticipationRow in Boulder this weekend! #wavethatflag #deadandcompany pic.twitter.com/khsmcghbID
— Bill Kreutzmann (@BKreutzmann) July 4, 2019
The partnership makes sense given The Grateful Dead’s close association to the counterculture scene and cannabis across the span of several decades. Hart also owns a marijuana company that sells small joints in shops throughout Northern California.
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Any Cannabis Voters out there? Text CANNA VOTER to 40649 or visit @HeadCountOrg's @Cannabis_Voter Project on #ParticipationRow at our Folsom Field shows. #WaveThatFlag @headCountOrg #oteilfromegypt Pic #2 is reposted from @chrisrock I’ve always had mixed feelings about this holiday being part Black and part Native American. #noapologies #taxationwithoutrepresentationishereagain #oteilsegyptiankush @groundswellcolorado #happy4th!
Musicians are increasingly speaking out about cannabis politics. Last month, for example, Killer Mike discussed why rap artists deserve more credit for advancing marijuana legalization. And Rolling Stones’s Mick Jagger gave the governor of Illinois a shoutout at a Chicago concert on the day he signed a cannabis legalization bill.
This piece was updated to note that additional The Grateful Dead and Dead & Company members posted on social media about Cannabis Voter Project.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.