Yes, Pot is Stronger Today
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Yes, Pot is Stronger Today
Posted by CN Staff on January 14, 2016 at 17:46:32 PT
By Johann Hari
Source: Los Angeles Times
USA -- Taboos about drugs are lying shattered across the U.S., like broken debris after a party. But even as some states have begun to decriminalize or legalize marijuana, there is an argument that is making some Americans hesitate.They ask: Aren't many drugs, even pot, much more potent today than they were in the 1960s, when the boomers formed their views on drug use? Hasn't cannabis morphed into super skunk? Aren't people who used legal painkillers like OxyContin and Percocet sliding into heroin addiction — suggesting that legally accessible drugs are a slippery slope toward the abuse of harder drugs?
Here's the irony. Drugs are more potent today, and people are taking more powerful drugs — but that's largely because of the drug war, not despite it.To grasp why, you need to understand a counterintuitive phenomenon best explained by the writer Mike Gray in his book “Drug Crazy.” Let's start in January 1920. The day before Prohibition went into effect, the most popular alcoholic drinks, by far, were beer and wine. Once alcohol was legalized again, in December 1933, the most popular drinks, by far, were again beer and wine — as they remain today. But between those dates, beer and wine virtually vanished and the only alcoholic beverages available became hard spirits such as whiskey, vodka and moonshine.So why would banning a drug change people's taste? In fact, it didn't. It just changed what they had access to.Imagine if you had to smuggle all the booze to be consumed in your local bar next week in a wagon from the Mexican or Canadian border. If you filled the wagon with beer, you could serve maybe a few hundred drinks. But if you filled the same space with whiskey, you could serve thousands. When you are smuggling anything over distance, “you have to put the maximum bang in the smallest possible package,” as Gray wrote. Bar-goers would prefer beer — but if all they can get is whiskey, plenty will drink that instead.As crackdowns on a drug become more harsh, the milder forms of that drug disappear -- and the most extreme strains become most widely available. Gray points out that you can watch this dynamic any weekend if you go to the stands of any university football game. Students prefer beer, but most college stadiums don't allow or sell any alcohol. It's a zone of prohibition. So what do the students do? They smuggle in hard liquor in flasks.The technical term for this — coined by the advocate for drug reform Richard Cowan — is “the iron law of prohibition.” As crackdowns on a drug become more harsh, the milder forms of that drug disappear — and the most extreme strains become most widely available.So GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina was right when she said during the CNN Republican debate that “the marijuana that kids are smoking today is not the same as the marijuana that Jeb Bush smoked 40 years ago.” Today's pot is significantly richer in THC, much like hard spirits have a higher alcohol content than beer.But using that fact as an argument against legalization misrepresents what is going on. Most cannabis smokers don't want to get totally baked on super skunk, any more than most social drinkers want to get smashed on Smirnoff. But the milder stuff isn't available because the market is prohibited.The iron law is playing out to devastating effect with opiates. People who become addicted to OxyContin or Percocet want to continue using those drugs. Doctors, however, are required by law to stop prescribing these opiates if they suspect the patient is feeding an addiction, not treating physical pain. Yet when an addict tries to find his drug on the illegal market, Oxy or Percs are almost impossible to get. What is widely available, and cheaper, is a much stronger and completely outlawed opiate: heroin.This isn't the intention of the drug warriors, any more than champions of prohibition intended to super-charge the market for moonshine. But it is the practical effect.So if you want drugs to be as wildly potent as possible, sticking with the war on drugs is way to go. But if you believe milder and less intoxicating drugs present less risk to us all, it's time — at last — to end prohibition.Johann Hari is the author of "Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs."Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: Johann Hari Published: January 14, 2016Copyright: 2016 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #7 posted by The GCW on January 17, 2016 at 13:30:13 PT
Exposing the ignorant and it's interesting
Who exactly is behind the lawsuits over Colorado's legal marijuana?Out-of-state anti-drug crusaders are taking Colorado marijuana to court. Is it their last chance to stop pot before other states vote on retail cannabis? prohibitionists are people young voters are unlikely to vote for. It's important to get this news out to young people and explain to them who is responsible for cannabis prohibition and why it's important for them to bury the Republican party.Republicans are very harmful to America. Especially young people and the country left for them. While certain Nebraska and Oklahoma people are responsible for this lawsuit, many young people in those states are embarrassed about it. They need to get this news and help get rid of the problem.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on January 16, 2016 at 14:35:28 PT:
French Drug Trial Tested Endocannabinoid Meds, Not Cannabis
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Comment #5 posted by John Tyler on January 16, 2016 at 08:01:48 PT
re # 3
Basically, these guys were trying to make a synthetic cannabis like drug and messed it up. It is unfortunate, or maybe it was included on purpose (to try to cast a cloud over cannabis), that cannabis was even mentioned in the article. It has nothing to do with cannabis, just bad science and greed in trying to create something synthetic when the natural product was already available. What a shame. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.
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Comment #4 posted by Paint with light on January 16, 2016 at 05:26:04 PT
I should have said, "I have seen the following news item with three different titles and slants."I was too busy trying to keep all the commas and quotation marks straight to proofread what I was actually writing.
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Comment #3 posted by Paint with light on January 16, 2016 at 05:19:45 PT
They should leave mother nature alone
I have seen this news item with three different titles and slants.The worst title was, "Pot Painkiller Trial Leaves Man in Coma." least it linked to the better article of the three, think they may have been trying to do chemically what mother nature does naturally.From the Guardian article,"Touraine said the drug was a so-called FAAH inhibitor meant to act on the body’s endocannabinoid system, which deals with pain. Earlier reports suggested that the drug contained cannabinoids, an active ingredient found in cannabis plants, but the minister said it did not contain the drug or any derivatives of it."I bet a lot of news outlets leave out the......"it did not contain the drug, or any of its derivatives", part.Happy new year to everyone,This is my first chance to stop by.More legal than alcohol!
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on January 15, 2016 at 10:21:35 PT
Very nice talking points the GCW! I would also point that, no matter how "strong" cannabis gets, it will never be as strong as 100 proof liquor, which Americans are so fond of guzzling in their martinis.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on January 14, 2016 at 22:00:49 PT
Very important points do not get mentioned:
Even though cannabis is stronger today, there are a number of facts that didn't get mentioned which are pertinent. #1 Back in the day, We had Maui Wowie, Kona Gold, Thai sticks etc. that were also more potent forms of cannabis.#2 Even though cannabis is stronger today, it still pales in comparison to booze, hard drugs or strong pharm pills.#3 No matter how strong cannabis is, it still has never killed one single person, whereas booze can kill a person in a single sitting.#4 When cannabis is stronger, most people simply use less.#5 No matter how strong cannabis is, a sane or moral argument to cage responsible adults for using cannabis doesn’t exist.This list can go on and on...
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