Cannabis Potency Fears – Prohib fallacy

Prohibitionists have been repeating many of the same talking points about cannabis since the 30s, almost to the point where they are a broken record people have stopped listening to. One that has been used increasingly is that today’s cannabis is not your <insert previous generation here>’s cannabis due to the higher THC content. Not only is the data they use to support this far from accurate, they also ignore the majority of cannabis history and continue saying it with “we really mean it this time.”

Dana Larson has an excellent thread on Twitter breaking down why this talking point is so absurd and not ground in fact. Looking at the claims in the past, this has been nothing but fearmongering. Not only are these claims inconsistent and show a lack of actual scientific evidence, they also ignore the primacy consumption methods of cannabis throughout the ages until we managed to produce flowers that had the higher THC by growing, as covered in my previous post on cannabis history. Hashish, tinctures, resin, oil, and bhang have been used by people for ages to consume cannabis and all have a much higher THC % than normal flower.

There are two major issues with any reports on cannabis potency prior to the mid-2000s; the source of the plant material and the testing method. As detailed in this article in The Atlantic, the issues raised bring into question the results of the testing

First, the cannabis tested was only from seized cannabis which was sent to the DEA. This cannabis could be from any grower or even just what was found in the wild. So from these unknown and limited sources, the varying quality of the cannabis is apparent. Additionally, there is no knowledge of how old the cannabis was or how long it sat prior to testing; the THC in cannabis will degrade into CBN over time. With all these factors, they’re basically just throwing darts blind by making several assumptions about cannabis since the 70s.

The second issue is the testing method. Prior to the mid-2000s, THC was tested by a process calls gas chromatography. This process required the cannabis plant material to be heated up in order to approximate the cannabinoid composition. Since the plant material was heated, the chemical composition will change. This may cause the delta-9 content to change as it might burn off during this process.

With all the above factors, it is extremely fair to be skeptical of any claims that cannabis is “nuclear strength” compared to that of the 60s and 70s. Yes, our growing methods have improved the quality of cannabis and THC content, but I’m willing to bet “top-shelf” cannabis has existed for far longer than the prohibitionists want us to believe.

The “Big Marijuana” Boogeyman – Prohib fallacy

One of the consistent message from the prohibitionist group “Smart” Approaches to Marijuana is that there is a dark and seedy menace waiting around the corner and working in the shadows to enact legalized commercial cannabis sales: Big Marijuana!!!

The fact they think this is driving legalization markets is laughable; the first legalized markets were enacted by grassroots organizations getting initiatives on the ballot and the people voting it in. In Colorado, more people voted for cannabis legalization than they did for President Obama.

SAM even went to far as to create an “industry” profile showing how existing large corporations are investing in other corporations.

Looking at the list, it was clearly obvious that they are scraping the bottom of the barrel to make a mountain out of a mole hill. The vast majority of investments are happening in other countries, like Canada and Israel. They really seem like chicken little screaming the sky is falling over what is normal business practices.

As with any industry, there will be large players and small players. Corporations will always exist and will seek to generate more money; which is the point of any business. They key is to make sure these are regulated. While the states have created a patchwork of laws, we can learn from our experience with “big tobacco” and create sensible laws allowing a safe and regulated supply of cannabis to adults.

Prohibitionists and Racism

Cannabis prohibition and racism are deeply connected since the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Henry Anslinger, the architect of cannabis prohibition, was incredibly racist and used that position to demonize cannabis and make cannabis consumers out to be dangerous.

While overt racism has declined sharply in prohibitionist circles, remnants still surface from time to time. Some of the leading prohibitionists continue to make dog whistles and interact with known white supremacists.

The above screenshots show Alex Berenson interacting and wanting to work with a known Canadian white supremacist. Additionally, in his book, he makes dog whistle comments about the Black Lives Matter movement and how it makes policing “difficult”. By this, it can be implied that cops need to think about their actions before they shoot unarmed African-Americans in the back.

Other prohibitionists make statements that downplay the role cannabis played in non-European cultures and see it as an “invader” to Western-European culture.

While I have previously briefly mentioned cannabis’s influence in a previous post, the above posts completely dismiss the achievements and importance of Chinese, Egyptian, Indian, and Middle-Eastern cultures in the development of modern society. Those statements make it very clear their position of Western-European(white) centrism to the development modern society; which is the definition of the belief of white supremacy.

Whenever we encounter these disgusting views, they need to be immediately called out. Suggesting someone is less human due to the color of their skin or the place of their birth is a backwards view that needs to come to and end for us all to come together and make a better world for ourselves.