Pubdate: Sun, 29 Jan 2006
Source: La Crosse Tribune (WI)
Copyright: 2006, The La Crosse Tribune
Author: Gary F. Storck


La Crosse County Assistant District Attorney Todd Bjerke's claims that
marijuana today is more potent than in the 1960s and '70s is plain,
old reefer madness, "Drug arrests up 22 percent as trafficking,
enforcement increase in region," (Jan. 22).

The truth is that these claims have been repeatedly debunked. A report
by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws found
"the notion that pot has increased dramatically in potency is a U.S.
Drug Enforcement Administration myth based on biased government data."
NORML found that "a careful examination of the government's data show
that average marijuana potency increased modestly by a factor of two
or so during the '70s, and has been more or less constant ever since."

NORML also notes that, "contrary to popular myth, greater potency is
not necessarily more dangerous, due to the fact that users tend to
adjust their dose according to potency."

Furthermore, Bjerke's claim that "marijuana sold in the '60s would be
like our beer today," minimizes the very real dangers posed by alcohol
abuse. The fact is beer - today and yesterday - unlike marijuana ever,
has a lethal dose, and like all alcoholic beverages, can trigger
health problems, violent behavior, addiction and myriad other harms.

Marijuana, on the other hand, does not trigger violence and has been
shown to be much safer than alcohol.

The counterproductive war on marijuana only wastes scarce tax dollars
and police resources by pursuing ordinary, otherwise law-abiding
citizens for victimless consensual activities.

Gary Storck


Gary Storck is founder of the Wisconsin chapter of the National
Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws.
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