Pubdate: Sun, 06 Oct 2002
Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)
Copyright: 2002 The Billings Gazette
Author: John Masterson


The Sept. 27 "Official: Fighting drugs is big job" story, in which national 
deputy drug czar Mary Ann Solberg has a number of false and misleading 
quotes, demands a response.

The alarmist hysteria over "the new high potency marijuana" is nothing but 
a ploy to convince baby-boomers that their personal pot smoking experiences 
in the 1960s and '70s (in which they generally found marijuana to be fun 
and harmless) is somehow completely dissimilar to their kids' experiences 
today. Baloney.

The first warnings about the "new high potency pot" came out in the 
mid-1970s. In fact, the Potency Monitoring Project at the University of 
Mississippi, which has been scientifically measuring samples seized by law 
enforcement for over 20 years, has found only a mild increase in average 
potency. A May 2002 U.S. Department of Justice report noted the national 
average potency figure at 4.92 percent THC, nowhere near the 30 percent 
figure cited by Solberg and only moderately higher than the 2 to 3 percent 
measured in the 1970s.

In addition, even if potency had increased at the levels stated by Solberg, 
it doesn't necessarily follow that the marijuana is any more dangerous. 
There is no possibility of a fatal overdose of smoked marijuana, regardless 
of THC content. And, when most users encounter high-potency marijuana, they 
simply smoke less.

John Masterson

Montana NORML

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