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Here's one you cannot make up.


Medicinal purposes are one thing, but marijuana received an unexpected recreational endorsement when Italy's highest court ruled that an Italian shepherd's smoking habit could be justified because he only had sheep for company.

No, really.

The guy is a real shepherd - he has sheep and he has to tend them in the wild for extended periods of time. He's out there, alone..with only sheep for companionsheep companionship.

He's out there for long times, alone, and smokes some pot. What could be wrong with that?

It must be bad because it ended up in Italy's Highest Court.

The 45-year-old shepherd was caught with marijuana in his car as he was setting off for an extended period with his flock in the mountains of Alto Adige, in the far north of the country. Police found 38 grams (about 1.3 ounces) in the car, and the shepherd, identified only as Giorgio D., was convicted of possession. But upholding an appeal against the verdict, the Court of Cassation ruled that the shepherd was justified in possessing this small quantity of the drug on account of "the long and solitary period" he was about to spend "in the countryside and the mountains, due to the migration of his flock of sheep".

I posted this because it is both funny and rather amazing.

Brief serious aside
The article goes on to talk about this court being known for ruling in favor of cannabis possession when odd contexts are involved, which is very very human.

This was still much to-do about nothing - 38 grams of marijuana, but it ends up being reviewed by the highest court in the land? Hello?  Seems sort of important, don't it?

The Highest Court in Italy finds a reason for leniency that appears suspiciously "compassionate" to this person's particular circumstance. At least it seems so to me. It shouldn't have had to go to the top court in the land....

Perhaps this will add weight and credibility to the Obama Administration's  shift to Harm Reduction policies, away from the war-on-drugs rhetoric.

"No mom, really...we got to get the flock to the North Country before the rainy season"

Enough seriousness.... this is fertile ground for humor.

Sheep, pot, High Court Rulings. It's a friggin' cornucopia of laughs and snickers.

I can hear it now:

  • this sends a bad message to the teens of America - surround yourself with animals and camp with them and smoking pot - a little - is OK. A judge in Italy said so!

  • Teens across America will suddenly join 4-H...  

  • Camping gear sales will skyrocket...

  • The DEA will list "sheep" as paraphernalia and begin an "animal profiling" operation.

  • The TIPS program will stand for "Turn In People with Sheep".

  • Republicans will pass laws against sheep, creating a Black Sheep Market.

  • A shepherd watch list will be generated and shepherds will be listed as "eco-terrorists" and placed under surveillance, and the costs will be another fleecing of America.

Due to the overt stupidity of cannabis prohibition, the jokes just write themselves.

Especially if you add sheep.

Originally posted to Toking Points Memo on Sat Mar 21, 2009 at 07:39 AM PDT.


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