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Increased Pot Potency Just Proves That Marijuana Laws Have Failed

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Everyday I read the Drug Czar's blog hoping that one afternoon I might happen upon something vaguely resembling an actual response to the reform movement's detailed and ongoing critiques of his work. Yet it never comes. Instead, I read that marijuana makes people sad, medical marijuana makes people sick, and school children love having their urine collected.

Then today it happened. Overcome, perhaps, by excitement over the newest data on marijuana potency, the Drug Czar's blog linked editorials by MPP's Bruce Mirken and NORML's Paul Armentano. The post even contains quotes by Armentano and attempts to refute them:

Claim 1: "...even by the University of Mississippi's own admission, the average THC in domestically grown marijuana -- which comprises the bulk of the US market -- is less than five percent, a figure that's remained unchanged for nearly a decade." (via the HuffingtonPost)

Not exactly. The "domestic" samples analyzed in the University of Mississippi's report do not represent what's found in the U.S. market. "Domestic" samples refer to marijuana plants that were found in the process of being grown and were then eradicated by law enforcement in the U.S. The potency of these "domestic" specimens is far lower because those specimens are most often taken from immature plants that never reached full cultivation (maturity) for distribution and consumption in the illegal market.

The "non-domestic" specimens in the report are from actual DEA street or border seizures, which are a different set of specimens from the "domestic" eradications. These samples more accurately represent the quality of marijuana that's smoked in the U.S. (The "non-domestic" label has been misinterpreted because the origin of the seized marijuana is not known.)

It's just a jaw-dropping lecture to receive from the Drug Czar, who previously claimed that marijuana potency had increased "as much as 30 times" precisely by using weak domestic samples as his baseline. Well thanks for clarifying that, finally. Maybe ONDCP should send a press release to 2002 to warn everyone how full of crap they are.

Moreover, if I understand this correctly, the Drug Czar is saying that all cultivated marijuana was labeled as "non-domestic" for the purposes of the latest report. It's true that police can't determine where the finished product originated, but calling it all "non-domestic" ignores the reality that most U.S. marijuana is grown here by Americans and not some terrorist overseas. The study thus implies wrongly that all domestic marijuana was seized before cultivation and that our entire market is dominated by imported foreign pot. And remember, they brought all this up in order to assure us that we don’t know what we're talking about.

The Drug Czar's second point is similarly problematic:

Claim 2: "If and when consumers encounter unusually strong varieties of marijuana, they adjust their use accordingly and smoke less."

The research cited in this argument undermines the author's own claim. The almost 20-year old study found that the effects of the marijuana were greater for the high THC doses of marijuana. Even though the 12 experienced users in the study were titrating, they ended up more intoxicated, and that was with marijuana that only had 1.3 percent versus 2.7 percent THC.

It's just not true. As "Understanding Marijuana" author Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D. explains via email:
…the Pushing Back website says "Even though the 12 experienced users in the study were titrating, they ended up more intoxicated," while the abstract of the article they are mentioning says "Active marijuana also increased subjective reports of drug effect over placebo, but not dose dependently" That is, the folks smoking real pot got higher than folks smoking placebo, but the folks with the stronger dose didn't get higher than the folks with the weaker dose.

As always, it is just impossible to overstate the factual vacuum from which the Drug Czar's claims emerge before being tossed into the public debate like a turd into a hot sauna. These reflexive, involuntary fabrications are all the more galling when one considers that marijuana potency actually has increased and could theoretically be demonstrated without lying at all.

We'd just as soon let them have their day if these recent reports didn’t contradict numerous hysterical prior claims by these very same people, and if they didn’t give rise to all sorts of nonsense about the fictitious risks of marijuana with more THC in it. Anyone struggling with that concept need look no further than the fact that FDA has approved a 100% THC pill called Marinol and the Drug Czar doesn't even pretend to worry about that.

Increasing potency is not an argument against reforming marijuana laws; it's a symptom of marijuana prohibition as well as a towering exhibit of its failure.

News Hawk: User: 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: StoptheDrugWar.org
Copyright: 2008 StoptheDrugWar.org
Contact: drcnet@drcnet.org
Website: Increased Pot Potency Just Proves That Marijuana Laws Have Failed


New Member
>it's a symptom of marijuana prohibition as well as a towering exhibit of its failure.

What ever harm they attribute to potency, it is inescapably occuring on their watch....
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