Disclaimer: The views expressed on this article solely belong to the writer and don’t essentially characterize these of The Fresh Toast.

One of essentially the most profitable themes in prohibitionist propaganda is the “New Potent Pot” line, which tells us that “marijuana stronger than it was back in the 60s, when everyone thought it was harmless.”   

This “new potent pot” line is meant to negate the information gained by expertise and thereby remove such a objection. It is claimed that the THC ranges of marijuana in the present day are (decide a quantity) instances larger than prior to now. 

SEE: Is Trump Willing To Lose the Election For Marijuana Prohibition?

The notion that in the present day’s marijuana that your kids may smoke is qualitatively completely different from the marijuana prior to now is clearly good for anxious mother and father who’ve been conditioned by many years of prohibitionist propaganda to really feel responsible about their youthful “experimentation.” In this regard it is extremely profitable. 

That there isn’t any knowledge to again it up is just not an issue, as a result of, when the topic is marijuana,  the standard purveyors of information — the media (proper, left and heart) — have been within the anti-fact enterprise for many years.  They have enshrined the “new potent pot” line as a primary a part of “conventional wisdom.” Everyone is aware of…. Actually, it’s what everybody does not know that’s essential.  

There are a number of essential factors to be realized from taking a look at this specific little bit of prohibitionist propaganda.  

Data, knowledge, who’s obtained the information?  

Any time that somebody compares in the present day’s marijuana with that of the 1960s — or Woodstock, which is one way or the other nonetheless a standard reference level — you’ll be able to know with absolute certainty that they’re mendacity. There is solely no knowledge — no knowledge — on marijuana efficiency from the 1960s, a lot much less from anyone live performance. The first testing of marijuana for THC didn’t start till the early 1970s.  

Here it will get a bit of bit extra difficult. 

In 1972, the primary yr of official authorities testing for the THC degree, a small pattern of marijuana of unknown origin, however in all probability Mexican, averaged solely 0.18% THC. This is beneath the extent of commercial hemp, however this quantity is commonly used as the bottom for comparability to justify the excessive multiples.  

SEE: Prohibition 2.0 Making a Mess of Marijuana Legalization. Just Get Out of the Way 

If a customer to the U.S. walked out of his lodge and met a homeless particular person wearing rags, and insisted that this was the standard American, ignoring everybody else in sight, you’ll query the customer’s judgement — or integrity. In impact, that’s what prohibitionists are doing after they use this 1972 authorities quantity. It requires persistent dishonesty.  

In their e book Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts,  Zimmer and Morgan dedicate a brief chapter to the information on marijuana efficiency. I like to recommend this e book for a lot of causes, however this chapter alone is well worth the value of the e book.  

They level out that in 1973 a non-public firm PharmChem examined 4 instances as many samples as the federal government, and the typical efficiency was 1.62%. Did marijuana enhance in efficiency tenfold in a single yr? 

Photo by Thought Catalog by way of Unsplash

Also think about that one pattern examined by PharmChem in 1975 was really 14% THC, which was 20 instances the typical for the samples examined by the federal government that yr. 

Subsequently, non-public testing was prohibited, and for 20 years the one knowledge has come from the federal government, however in 1980 the typical efficiency from authorities testing was round 2% and customarily different between 2 and three% for a number of years. 

In brief, there isn’t any knowledge from the 60s, and knowledge from the 70s doesn’t help the notion that there was solely low THC marijuana out there.  

Public officers have the duty to report the federal government’s personal knowledge actually. They don’t. It appears to be completely acceptable to deceive help the arrest of tens of millions, together with the sick and dying as a part of the suppression of medical marijuana. A extremely bitter political satirist may provide you with one thing like this state of affairs, however it will in all probability be rejected as too heavy-handed. 

Even with out entry to the information there are different severe issues with the “new potent pot” line that ought to set off alarms for anybody able to vital thought. 

First,  marijuana was contraband. There are not any requirements for contraband. In some international locations beer could also be stated to be stronger than in different international locations as a result of there are legal guidelines regulating efficiency – alcohol content material – however there could be no requirements for contraband. This implies that there must be massive scale sampling, and even then it will be exhausting to understand how typical the samples have been of the whole market. 

And simply how did marijuana come to vary? Here is the place it actually will get perverse. Under prohibition there may be an incentive to extend the efficiency of contraband by quantity. More bang for the majority. This is why prohibition encourages exhausting medicine over marijuana.

SEE: Iron law of prohibition

In different phrases, we’re instructed that one thing that occurred underneath prohibition, and which was inspired by prohibition, one way or the other justifies prohibition.  

But that was by no means the correct query, within the first place. The correct query was “Did the average potency of marijuana on the market — or the THC content of the average marijuana being sold — increase?”  

 Again, as we have now seen, the information don’t help this. There was marijuana with at the very least 14% THC out there in 1975. And even when there have been knowledge from the 60s, we nonetheless couldn’t know this to be true, as a result of we might not understand how consultant the samples have been then — or at the moment are.  

Remember, we’re speaking about contraband.  

SEE: We Must End Marijuana Prohibition For Economic Recovery in a Post Pandemic World 

Also there may be the matter of testing strategies on the person samples. Were they manicured all the way down to the bud, as is commonly the case with the easiest? Or have been there leaves and seeds and stems included within the complete weight, which is commonly the case with industrial grades aimed toward “less discriminating” consumers? In different phrases, the packaging and preparation of the extremes will intensify the variations.  

Actually, I’m assured that the most effective indoor sinsemilla in the present day is best than the most effective from the 60s. I want to suppose so. I’m a technological optimist. Today’s greatest could have a THC content material within the vary of 25%, relying on the sampling and testing method. 

Of course, that is largely irrelevant, as a result of, simply as most individuals don’t drink 25 year-old Scotch, most individuals don’t smoke essentially the most potent — and most costly — marijuana. Price is just not the one purpose for this. Some folks similar to beer. Which brings us to the “beer” market. 

Marijuana Does Not Make You Dumber, According to Science
Photo by Mayara Klingner/EyeEm/Getty Images

What concerning the kids? 

So, sure, there may be some very robust marijuana out there in the present day, simply as there was within the 1960s and 70s. Does this pose a menace to “children?” 

Well, if stronger marijuana actually have been extra harmful — and it’s not, extra on that quickly — it is likely to be a menace to very wealthy kids. The scourge of Beverly Hills.  

The truth is that the majority children are not possible to have the ability to afford the stronger strains of marijuana. Kids get the cheaper stuff, partly as a result of they’ve restricted budgets, and partly as a result of there should not many younger connoisseurs. Consequently, when prohibitionists combine mendacity about efficiency with concern about kids, this has even much less to do with the true world than is normally the case. 

Learning from the Dutch

Also, all this hypothesis requires that we proceed to disregard the Dutch expertise. There has lengthy been some very robust marijuana out there within the Netherlands, together with a lot that’s within the American vary, however folks don’t routinely purchase the strongest. 

Experienced people who smoke don’t all the time go for the “strongest” marijuana, simply as folks don’t drink pure grain alcohol. People discover that there are strains that they like and stick with that. 

One of the issues that prohibitionists don’t perceive – or don’t need to perceive – is that there are essential variations in varied marijuana strains aside from THC ranges. Again, think about that there are variations in varied alcohol drinks aside from alcohol content material. 

In some methods the variations in marijuana strains are chemically extra essential than the variations between beer and Bourbon. Alcohol is the one lively ingredient in most alcohol drinks, however the completely different cannabinoids affect the standard of the marijuana excessive. This is one purpose that many individuals discover Marinol, the artificial pharmaceutical model of THC to be disagreeable. In brief, focusing solely on THC “potency” is deceptive.  

Of course, underneath prohibition it is extremely tough to search out constant provides, so this not solely will increase the emphasis on THC efficiency, it additionally makes it tough to know the efficiency of any given provide. 

The circumstance through which marijuana with larger ranges of THC could pose a hazard can be when somebody doesn’t know its efficiency and smokes greater than obligatory for the specified impact. While the onset of a excessive from smoking is pretty speedy, an individual may take a number of puffs of 15% THC marijuana when they’re accustomed to the identical quantity of 10% THC product. This can produce undesirable outcomes. Fortunately, the results are nearly all the time transitory.  

Stronger marijuana may very well be safer. 

Difference Between A Marijuana Dispensary And A Liquor Store
Photo by mikroman6/Getty Images

As Zimmer and Morgan level out in Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts, elevated efficiency doesn’t imply elevated hazard. In truth, simply the alternative could also be true.  

Inasmuch as nearly all people who smoke discover being over-stoned disagreeable, folks use solely sufficient marijuana to attain the specified impact. Insofar because the one clearly established threat in utilizing marijuana comes from smoking, the much less an individual has to smoke to attain a desired “high” the higher. As famous, if there may be the surprising excessive from marijuana of unknown efficiency that will pose a threat to people who smoke, however this can be a consequence of contraband and an absence of requirements underneath marijuana prohibition, not one thing intrinsic to the plant. 

The Political Uses of the “New Potent Pot” Argument 

As noticed, the first worth of this line is that it’s used to negate the expertise of those that smoked prior to now. However, a number of the prohibitionists have develop into extra inventive.  

Hemp is de facto marijuana, in spite of everything.  

SEE: We Know Too Much About Marijuana for It To Be Illegal 

In one space it appeared as if this line may backfire on the prohibitionists. I’ve seen quite a few articles about hemp through which both the journalist or hemp trade consultant stated that industrial hemp legally has solely 0.30% THC, whereas marijuana has 10% to 15% THC. Well, how may anybody be involved about hemp, if marijuana has 20 to 30 instances extra THC? 

However, now the prohibitionists are nonetheless opposing hemp by saying that the marijuana smoked again within the 1960s and ‘70s had solely 0.50% THC. In different phrases, the hippies have been smoking hemp. Clever, eh?  

But now stronger marijuana is claimed to be qualitatively completely different and causes violence and habit. Imagine somebody saying that the results of whisky are qualitatively completely different from beer.  

But in fact, that is traditional reefer insanity. The downside right here is that if it takes the “new potent pot” to trigger “addiction” and violence, why have been they saying the identical factor sixty years in the past? Prohibition causes long-term reminiscence loss.  

The “new potent pot” is price some huge cash, and includes organized crime. 

One of the oddest issues about prohibitionism is that it treats getting cash in a capitalist society as an intrinsically evil factor. The enterprise of America is enterprise, however getting cash on marijuana is morally improper, not like getting cash on weapons, playing, booze, and so on. Consequently, we’re speculated to be outraged and alarmed once we are instructed that the “new potent pot” sells for 1000’s of {dollars} per pound in some markets. This makes it morally worse than abnormal marijuana. Of course, this results in Organized Crime!  

This is the traditional case of prohibition, in fact. The excessive costs and felony exercise are the results of the legal guidelines in opposition to marijuana, not of marijuana itself.  

Many folks could even perceive this apparent level, and nonetheless be outraged by the excessive costs, or the dimensions of the market, as if this have been some form of ethical perception.  

If this moralistic outrage have been occurring in a socialist nation, it will at the very least be in line with the dominant philosophy, however in America???  

Conclusions: What would be the impression of legalization on efficiency, value, and security?  

  1. What will occur to common efficiency when marijuana is de facto legalized? It can be recognized.  (We actually have no idea what the typical efficiency of marijuana has been or could also be. This is unattainable underneath marijuana prohibition.)  
  1. The common efficiency out there to most customers could enhance, however there can be alternative. This is unattainable underneath marijuana prohibition.
  1. There can be much less concentrate on THC efficiency and extra on different qualities. There can be a recognition of qualitative variations in varied strains, as is the case in Holland and legalized states in the present day. This is unattainable underneath marijuana prohibition.
  1. The highest costs will nearly actually fall considerably. This will lower the motivation for maximizing THC efficiency, which is a attribute of contraband markets. (Contraband threat premiums can be changed with taxes and different prices, so the value of the typical grade could not fall as a lot.) This is unattainable underneath marijuana prohibition.
  1. The lowest grade will nearly actually disappear, which is sweet due to unsure purity. This is unattainable underneath marijuana prohibition.
  1. People will have the ability to discover the most secure and most satisfying means of utilizing the plant. This is very essential in use for self-medication in sub-clinical circumstances through which self-medication is the accepted norm in our society. This is unattainable underneath marijuana prohibition.
  1. Regulations could be centered on sustaining high quality and minimizing use by kids. This is unattainable underneath marijuana prohibition.
  1. Information can be credible and training plausible. This is unattainable underneath marijuana prohibition.
  1. The precise risks in marijuana can be recognizable and could be extra simply handled by each society and the person. This is unattainable underneath marijuana prohibition.
  1. People will have the ability to develop their very own and have a private relationship with their crops, gaining an perception into their relationship with Creation and the Creator. This is unattainable underneath marijuana prohibition.

Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and writer of The Economic Consequences of the Pandemic Meet the Drug War

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