Russian Wikipedia's Pot Page Un-Banned

By McCarton Ackerman 04/10/13

But all references to "smoking devices" have been removed under Russian law.

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Censored. Photo via

The Russian Wikipedia entry for "Smoking Cannabis" has narrowly survived the country's crackdown on Internet drug references. Last week, the page was deemed in violation of a controversial Russian law aiming to blacklist websites believed to promote pedophilia, suicide or drug use (online drug encyclopedia, Erowid.org, was banned earlier this year). However, Russian communications watchdog Roscomnadzo confirmed that blacklisting the Wikipedia entry could lead to a total blackout of the Wikipedia site. So after rigorous modifications, the page has been approved by censors. Roscomnadzor reportedly took objection to several photos of bongs in the entry, which have now been removed, along with all photos and references to smoking instruments, except for a simple pipe. A large section on "smoking devices" was also removed from the article, in addition to a reference to the Rastafari using ganja for spiritual practices. But while most of the content was removed, an addition was made explaining punishment for smoking pot in the country: "In Russia, the use of citizens without prescription drug made from hemp, is an administrative offense punishable by a fine of between 4 to 5 thousand rubles or administrative arrest for up to 15 days, and foreign citizens, in addition, subject to administrative expulsion from the Russian Federation." The Russian online encyclopedia for drugs, Erowid.org, was banned earlier this year under the new law. Russian laws on marijuana possession are among the strictest in Europe and can often include harsh prison sentences.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.