The remote kingdom of Bhutan, situated high in the eastern Himalayas between China and India, has developed a cannabis problem, worried authorities told the BBC News on May 30. The cannabis plant thrives in the remote, tiny kingdom, with 650,000 residents and only 6,000 closely controlled foreign visitors last year, but until recently had not been used for consciousness alteration, said the kingdom's joint director of health care, Dr. Rinchen Chopel.

Nobody paid much attention to the weed, using it for little more than pig feed, said Chopel. "But in the last few years, especially in the last couple of years, we have been concerned by the reports and cases that have come to the notice of authorities," he told BBC.

Despite the kingdom's notorious reclusiveness, Chopel blamed exposure to foreign media and the embrace of modernism for the turn to cannabis consumption. Satellite TV had recently arrived in the country, the BBC noted.

Chope told the BBC Bhutan's anti-cannabis program would concentrate on burning the plants and providing counseling to youths who wished to quit smoking using it.

-- END --
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Issue #240, 6/7/02 Editorial: Time for Action | Feds Move to Seize LA Cannabis Resource Center, Hunger Strike Underway | Medical Marijuana Supporters Turn to Civil Disobedience, Direct Action | Rave Regulation Bill Passes California Assembly on Unanimous Vote, Heads for Senate | Cops Jockey for More Drug War Funds in Wake of FBI Revamp | Hot Topic: Adolescent Drug Treatment Abuse Conference Begins in St. Petersburg Tomorrow | Newsbrief: Wiretaps Up, Drug Investigations Behind Most, Feds Report | Newsbrief: New Mexico Governor Commutes Sentence of Raped Prisoner | Newsbrief: Fort Worth Police Chief Dares to Cut DARE | Newsbrief: Afghan Opium Harvest Estimated at 3,000 Tons | Newsbrief: Buds in Bhutan | Media Scan: Arianna Huffington | Grant Program: Tides Foundation RFPs for Latin America, Prop. 36 Implementation and Overdose Prevention | New DRCNet/StopTheDrugWar.org Merchandise Out -- Discounted Purchase Available | The Reformer's Calendar
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